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Some things a Kenyan runner told me part four...

You may remember I said in a previous post on this topic that the guys said to me that if they felt over tired or just weren't feeling well during a warm up they would call it a day there. Well guess what? Yes that is right, they all said that if they feel good during a planned go hard red zone training session, they embrace it. They said that getting to the point of exhaustion during a hard workout is always the goal. If they finish the session and they know there was more there, they've cheated themselves. How many of us go to the point of having absolutely nothing left during efforts? So I guess what I'm saying is don't moan during efforts or say you gave it everything when you know you didn't. That's the thing about this, only you will know. If you don't feel good you shouldn't be out there, if you are out there, you need to give it everything. You can apply this to all sports, you just need to be honest with yourself.

So onto training workouts and the question I'm sure everyone wants the answer to. How do I get faster? Well there are many elements but they all said one word. Hills.

Hills are part of all their training runs apart from slow recovery runs and once a week a whole session is all about hills with the climb being several miles long. As the prize for beating the hill the run in will be made up of rolling hills and the aim is to gather pace on the run in.

They will also use hills for warm ups and use one that takes them a minute or so to climb at their 10km pace, jog back down and go again doing repeats of up to 15 one of them said but others were between 10 and 12 in terms of reps.

The most important type of run they do is the tempo run. I mentioned in an earlier post about climbing into a run, racing and then backing off. These are what these runs are all about for them. There are predefined starts and ends to the race element and runners race hard during the race section but recognise the need to look after muscles by warming up and down during the session. Again there are rolling hills.

They all said they do their fartlek session the day before they do their big once a week hill session and they do this to loosen their legs up ready for what is to come the following day.

Interval runs they do both on the track and on trails and they generally go to exhaustion on this session. We talked about numbers and they blew me away with 20 x 400 metres but then they are a bit special I guess. The key is exhaustion, whatever your level is.

The long runs we talked about were interesting as they talked about progression and I'm not sure I see too much of that going on with peoples training. I also see a lot of people starting fast and fading on race day. So they start steady and climb into it. Long runs generally tend to be anything from half to full distance marathon but the pace won't be flat out at the full distance end of the scale. Again there are hills.

The last thing to mention is that they talked about two runs a day with a recovery run being one if the other has been hard. These are professional athletes however and with busy lives that incorporate families, work and other commitments this isn't always possible for the rest of us. To counter this they said to try it in the final push towards training for a race for say a week or two before taper. They all said to get agreement from your partner though if you have one rather than just heading out the door!

Remember to S T R E T C H!


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