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
1/ TAKE NO MENTAL BREAK
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.
2/ HONE YOUR CONCENTRATION
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.
3/ SHORTEN REST
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.