Our experts answer real-life questions
Q Ive been running for just over a year now and can now comfortably train at around 10 minute/mile pace for an hour, which I do three times a week. However, Ive been doing this for at least six months and dont seem to be able to get any quicker. Id like to do some speedwork, but worry that Im not quick enough yet. Is this the case?
The key to running faster is running shorter. At the moment youre probably running about six miles in each session. If you set out to run less, say just two miles or roughly 18 minutes, youll find that you actually increase your pace without even trying. So my first step would be to add a shorter run to your weekly programme. You could replace one of your hour-long sessions with one of 20 minutes, or better still add it to your schedule as an extra run. If you have a heart-rate monitor use that. Compare your heart rate from your normal runs to your shorter run. If youre running faster, your heart rate should be higher.
The next thing to do is to break your short run down into even shorter runs, or intervals, with a rest between each interval to get your breath back! This might make interval sessions sound terrifying, but once you get used to them theyre one of the best ways of getting quicker.
An example of an interval session would be 6 x 400m (or around two minutes) with a couple of minutes to recover between each repetition. Be sure to have a 10-minute warm-up jog first and a similar cool-down afterwards. The best place to run intervals is on a track, but if you dont have one nearby dont worry. Find a flat grassy area, where you can run quickly for 90 seconds or so. As you get used to intervals you can start to add extra repetitions, reduce the amount of time you have to recover and increase the distance of each rep. These are guaranteed to make you faster. You can also do a session of random faster bursts within a normal run. It will all help.
One thing to remember, though: the day after any speedwork, have an easy day. Either do a very slow run, or do nothing at all. Following a hard session with another hard session will increase your chances of injury.Rob Spedding, RW Staff Writer
I've a half marathon coming up soon (my first) and have been concentrating on ensuring I can cover the distance at a reasonable pace. I'm aiming for sub-2 hours on the day and feel that its achievable as despite having been a bit lazy on the training at times, I've managed 2:05 on a very hilly training run of 21km.
However, at the moment I can only train on a treadmill as I work offshore. My race is in about 3 weeks so I'd like to know if anyone has advice on how I could get my time down a bit without knackering myself prior to the race.
My last 10 days pre-race will be on dry land so I'm planning to put in a bit of distance before then too as I can only manage 10km max on the treadmill before giving up from overheat not exhaustion.
I have tried to run intervals but it is pretty tough on a treadmill..
As your race is only 3 weeks away, you are better off not doing anything too short and fast.
One suggestion for a treadmill session:
Warm up and then set the treadmill at 2 hr half marathon pace (10.6 kph)
At the end of the first minute, raise the incline 1 degree whilst keeping the pace the same, at the end of the second minute, raise it another degree, at the end of the third another. At the end of the fourth - rest and recovery, lower the treadmill to flat.
Take 2 minutes easy jog or walk recovery and repeat. Over a couple of weeks you could build up to four repeats. This will give you the same benefit as doing a speed session but will be focused on the pace you intend to race at. It will also keep you within your 10k heat exhaustion limit.
Darren, I have mentioned in other threads that I have just started to do some proper speed work to try for a sub 1.30 Half.
Only been doing 1 day a week at present and I have had to make it Monday as it was smashing my legs so much my long runs were suffering BUT and it is a big BUT, My pb for a half was 1.36.00 on a flat half, this sunday I ran 14.5 in 1.36.58 which does not sound like much of an improvement but the course I ran is a real crippler with 3 hills which are around 1 mile in length each, so give it a go as the results are astounding.
All the best
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