Newcomers to longer distance running

Ours is a group of runners of varying abilities, ambitions, states of fitness and at various points in their training and racing cycle. All run 10k races through to the marathon, and beyond, and some also are training for triathlons. For that reason, I will guide you in the sessions but do not sort out races, or specifically recommend a racing program. However, I am there to give advice when asked and everybody in the group races and keen to discus them and make recommendations.

I rely on you to organise the longer runs that are required to build endurance and the aim in the sessions that we do on Monday and Wednesday is to run faster than you would do in those runs. Therefore these almost all have an element of fast repetitions with some sort of rest between. This is to build the speed you need to run faster in races (and in the longer runs, come to that).

I try and keep the training uncomplicated and work on the basis that if you can improve your ability to run 10k faster, all the other distances will benefit. Therefore most sessions do have reference to 10k pace and other things being equal you are looking to run the “repetitions” at a bit faster rate than your present 10k abilities. For example, a 40 minutes 10k athlete runs at the rate of 3 minutes 12 seconds per 800m and if looking to run 37/38 minutes, a rate of 3 minutes per 800m, you would run that for 800m repetitions in training. That is the start point in working out what speed to run in training.

Other sessions are not so controlled, for example the “pyramid” session in which you just have a go at exploring your abilities

If you are not very fit, the repetitions will have to be run slower, and to start with you may not be able to complete the session. That is OK and some in the group don’t anyway. It depends on their state of fitness or whether or not they have a race imminent. As you get fitter you will be able to complete a session and probably run it faster.

Most of the group run to the training venue as a warm-up and get there shortly before the session starts at 7.20. Others will get there 15 minutes or so beforehand and use that time for jogging as a warm-up. A warm-up is essential.

Pete Bennett - Endurance Group Coach