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Our 10 Top Tips

Here are our 10 top tips for #teamsja runners to kick off training and see some quick gains!

1) Find your bubble - Surround yourself with positive people and look to training with friends sharing the same goal or even join a local running club. Having a group to motivate and support each other will help keep you out running when the weather gets tough! Don’t worry if you don’t have any one to train with - keep an eye on our social media channels where we will give you loads of tips to keep you motivated.

2) Break it down - Set yourself small goals along the way - you are on a journey and you need waypoints – That could be to complete a shorter race such as a parkrun ( by Christmas or a half marathon in February or March.

3) Variety is the spice of life! - If you want to get faster you need to mix up your training to include short, faster bursts called ‘intervals’ as well as long, slower consistent runs. ‘Threshold running’ at a ‘controlled discomfort’ 3-4 word answer pace in simple blocks such as 8 x 3 minutes, 5 x 5 minutes, 3 x 10 minutes will see you fitness jump forwards in leaps and bounds. Check out the SJA training plans for more!

4) Stronger, more flexible, faster – Don’t underestimate the benefits of regular core and cross training (such as swimming) to help you achieve your running goals! Keep it running specific though ensuring you include exercises that develop your lower abdominal and glute strength as well as single leg exercises. Stretch regularly and consider a pilates class if you are not sure where to start.

5) Environmental factors - Try running mixing up the pace in your run by using the environment, for example head out for an easy run but run the hills hard, or target a lamppost or tree and push up the effort to that point. Hill training is vital in building strength, endurance and power.

6) Kit yourself out! – Training through the UKs varied seasons is a lot more pleasurable in the right gear. Lightweight, wicking, running specific clothing in the summers, breathable, light waterproof clothing in the winter will help to remove those ‘natural’ excuses! Ensure you run shoes that are suited to your gait but that are also lightweight and promote a natural foot strike.

7) Get out early - Most runners have busy jobs, getting tired and losing energy and motivation throughout the day. Aim to get a regular run in early, even an easy run before breakfast and bask in the glow for the rest of the day.

8) A dose of realism - If you are going out for a 3 mile run and you are struggling to breathe after two or three minutes you will be unlikely to finish. Start at an easy and conversational pace, building the pace as you warm up and consider including regular ‘progression runs’ such as 30 minutes run as 10 minutes easy, 10 minutes steady, 10 minutes ‘threshold’- effort

9) Strip it back - Run to time and effort, not speed and distance. Don’t get caught simply trying to run further and faster each run. Listen to you body, work to effort and sometimes consider racing without your GPS – you might just find it was putting a ceiling on your performances.

10) Get to bed! - Recognise the value of nutrition and rest. Sleep and rest days are crucial to allow your body to adapt to the training. Aim for 8 hours sleep a night keep days marked for total rest as easy as you can manage. Ensure you adopt practices of the elites – snack regularly between meals to ensure you maintain consistent micronutrient levels and avoid blood sugar dips.

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