Q My road race performances have remained at a similar standard during the past couple of years, and I feel that Im training pretty aimlessly. How can I change my training programme to get a good result this year?
I recommend you focus on one key race, and based on that, organise your training into four phases:
1. Foundation phase (6-12 weeks), which aims to gradually increase the volume and regularity of your running. (Try to limit the amount of road work in favour of grass.) Variation can be introduced by making your Sunday run a little longer, by doing a few strides and by bringing in a weekly hill run in which you increase your effort on the uphill sections.
2. Preparation phase (six to eight weeks), where you maintain your mileage and Sunday runs, but add a weekly repetition session, such as 4-5 x 1-mile efforts, or 12-20 x 400m (with one-minute jog recoveries).
3. Competition phase (four to six weeks), which should include some foundation and preparation work, followed by easy running and resting in the final pre-race stage.
4. Recovery phase (four to six weeks), with two weeks of complete rest, and then two to four weeks of gentle activity.
George Gandy, Director of Athletics at Loughborough University