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the right thing? Do you hear what someone else is doing and think, I should be doing that, or even try what they’re doing to see if it works…? There are some things (i.e. putting on your trainers and getting out the door!) that are pretty much essential to most runners if they want to achieve their goal times, but, everyone is different and what works for one, may not work for another. Age, body weight, lifestyle, family support, body type, and mental attitude will all play a part – and will be different for every athlete. A runner with more fast-twitch muscle fibres might have a preference for interval training and prefer to opt for quality over quantity. For others mileage works best. Cross training can suit someone who has had injuries, and core training may be vital for the person with poor posture, but not so important for a swimmer. But as our readers show, there


Same time SAME TRAINING? E


ver found yourself questioning your training, wondering if you’re doing


NAME: MICK SOUTHERN AGE: 47 WEIGHT: 80KG HEIGHT: 5FT 9IN JOB: LGV DRIVER FROM: MANCHESTER TIME ACHIEVED: 3:59


are some ingredients that must be included – the long run for the marathon, speed work for the 5k – but most of all, a goal, dedication and a desire to improve. In this, our racing special, Fiona Bugler and Julia Armstrong talked to runners to find out what helped them reach their goals in races from 5k to the marathon.


“I made time to rest” “I started running in 2008. I’d been a semi-pro footballer and needed to fill the gap once I’d stopped playing. My first race was the Manchester 10k and then I entered the London Marathon. I followed a 16-week magazine schedule. “I did around three runs, averaging 30 miles, four or five hours per week. The long run was the key session and gave me confidence. I recorded it all on a spreadsheet, but didn’t worry about other technical things, like heart-rate. “Another key part of my training was making time to rest. At 46, I was no spring chicken!


“I cut back on booze and watched my


diet. I ate plenty of carbs on certain days to aid my training. I certainly altered my eating habits for the better! “In February I ran a 10k in 45:28 – the


training was working. In March I’d improved some more, running 44:46 for a 10k, and 1:42 for a half – both PBs. It was clear that marathon training improved all my running times, and these races gave me a confidence boost. I was delighted to cross the finish line in 3:59:23. Talk about on target!”


18 n RUNNING FREE


NAME: CHRIS LEWIS AGE: 40 WEIGHT: 12 STONE HEIGHT: 5FT 10IN JOB: SHOP OWNER FROM: BRISTOL TIME ACHIEVED: 3:38


“My training consisted of running as and when”


“I’m never going to be a regimented


runner and I run vastly differing distances each week. I did achieve a sub-four marathon running this way but it is the one area that I’d like to address, so that I run faster. Life gets in the way and schedules don’t allow for races! “The single most useful piece of kit that helped me in my training was my Garmin watch. I wouldn’t be without it. “My training for the marathon consisted of running as and when. But I made sure that I did a long run every week. I think I would have benefitted by varying the tempo a bit more. However, I have done weekly track sessions which were a real benefit to my running, and meant that I pushed myself out of my comfortable pace. “I’m always chasing the elusive PB and now I’ve achieved sub four, I want to carry on getting faster at the marathon. I will have run in excess of 40 races this year including the Marathon Des Sables, which I think slowed me down a bit, leaving me with more slow twitch fibres that I perhaps needed!”


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