2011: Your Best Running Year Yet (Preview)

Run a race distance on every terrain over the next 12 months (Non-subscriber preview)

Posted: 14 December 2010
by Sam Murphy

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January: Cross-country

Why now? Cross-country can help lay the foundation for the year ahead, according to Urban Bettag, a UK Athletics Level 3 endurance coach (runurban.com). "It is a great way to develop strength endurance, good technique, muscular strength and the ability to change pace, making you a more versatile runner," he says.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Liz Yelling agrees, and will be factoring in some cross-country races in her build-up to the 2011 Virgin London Marathon. "I have a real passion for the mud and the hills," she says. "I believe cross-country makes you strong and really teaches you to race - because for once, you're not chasing times."
Training: It is essential to find your "off-road feet" if you plan to take on cross-country races, but Yelling advises easing yourself in gently. "If you aren't confident about running off-road, start with grass and a firm trail before heading to less well-trodden paths," she advises. And don't do all your off-road work at a slow pace - introduce faster bursts through fartlek training, or run intervals on grass instead of track.

Race strategy: Choose your first race carefully, advises Tim Wright, captain of Orion Harriers, a cross-country running club (orionharriers.co.uk). "If you have time, it is worth looking at the course to pick out obstacles such as stiles, choose the best route through a boggy patch or prepare for difficult climbs or descents," he says.

At the very least, check how many laps there are and where the finish is. "If you are not ready for spikes, trail or fell shoes will give you plenty of grip, but make sure your laces are tight so you don't lose a shoe in the deep mud!"

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Discuss this article

2010 has been my worst year - I have been struggling with injuries.  There say time heal!  Roll on 2011.

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 15:42

Hopefully you have managed to get to the cause of the injuries and 2011 will be a better year........

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 15:44

 It's my groins my football career is over
Posted: 16/12/2010 at 15:47

My lungs are no good either!
Posted: 16/12/2010 at 15:49

My toes are messed up!  Chiropdist said I need to have operation
Posted: 16/12/2010 at 15:50

I have my fingers crossed that I will be running in 2012 Olympics

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 15:57

I need to have a sport test but damn thing is so expensive!  Does the NHS do it?  And where is the nearest sport test in Kent?

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 16:06

Whats a "sport test"?
Posted: 16/12/2010 at 16:21

Have you got a list of runs for next year?
Posted: 16/12/2010 at 16:25

A lengthy test that monitor your  fitness.

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 16:34

Ian M wrote (see)
Have you got a list of runs for next year?

Was going to but I changed my mind.
Posted: 16/12/2010 at 16:36

Ian, I always imagine your avatar as being a real life  where you're looking up at the previous poster, or maybe pretending to be a contestant on Celebrity Squares with Lennie Bennett.
Posted: 16/12/2010 at 16:45

Karen Samuel wrote (see)

A lengthy test that monitor your  fitness.

Would any gym or PT not do that?  Though I wouldn't have thought the NHS as its not really a health issue. 

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 16:47

Karen.......I think a lot of universitys do them in their sports science departments...might be worth looking at you rnearest one......

PP you are showing your age.......celebrity squares.............who did it originally

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 16:56

Phil, It's part of the forum feature that allows me to look up lady posters skirts. It's like an advent calendar but with bigger surprises.
If you could flip your photo though 180 you to could get the same thrills and frights.
Posted: 16/12/2010 at 16:58


Sport test  I think this one is Hampton.

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 17:08

Ah - see what you mean. Seren is right - Sports Science Institutes do them.  You could volunteer to be a subject for someone's dissertation......
Posted: 16/12/2010 at 17:16

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 17:18

Not students.

Posted: 16/12/2010 at 17:19

i live in hampton and that places has excellent reviews so maybe its worth coughing up for...............

or go a be a guinea pig at brunel or st mary's for sport science students- i sometimes get a cheap sports massae that way!!!

Posted: 17/12/2010 at 11:52

Forumites I found this list of races you may find useful


Posted: 28/12/2010 at 13:36


FormitesI find this it might be useful

Maybe listening to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2cmgPHR2W0&feature=related 

Posted: 16/01/2011 at 00:09

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