Runner's World (UK)



Whether it’s coping with a cancelled goal race or the lack of available time, here’s the coach on how best to

adapt your training and stay healthy

IN THESE UNSETTLING back to just easy running; for others, it’s about reducing some of the intensity. Reduce your training load, drop your mileage, consider cutting your long run back to 75-90 mins (or less) and reduce the volume of your hard sessions.

Stay in touch

If you have been focusing on marathon training, it can feel like a big challenge to have to cut back from those 15+ mile runs. So if you are scared of going back to square one, consider including a slightly longer long run of 1:45 to two hours every three weeks or so, to stay in touch with your marathon fitness.

Go easier on yourself

Be aware that the heightened stress levels caused by the present situation can have an impact on our mind and body. Remind yourself that it’s OK to not be always striving. If you feel that a few weeks of unstructur­ed training and more rest will help you, take it. Make sure you mentally recharge; structured sessions and training can wait.

Undo the shackles

If you do feel that you want to keep your quality sessions, now is a good time to take a more relaxed approach to your speedwork, lightening the load and making everything a bit less measurable. Fartlek sessions can work well here. Include some unstructur­ed efforts of between 30 seconds and five minutes, working to harder effort offroad or over undulating terrain. If you prefer a bit more structure, sessions such as 15-20 x 30-60 seconds ‘on’ + 60-90 seconds ‘steady’ will do the job nicely.

Run to feel

As well as taking a more relaxed approach to session structure, you can manage the amount of quantifiab­le ‘feedback’ you get. Try running with your watch’s GPS function switched off, so you are working simply to time and effort, not distance and pace.


At this time of restricted outdoor training, some runners will be lucky enough to have other cross-training options at home, such as a turbo trainer, elliptical, rower etc. Use these wisely. Be aware that your body will take time to adapt to new forms of exercise. Start with small sessions of between 20 and 40 minutes and be patient if your running fitness doesn’t translate to cross-training straight away.

Moving on

After you have had a period of easier running, relaxed sessions and lower volumes, what then? How do you bridge back into structured training for those autumn goals? Six to 10 weeks focusing on getting quicker could be a sensible way to go, developing speed to extend into your 10K-to-marathon training in the autumn. In this phase, more structured sessions such as 6-8 x 3 minutes at 5K effort, with 90-120 seconds’, rest will serve you well.


Work on your foundation

It might feel a little clichéd as we are all hammered with Instagram homeworkou­t videos, but now is a great time to refocus on strength training and building those strong foundation­s for your running. Create a circuit session mixing core exercises with squats, lunges, pushing and pulling exercises to cover 20-30 minutes of work. Aim to complete it a couple of times a week.

Fire it up

Missing that running-specific fix? Sure, you could video yourself running a marathon on your balcony. You might, however, find that spending 6-8 weeks working on your running drills and technique is more productive. Simple drills such as straight-leg kick-outs, high knees and heel flicks don’t require much space and can be progressed to more technical drills as you improve.

Reframe your goals

Most of us respond well to structure, clarity and having a target to aim for. One of the hardest aspects of this ‘transition phase’ is that the goal of choice for most runners (races) will not be available in the short term. Consider completing a self-timed 3-5km time trial every three or four weeks. Set yourself challenges and goals to progress your conditioni­ng and flexibilit­y, and, perhaps, share them with family or club members. Most importantl­y at this time, stay safe, run with respect for others and stay positive.

1 / Sleep well

2 / Manage stress

IMAGINE YOU’RE GEARING UP to do a workout of onekilomet­re repeats. One standard approach would be to aim for around 5K race pace and to run each of your repeats at an even pace. If you are closer to a goal race, you might want to work on your finishing kick, so you might run the first 800m of each repeat at 5K pace, and then try to speed up for the final 200m. But what if you intentiona­lly run the first part of each repeat faster than 5K pace, and then slow down toward the end? That can’t be a good idea, can it?

As with so many things in running, the best answer is ‘it depends’. In this case, it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish in the workout. If you want to learn what 5K pace feels like so that it’s second nature come race day, then yes, an even pace is best. But if you want to spend as much time as possible working at your aerobic maximum, you might want to consider starting each repeat ‘too fast’.

Off to a quick start

For a study published in the

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 ??  ?? SPEED BUMP Going out ‘too fast’ in training sessions could give you a boost
SPEED BUMP Going out ‘too fast’ in training sessions could give you a boost

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