Tough train­ing for tough races

These work­outs aren’t just ef­fec­tive at im­prov­ing your phys­i­cal prepa­ra­tion, they will also build the men­tal strength you need to run a hard race. The goal should be to put your­self in sit­u­a­tions that chal­lenge your weak­nesses and take you out of your com

Runner's World (UK) - - RUNNING BATTLES -


Re­move the psy­cho­log­i­cal crutch of re­ly­ing on the next break by do­ing con­tin­u­ous work. While tempo runs are great for this, take it up a notch. In­clude tempo-like work­outs where you al­ter­nate run­ning faster than tempo pace with an ac­tive re­cov­ery seg­ment that’s just slower than your tempo pace. The ‘re­cov­ery’ pace is the key here: it should be at a pace that still re­quires your con­cen­tra­tion and pushes you enough so that you aren’t fully re­cov­ered men­tally or phys­i­cally go­ing into the next faster seg­ment.


While clock­ing miles some­where beau­ti­ful is one of the joys of run­ning, some­times you need to chal­lenge your­self psy­cho­log­i­cally. If con­cen­tra­tion is a weak point, put your­self in sit­u­a­tions that force you to fo­cus. Switch­ing a tempo run from the park to the tread­mill with no mu­sic or TV is a great way to work on this. An­other idea is to leave the head­phones at home when do­ing a long run or a solo track work­out. It’s dur­ing mo­ments like these, when it’s just you and the thoughts in your head, that con­cen­tra­tion can be fully de­vel­oped.


In­stead of do­ing long re­cov­er­ies dur­ing long re­peats, cut the in­ter­val length slightly and do the work­out with short re­cov­er­ies. For ex­am­ple, in­stead of 6×800m at 5K pace with 2:30 rest, try 10-12×400m at 5K pace, start­ing at 60 sec­onds’ rest and pro­gress­ing down to 30 sec­onds’ rest. Then you can’t take com­fort in know­ing you’ll have plenty of time to re­cover after each re­peat. With only the short rest, you have just a slight men­tal break be­fore start­ing over.

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