Ready to take on your first 5km? “Start slow and keep it steady,” says Cronshaw. “It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and go out too hard. Try starting at a steady pace. This way, you can build your speed and finish the race feeling strong and confident.” Here’s Cronshaw’s eight-week plan to get you ready for race day.
You smash 5km on the reg and now you want a bigger challenge. Click on the image below for Cronshaw's training guide, then on race day, "Stay relaxed and positive. Think back to the hard work you’ve put in to get there – all you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other until you cross that finish line."
Your love of running has just gotten serious, and after finishing your first 10km, you’re ready for a bigger challenge. Along with this 14-week program designed by Cronshaw, he says a key part of preparation is good nutrition planning. “That means being properly hydrated in the days leading up to the race and not just downing electrolytes at the start line! Also decide what you plan to eat before your race. Ideally you should have trialled your pre-race meal as part of your endurance sessions to find what works best for you.”
Coach Cronshaw breaks it down, so you can sound like a pro on the track.
Absorption: Also known as recovery runs, these are very low-intensity short runs that help with recovery and physiologic adaptation. This promotes movement and blood flow into the healing muscles, which is essential for endurance running. Run at a pace that you can hold a conversation.
Endurance: This is your weekly long-distance run, done at a comfortable pace. It is an essential part of your training that helps the body and mind adapt to increased distances. It also helps you get familiar with the physical and mental challenges that you might face during a race.
Fartlek: Fartlek (Swedish for "speed play") sessions work on speed and stamina by alternating between easy and hard running. They are the easiest way to tackle speedwork by ramping up the pace when you feel good and slowing down when you need a break.
Hills: Hill sessions are a great way to develop speed and strength as it requires extra effort to run uphill, so you don't need to run as fast as you would on a flat section. They're also great for learning how to control your breathing.
Intervals: Interval sessions are a series of speed intervals run on a flat surface. This type of a workout is ideally done on a track as it means you can accurately measure your set distances, but it can be done just about anywhere, using street lights or even trees as interval markers.
Progression: Progression runs improve stamina and allow the body to adapt to the stress of running. Build your pace over the course of each run by starting at a slow, comfortable pace and finishing at a pace that's faster than your average.
Strength: Weight and resistance training is often counterintuitive to runners but this type of workout is important at is accomplishes three big goals. It prevents injuries by strengthening muscles and connective tissues; helps you run faster by improving neuromuscular coordination and power; and improves running economy by encouraging coordination and stride efficiency.
Tempo: A tempo session (also known as a lactate-threshold run) is a faster-paced run often described as “comfortably hard" at a controlled pace that can be run as long intervals or a steady run of 1-10km. As a rule of thumb, a tempo run should be at the pace you could race for an hour. The purpose is to build mental and physical endurance and to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Time trial: This is a chance to measure your current level of performance against the clock. Once you’ve finished, check your watch. Your time is your benchmark. After four weeks of solid training, you'll try the same run again and see how much you’ve improved.
And don't forget to warm up and cool down
Here's Cronshaw's guide...
Warm Up: Always start your training sessions with a slow 5-min jog, then follow with dynamic stretching, which uses controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosens up muscles and increases your heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to help you run more efficiently. As your pre-session routine you should target the muscles used for running, with dynamic stretches such as: leg swings (front to back); leg swings (side to side); lunge walks; fire hydrants (lifting the knee in front and then out to the side); hamstring sweeps; high-knees; boots-to-glutes.
Cool Down: Always end your training sessions with a slow 5-min jog, then follow with static stretching.
Your cool-down routine doesn’t have to take long or be complicated. Here are the five suggestions every runner should embrace after a session.
- Make friends with your foam roller for 10 minutes, targeting the glutes, ITB, quads, calves and lower back.
- Relax in pigeon pose for two minutes on each side.
- Hold a hip flexor stretch for two minutes on each side.
- Lie on your back with your legs up the wall for 5 to 10 mins
- Perform three sets of calf stretches for 15 seconds each leg.
Check out our running special in our July issue for more tips.
Now, go smash those goals!