Ade is a fantastic personal trainer and running coach with a successful business, Fit City, in Hackney, East London. We used to train together in frosty London fields. I miss her energy and sense of humour! And when it comes to improving race times, she’s in the know.
Here’s some tips from Ade.
GET FASTER: HOW TO USE INTERVALS TO SPICE UP YOUR RUNNING TRAINING AND IMPROVE YOUR PB
First of all, how many of us actually run at our target speed for long enough on training runs?
All too often, we start slow, gradually get faster and finish with a glory sprint. Sound familiar? Then do the same three times a week?
Well, lets say we want to run 10k in 40 minutes (4 minutes per kilometre, which is roughly 6 minutes and 26 seconds per mile). In training do we practice the right pace consistently to achieve it or do we hope we run enough mileage to pull it out of the bag on the day.
Why not try running the distance (e.g. 10k) at your realistic target speed, but in intervals.
For example, try 25 (yes, 25) x 400 metres in a target time of 96 seconds per 400m lap (1 minute and 36 seconds) with 45 seconds rest. As you improve, you could increase the distance and reduce the number of intervals. So 12.5x 800 metres in 192 seconds (3 minutes and 12 seconds per 800m interval) with 45 seconds rest in between each lap. Then with time, you’ll then be able to run 6x 1-mile intervals in under 40 minutes (excluding your rest time between mile laps). You see what I mean? Keep on rehearing your target speed.
Even on your chilled Sunday morning long runs, try bursts faster than your target speed to get your heart working harder. If you’re training for a 10k, then perhaps try 3 to 5 minute bursts with 90 seconds of jog recovery in between or try running longer than your target distance – perhaps as long as possible at a speed slightly higher than your target pace.
You cannot beat running fast; faster than your target pace in a good sprint session that can include long and short sprints with a period of recovery after each lap.
It may sound daunting, but it’s a fun way of jazzing up and getting the most out of your running prep for races. Intervals can be run mostly anywhere as well as on a track (but track can provide a barrier free and energising base to run on).
I’m trying to run a half marathon in under 1 hour and 46 minutes (a PB I set ages ago). 1 hour 44 minutes would be a good start and 1 hour and 40 minutes would be a dream. To get there, I’m going to have to do more meaningful endurance running, a target speed session and fast speed session consistently over a decent lead in time.