TW Relay Team: James's Run Blog #2

In which we discover the secret of James's running success - good old-fashioned hard (speed)work

James Barnard

Time to work out a training schedule. The triathlon is now 8 weeks away. That's more than enough time to give me a fighting chance of running a sub 20-minute 5K. I'm booked into the Standard Chartered Great City Race, which takes place 4 weeks into the schedule. This'll give me a good idea of my progress, and I'll hopefully be able to judge the likelihood of reaching my goal. Who knows, I could even crack it on this attempt (ruining this blog and annoying my editor Alice)!

When I got back into running a few years ago, I found that I had two strong suits. Firstly, at a slow pace I can comfortably cover very long distances. I've done three marathons, but finished them all over 4 hours. Secondly, over very short distances (400m or less) I'm a pretty strong sprinter. But when I tried to combine the two, running at a fast pace over longer distances, I completely fell apart. Panic would set in, clawing at my chest for breath, until my pace tailed off and I could relax again.

Determined to improve my pace, I added a special ingredient to my training. Hard work! Hard work in the form of group speedwork sessions every week. And during my training for the London Marathon this year, while adding a speed session or two, my office nickname switched from 'JB' to 'PB'. This is because I set a personal best 7 weeks running over a handicap race.

Admittedly, I struggled at first. I almost threw up on my first session and after a few weeks I developed a bout of achilles tendonitis. Injuries are common with increased speed training (some tips on avoiding injuries here). I'll get into the different individual sessions we did in a later post, but the evidence was clear. Speedwork was improving my times dramatically.

In the lead up to Hyde Park I'd ideally like to pick a training schedule that'll allow me to keep up my two regular weekly runs; Tuesday's speed work sessions with the office staff and Thursday's 5K (sort of) handicap race. And in searching for one (helped by the Runner's World Smart Coach), I've come to the decision that three runs a week should do it. This will also allow me to fit in some strength training at the gym. More on this later.

First speed work session this week (to get back into it): 5 x 400m, with 1-minute recovery periods.

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triathlon, TW Relay Team, Hyde Park Triathlon, racing, training, James, running, speedwork
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Jenson Button's 5km time at the Blenheim Triathlon Sprint last week was 20.55, so under that and you have defeated a World Champion - good luck. 
Posted: 21/06/2011 at 13:26

3 runs a week, one of which is a handicap race and the other a speed session?

Honestly, you'd get a better result just playing football 3 times a week.


Posted: 21/06/2011 at 13:38

Thats sirjogalot (on the blog) Moraghan - google and you shall find some entertainment
Posted: 21/06/2011 at 13:49

I assume the domain name sirjogoccasionally was already taken.
Posted: 21/06/2011 at 14:09

You mean Sir 'I'm doing absolutely tons of training for my marathon at 20 miles per week and I also have to cram on top of that sooooo much self publicity work to keep my adoring fans happy' jogalot?
Posted: 21/06/2011 at 14:33

Hi guys.

I'd really appreciate it if we could keep it constructive on here. If you think my training plan is inadequate, then by all means, feel free to help me out and explain why.

But lets try not to put off any beginners from asking questions or engaging by starting a flame war.  The forumites are better than that!

Many thanks,

James RW


Posted: 21/06/2011 at 20:50

James alright fair enough. We'll play nicely. You could do worse than checking out this thread. Which certainly goes some way to explaining about requisite training blocks and their relative proportions. If you want to lay out the last few weeks of your training and your target races for the year then feel free and we can offer some specific constructive advice. 



Posted: 21/06/2011 at 21:01

James RW wrote (see)

Hi guys.

I'd really appreciate it if we could keep it constructive on here. If you think my training plan is inadequate, then by all means, feel free to help me out and explain why.

But lets try not to put off any beginners from asking questions or engaging by starting a flame war.  The forumites are better than that!

Many thanks,

James RW

I think we did that once before, James, and got the response that I referred to in my post.

But you raise a good point about beginners because so much about RW is focussed on rushing beginners into marathons on woefully inadequate training.

Why not start encouraging sensible progression to marathons over 2-3 year timescales rather than the shit or bust in 12 week approach that probably sends a fair proportion straight back to the sofa in double quick time? Just a thought! 


Posted: 21/06/2011 at 21:14

James - you work at Runner's World, is there nobody in your office that can help you put something sensible together?
Posted: 21/06/2011 at 21:17

Moraghan wrote (see)
James - you work at Runner's World, is there nobody in your office that can help you put something sensible together?

*overiding urge to take the piss*
Posted: 21/06/2011 at 21:29

I must admit that Moraghan did almost make me spit my coffee out with that one!
Posted: 21/06/2011 at 21:31


>
5000m in a triathlon does in no way represents a 5k race !

in any case if you want to beat jenson button it is hard. this guy i met wrote a 'i think i can beat jenson button' blog and in the end he did not beat jenson button at the triathlon. he was a few seconds out so it is a very good read on how to prepare for a race.

in any case i met this guy and he ran 18 minute 5k parkrun at finsbury parkrun. this is a hard course so you would have to be near 17.30 5000m on a flat course. he lost to jenson in the end so to beat the the champion you might be looking at 17.30 at a stand alone 5k race.

in any case have a read of this. best of luck !

http://ithinkicanbeatjensonbutton.tumblr.com/
Posted: 21/06/2011 at 21:47


>
what is the training plan then ?

i'm intrigued.
Posted: 21/06/2011 at 22:10

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