Get Fitter In Half The Time - Do Two Workouts Together
It's not always easy fitting in your training around the demands of a working day. What with all the different elements you want to include in your training schedule to gain the greatest fitness, family life, earning a crust....it all takes that precious commodity - TIME.
So why not give combining a couple of workouts at each session a go? You take the important elements from two different workouts and then the next day you take it easy with a short run, cross train, swim or rest day.
Beat Fatigue- try a RUN + STRENGTH SESSION
If you put in a lower body strength workout between 2 easy runs you can simulate the muscle fatigue you experience on race days, without the need to run long and hard mileage.
After 2 or 3 easy miles then do 6-8 reps of calf-raises, lunges and squats. If you're at the gym you can also add some leg curls and leg extensions. Do 2 or 3 sets of these before finishing with another 2 to 6 easy miles.
Learn To Pace Yourself- try a LONG RUN + YOUR GOAL PACE
Reduce your risk of injury by practising race pace for a shorter time and get your body mentally and physically accustomed to running on fatigued legs.
Start your run at a minute per mile slower than your goal pace and then, once you are two-thirds into your run, speed up to goal pace or even slightly faster and then maintain this until you complete your run. If you intend to run 16 miles or more then don't speed up to your marathon pace until the final 3-4 miles.
Work On Form And Fitness- try HILLS + 800s
On long runs it's easy to get sloppy with form but shorter, faster runs teach our bodies to look for the most efficient way to run. By combining a hilly route with half mile repeats you can raise your heart rate, which then in turn boosts your aerobic capacity.
Find yourself a hilly route and then try running easy for 1 mile followed by 800m at your 10k pace. Repeat this 2-4 times.
Improve Your Speed- try MILES + SPRINTS
This combination trains your body to resume your goal pace quickly after a short burst of speed, like when you pass someone in a race. By adding some speed to your training, you'll find that you've raised your aerobic threshold and your goal pace will seem that much easier.
On a track, treadmill or measured piece of road, after your warm up, run one mile at 30 seconds faster than your marathon, half marathon or 10k race pace. Follow that with 400m at a 5k pace or slightly faster. Repeat this 2-5 times.
Teach Yourself Consistent Effort- try HILLS + FLATS
Keeping your effort constant as you navigate varying terrain is the key to successful racing, and by running hills followed by flats trains you to keep an even effort throughout.
A treadmill provides the best way to do this(and if you're looking for a good one check out the Sole F80 treadmill). Warm up then set the incline at between 2%-5% and then run for 2 minutes. Reduce the incline to zero and then run for another 2 minutes at the same effort by increasing your pace. Your breathing rate should stay the same. Jog or walk on the flat for a further 2 minutes. Repeat this sequence for 3-6 times, according to your training plan