Train like a pro

Men's Fitness - - Fea­tures -


First you’ll need to make sure you can cover the dis­tance. If you’re new to run­ning, in­crease your train­ing vol­ume grad­u­ally, and don’t in­crease it ev­ery week be­cause your joints and tis­sues need time to adapt to the new stresses they’re un­der. Aim to do one long ef­fort, build­ing up in dis­tance each week, along­side one faster-paced but shorter ses­sion and one “brick” ef­fort (see the box op­po­site). Start the speed ses­sions by do­ing fartlek – just speed­ing up and slow­ing down ac­cord­ing to your own in­ter­nal sense of pace – be­fore you start play­ing with in­ter­vals.


“The best way to im­prove speed is to go to a run­ning track and do ef­forts rang­ing from 400m up to 1,200m,” says Rooke. “Use a sim­i­lar method as with the swim – say, aim­ing for a 90-sec­ond 400m with 30 sec­onds of rest, then go­ing again. Al­ter­na­tively just give your­self the same rest each time no mat­ter how fast your ef­fort.” For a triathlon-pace race, a 2:1 or 3:1 work-to-rest ra­tio can be one of the most ben­e­fi­cial. Keep the to­tal dis­tance of each ses­sion rel­a­tively con­sis­tent so you aren’t over­train­ing.


Visu­al­i­sa­tion can work, but make sure you’re not pic­tur­ing too easy a race. In mul­ti­ple stud­ies, psy­cho­log­i­cal re­search in­di­cates that the more time peo­ple spend fan­ta­sis­ing about de­sired out­comes - ev­ery­thing from pass­ing school ex­ams to los­ing weight - the less ef­fort they put into ac­tu­ally achiev­ing them. If you’re pic­tur­ing a per­fect, has­sle-free race you’re more likely to fall apart, or at least slow down, when ad­ver­sity strikes. In­stead, use an ef­fect known as “brac­ing”. Ex­pect your race to be hard, and men­tally re­hearse how you’ll feel and what you’ll do if things go wrong. Pre­pare for the worst and take re­spon­si­bil­ity for your race.

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