Let the runbritain training programmes take you to your next target

Padraic Beades

This is the time of year when the spring races arrive 'thick and fast' on the race calendar and so, if you haven't already done it, it's time to set your goal for 2015 and decide on your racing programme.

And we have many training programmes that can help you to arrive at your target race in great shape. We can see from our statistics that more and more of you are using the training programmes and, recently, we had an email from Patraic Beades who won a 5k race after following one of our programmes. We managed to get a quick interview with him:

When did you take up running? 
I took up running in 2010.
Has it been plain sailing since then?
I had a good three years but then developed a hip injury whilst training for my fourth
marathon in 2013. It has since cleared up and I am back to regular training now.
Which was your first race and how did you train for it?
My first race was the Aware 10km race in Phoenix Park, Dublin in 2010.
I had just started running then and wasn't following a programme. I had a route that
I would run and I would try and do it faster each time.
What attracted you to the runbritain training programmes?
I was looking for a programme that could get me close to my 5k PB of 17:49. I liked 
the amount of intervals prescribed and was interested to see how much I could improve
over six weeks. 
Which programme did you follow?
Six weeks to a sub-18 minute 5K.
Did it go without a hitch?
Yes, the training program was set up to allow for proper recovery but also push me 
hard. I could see improvements weekly.
Which was your favourite session on the programme?
I "enjoyed" the 3x5 minutes fast. I could do them a little faster than race pace and
I could steadily see the weekly improvements. It was motivating.
Which was your least favourite?
That would have to be the 2x (8x200m). Those were cruel sessions, but made me tougher
mentally and physically. 
Which elements prepared you best for your win at the 5k race?
I thought about the amount of intervals I had done over the past six weeks, an amount
I had never done before. Knowing I completed all the interval sessions well, I was 
confident I could hit my target pace. 

I found this programme very good for getting me back up to speed after my six months
of injury. I would recommend this programme to someone looking to greatly improve 
their 5km time.

If you are looking for a programme that will get you round a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon, check out the runfurther section in Training and Advice. If you are looking for a programme that will make you faster over those distances, check out the runfaster section. Alternatively, for a more bespoke programme, you could use the Training Wizard and follow the steps below. The Training Wizard will give you a plan one week at a time.


Choose what to do

To start running or to participate in an event: 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon? If your event isn't listed there you should choose the distance that is closest to it. For example, if you are going to run in a ten mile event you should click on half marathon or for 5 miles click on 10k.
Choose a target

If you are starting running you should consider how many days per week you could train. Choose the three day or the five day plan. If you are training for an event you should select the time in which you are aiming to get around.
What will you focus on during this block of training?

Now look at how much time you have between now and the date you want to achieve your goal. Is it six months or six weeks? You should 'chunk' your training into blocks and give each block a focus. Each block should last around six weeks as that is generally the time it takes to adapt to the training stimulus but you also need to make it fit with your lifestyle or with any 'inbetween' races you want to do, so you may opt for a 3 week block (a marathon taper would be 3 weeks) or a 7 week block (it shouldn't really be any longer than that).

During a training block you could focus on building an aerobic base, building strength endurance, speed endurance, pushing up your lactate threshold level or improving your running economy. 
How do you choose your focus?

Generally, runners begin by building an aerobic base, move onto strength-endurance and then speed-endurance. However, you may want to assess your strengths and weaknesses to help you determine what your focus will be. You may already know where your strengths and weaknesses lie or you may want the advice of a coach at your club, the leader of your group, or a physiologist who would be able to carry out physiological test.
Will it be an easy, moderate or hard week?

Once you have decided how long your training block will last you need to decide when you will put in hard, moderate and easy weeks. Generally runners will start with an easy week, move onto a couple of moderate, then a couple of hard and ease down again before starting the next block. However, you also have the opportunity here to make it fit with your lifestyle. If you have a busy week at work or with social/family commitments you should opt for an easy week. If you have a week off work and are not going away you could opt for a hard week.

So, what are you waiting for? Get busy planning for that event and enjoy the journey that you take to get you there!

While runbritain takes every care to help readers with training, diet and injuries, neither they, nor their contributors, can accept responsiblity for illness or injury caused as a result of advice given.