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If you want to run faster, you need to monitor your progress

We've been blogging over the last few weeks about run training and specifically how to put your training plan together for 2018. You can join in the discussions on our Facebook run coaching group.

Our run coaching schedules are based on 3 simple ingredients:

1. Run speed & technique - Very short distances, very quickly with long recoveries
2. The engine (aerobic capacity) - Hard intervals and tempo running
3. Durability and economy - Run long and slow for tougher legs and fuel economy

For any runner who's looking to improve, it's key that you can monitor your progress throughout the training plan. Our rules are simple, you need to do the fast stuff fast, the hard stuff needs to be hard and the long and slow stuff needs to be both long and slow. But how do you know whether it is fast enough? How do you know whether it's hard enough? More importantly, are you getting quicker as the weeks go by?

Assessing your training:

1. Complete a parkrun or flat/measured 5k (which you can plan yourself) every 4 weeks. have a couple of easy days beforehand and commit yourself to running it hard. Don't do a long run the day beforehand followed by a half arsed 5k attempt, then post your slower time blaming your previous long run. Stick your neck on the line and test yourself.

Assessing the 3 ingredients:

1. Run speed & technique sessions are based on very short intervals of 50-200m, at maximal speeds, with very long recoveries. Find a flat piece of road near where you live and measure out 150m using strava / google earth. It doesn't matter whether it's exactly 150m, it can be 10m either way, but it needs to be the same every time, so use a stationary object such as lamp posts or buildings to mark the start and finish points. Every 4 weeks complete 4 X 150m with a 1.5-2 minutes VERY SLOW jog recovery and record your times, are you getting faster?

> No, you can't do it on a treadmill
> No, you can't do it off road
> Yes, it must be flat
> Yes, a running track would be easier if you have the option

2. Engine sessions are generally intervals or tempo runs, they are hard and sustained with moderate recoveries. As above, measure out on a flat section of road between 800m - 1000m. Every 4 weeks complete 5 X 800-1000m with a 2 minute VERY SLOW jog recovery and record your times. It needs to be the same every time, so use a stationary object such as lamp posts or buildings to mark the start and finish points. You will run the first repetition in one direction, then take 2 minutes recovery, then go back in the opposite direction.

> No, you can't do it on a treadmill
> No, you can't do it off road
> Yes, it should be flat BUT it may well be faster running one way compared to the other, which is fine, just note that on your results.
> Yes, a running track would be easier if you have the option

3. Durability and economy sessions are running long distances at a slow pace. We've blogged and discussed in too much depth already, regarding the ins and outs of Maffetone. However... your measurement of progress on these sessions is running the same route and monitoring your speed over coming weeks. You may already have calculated your maximum aerobic heart rate which you cannot go above (if not you can go here). In which case, all you need to do is run the same route (every 2-4 weeks) and see if your time / average speed improves whilst holding the same heart rate.  If your time is improving then your economy / fat burning etc are all on the up.

Here's the important bit. If you're following our schedule, you may well feel that you're doing the fast stuff fast and the hard stuff hard, but the reality is, if you're NOT GETTING QUICKER then it's not working. It doesn't matter how hard or fast it feels, if the clock isn't progressing in your favour, then you need to ask why.

Do you need new running shoes, clothing or equipment? We are The Endurance Store, an independent running, swimming and triathlon store in Wigan, Lancashire. We support the local events, we support the local community. Please consider us for next time!

Regards
The Endurance Store



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