Sunday, 18 March 2007

How to run, train and race

Posted by speedygeoff on Sunday, March 18, 2007 with 6 comments
You run, train and race, not necessarily by following someone else's program, but by learning what works for you and fitting that together into your own program. To assist, I attempted years ago to devise some generally applicable principles as guidelines, which I thought others could successfully apply to their own training and racing, These "principles" have been available on this blog. One "new" principle I can add, if not already included somewhere: as you train over longer distances, you can expect your times from 3000m and up to improve.

It is over a year since I published the "principles of running". Here are the links. You can also find them any time, via a link on the sidebar.

The Ten Conditioning Principles
#1 Schedule an easy or rest day after the longest training day
#2 Increase total distance by no more than 10% per week
#3 Plan races so that you have a day off racing for every mile raced
#4 Racing, together with sprinting in training, should not exceed 20% of distance run, and should probably be around 10-15%
#5 Increase distance or intensity from week to week, but not both at the same time
#6 Warmup first before stretching
#7 Usually follow hard days by easy days. Never have three hard days in a row
#8 Don’t ease off training for races, except the handful of races that are your major goals
#9 Treat injuries immediately
#10 Have fun

The Ten Form Principles
#1 The Importance of Relaxation
#2 Run like a child
#3 For Faster Feet, run on your toes
#4 Get those hips forward
#5 Run Tall
#6 Drive with the arms
#7 New breathing techniques may help.
#8 Be Alert and Aware
#9 Run with others who have a good style
#10 Be content with your unique style

Ten Sample Training Sessions
#1 cross training
#2 general endurance
#3 specific endurance
#4 fun sessions
#5 aerobic intervals
#6 hill sprints
#7 speed development
#8 anaerobic
#9 race practice
#10 racing

The Ten Racing Principles
#1 Redefine "Winning"
#2 Practise Surging
#3 Plan races so that you have a day's break from racing for every mile raced
#4 Have Long Term Goals
#5 Define short term goals
#6 Set Intermediate Racing Goals
#7 Horses for Courses
#8 Develop elite runners’ strategies and abilities
#9 Even Pace Produces Fastest Times
#10 Have an established pre race routine

A training pattern that works for me (58 year old Vet), and would suit anyone:
day 1 fast
day 2 long
day 3 medium-tempo
day 4 fast
day 5 long
day 6 medium-easy
day 7 medium-long tempo

But a fit young athlete could do 10 or 12 sessions a week, which can include one more long run and one more fast session, remembering that more recovery is needed after a long hard run than after a short fast session.

And of course I recommend reading the Nic Bideau article, also linked from the side-bar!


  1. Wow, thanks for those links Speedygeoff. At quick glace there looks to be loads of useful info.

    So, you don't have any rest days??

  2. Geoff,

    I read all those princples when you posted them the first time. They are all excellent and a must-read resource for all runners.

    Great work.

  3. I'll have to take some time out to study those Geoff. They certainly look like good basic principles to adhere to.

    Thank you.

  4. Tesso, I usually don't schedule a rest day. I think I have had two days completely off this year, when I felt particularly tired. The week before the April marathon I will try and jog 6k each day on my easy days. After the marathon I will try and jog 8k for each of the first three days before building back up. Last Thursday the Half Marathon caught up with me and I "rested" by jogging only 5k. When I was running 200k per week back twenty years ago, Friday was my "rest day" when I would run once and cover about 10k or so at an easy pace. I made up for it on the other days, and on Tuesdays I often had three runs.

    But, ten years ago trying to get back to fitness, I had to rest completely every second day!

    You cannot jump into hard training, you need to allow a long time (years) to build up to it. Even if you are young and fit!

  5. By the way, I mentioned 200km per week, but I think 150km per week is optimum for the marathon. This year, 2007, I won't exceed 120km in any week, but in 2008 I might try a little more, if all goes to plan. Or I might not. Haven't got firm plans past October 2007, yet.

  6. I've been reading these over the last year on and off and starting to incorporate some of this advice into my training and racing with good results.

    Thanks for these Speedygeoff I haven't read better on the net, and believe me I look.