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Notes to myself (part 2)

Part two of a four-part series of my top ten training tips I’ve picked up this year. Part one can be found here.

Lesson 3: Be consistent before being fast

I’ve found pacing has played a big part in my training. This came about through trialing the Garmin coach on my watch and while the training plan didn’t work out for me for a number of reasons, the way effort was controlled through pace stuck with me.

The learning around pace is to set a target for a run and stick to that. Increment up slowly over the weeks, don’t try to go quickly quickly. I have a tendency to set out at a chosen pace, but then feel good on the day and go a lot faster, quickly wearing myself out. My advice to future me is if this happens, recognise how I feel, complete the run as planned, register how I feel at the end and amend the training plan accordingly. 

Stick to the plan and adjust based on reflection, not on a whim halfway round the park!  

Lesson 4: Cross training

Cross training is great to include in the training plan, but I found I was struggling to see how it was improving my running. My focus was on form and the different running patterns I was eager to progress. 

My bike was always promised a service but never got one when we had the perfect summer for regular bike rides. Fixing this up to a roadworthy condition should’ve been a no-brainer.

I started strength exercises early on in my training and would have liked to keep this up. I focussed on specific muscle areas, particularly in my legs and core. This is certainly beneficial to the overall training, but only through perseverance. 

Lesson 5: Combination runs

This is summarised in my connection perfection post; something completely new to me and ultimately something I wasn’t able to explore fully. If there’s one thing to take away from this year, it’s to be more liberal when designing a training plan. 

Never again should I mark off the runs in a week with such definite labels as ‘long run’, ‘tempo run’, ‘hills’, ‘strides’; from now on it’s all about the combo. A tempo will not be a tempo unless it is preceded by a hill repeat. A long run is no longer a long run without a fartlek section.  

Whatever the combinations, the goal is variety. Variety for better fitness. Variety for more enjoyment. 

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