Training sessions

“If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got!”

Sticking to one form of training, not only makes preparing for races tedious and boring, but you are less likely to make the fitness gains required to meet your aspirations. So we try to add variety and include some challenging sessions where we can. Remember, NO PAIN, NO GAIN!

The types of training sessions we hold, which are included below: Steady Runs; Tempo Runs; Hill Work; Pace Groups; Fartlek; Intervals; Group Runs; Bleep Test; Parlauf; Torch Light Runs; Out-and-back; Stowe Running Track

Here’s a brief description of these sessions  …

Steady Run (or a “Normal Run”)

A steady run is a normal run within your aerobic threshold – it’s a comfortable pace you feel you could maintain for a long period of time. Most of us enjoy these runs as we should be able to hold a conversation without getting too much out of breath! Steady runs form a large part of our training as this is about the pace you should be aiming for during your distance runs. Eventually, you’ll get so accustomed to your steady pace that you should be able to tell within 10-15 seconds when you have run a mile or kilometre.

It is a good idea, during a steady run, to increase your pace for a few miles or so, to see how you tolerate a quicker run.

For those with a heart rate monitor, your heart rate should be around 65-75% of your maximum heart rate.

Tempo Runs

A tempo run is slightly quicker than your steady pace – at this intensity you should just about be able to talk, but only in short sentences before needing to take a breath – a conversation should be difficult! The length of time that you are able to maintain a tempo run depends on your fitness level. Beginners may find that a one-mile tempo run is tough going, but a good runner may be able to maintain this pace for 8-10 miles, perhaps more.

Tempo runs help your body tolerate a faster paced run. If all you do is steady-paced running, then your body adapts to that pace and anything quicker results in early fatigue. By overloading it in a tempo run, your heart, legs and lungs adapt to the higher intensity, improving your fitness levels and finishing times.

A tempo run is NOT an all-out effort, but a challenging run at an increased pace. Most injuries are contracted through over-training and pushing too hard – so be careful!

For those with a heart rate monitor, your heart rate should be around 80-85% of your maximum heart rate.

Hill Work

Hill training sessions are a great way to improve your leg strength and fitness. You have to work that much harder to counteract gravity, resulting in an increase in heart rate, and you’ll find this a much more challenging workout than a trot along the flat. We have several different Hill Training sessions to add variety to what is often a gruelling form of training!

Lenborough Road – a form of progression training – you run up the hill for 20 seconds, jog/walk back down, repeat; then go again for 30 seconds and so on, until the final run at a full minute. Obviously, the fitter/stronger you are the further up the hill you go!

Page Hill – a form of interval training – you sprint up the hill as far as your legs/lungs will take you, then walk or jog back down, recover (get your breath back!) and repeat. The number of intervals you do depends on your fitness level and your recovery time, but as a rough guide the whole exercise, including the 10 minute warm up run, should last no more than 30 minutes, or 45 minutes if you are very fit. Once you have undertaken this session, remember how many intervals you completed and how far up the hill you went. Then see how you progress over the next few weeks! A heart rate monitor ensures you recover fully before going again.

Lime Avenue/Willow Drive – another form of interval training – you run hard up Lime Avenue, recovery run along the road/passage to the top of Willow Drive, then run hard down the hill, recovery run along to the bottom of Lime Avenue and repeat for about 12minutes  (i.e. about 4 or 5 reps). Then do it all again (but one interval less!) in the opposite direction. Follow this up with a tempo run round Badgers Way!

KEY POINTS:

  • Due to the intensive nature of hill training, it is best performed just once a week.
  • Ensure you are well warmed up beforehand to reduce the risk of injury to your muscles and tendons.
  • Increase the intensity of your sessions gradually.
  • It’s a good idea to rest the following day!

Pace  Groups

Here, we split into groups according to the pace you want to run at, be it 8 minute miles or 11 minute miles  or something in between. Try joining a group slighty faster than your steady pace just to see how long you can maintain it – like a tempo run. If it becomes too much, slacken off and wait for the following group to catch up. This is also a good way to find out what your comfortable pace is.

Fartlek

Fartlek comes from the Swedish word meaning “speed play”. This is best carried out in groups of evenly-paced runners. You follow any route you like, then someone shouts “sprint” and you run hard for a while, say to the next lamp post, then jog to recover, re-group, run for a while until the next person decides to go. There are no strict rules, so long as you keep overloading your body and have brief rest periods. The key is to add variety and try and enjoy it!

Intervals

This is similar to fartleks, but is essentially more structured. Whereas in fartleks, the faster sections are random, with interval training you may have a given distance and recovery time for each interval. Interval sessions are easiest to organise on a running track, so you might run 400m, rest/jog for 2 or 3 minutes then go again for a set number of intervals. But such sessions are possible on the road, especially if you can mark out a distance in miles or kilometres etc. Alternatively, you may choose to run hard for a set time, recover than repeat. The combinations are almost endless!

Interval sessions can also be undertaken in the gym on an exercise bike – a very useful way to maintain fitness if you are injured – as long as the injury is not cycling specific!

KEY POINT:

  • Remember what you are trying to achieve here – you are running to make your heart , lungs and legs adapt to the stresses of running. By making your body adapt to a quicker pace of running , your race pace will seem so much easier and you’ll be less likely to tire.

Group Runs

We all start off together at least, trying to hold the group as best we can. Of course, this is not always easy with such a great variety in pace – but it’s a good way to get to know club members you wouldn’t normally run with!

Bleep Test

The Bleep test is a “progressive aerobic cardiovascular endurance test”. It is used within the sports industry and by organisations such as the police and armed forces as an indicator of cardiovascular fitness.

How does it work?

The test involves continuous shuttles between 2 points, 20 metres apart. These shuttles are synchronised with a pre-recorded audio track, which plays bleeps at set intervals. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive bleep decreases, forcing the athlete to increase their speed over the course of the test, until it is impossible to keep in synch with the recording.

Scoring?

The final score is made up of the level attained, along with the number of completed shuttles. For example, if I got to level 7 and dropped out after 4 shuttles, my final score would be 7.4

Who uses it?

Organisation

Level required

Police

5.4-10.5

Royal Air Force

7.2 (F) 9.10 (M)

Elite Rugby Referee

12+

Marines

13

Parlauf

Runners will be paired up – faster runner with a slower runner – and will set off on a circular route in opposite directions. When they meet they turn round and run back, hopefully meeting back at the starting point. But it doesn’t end there ….  more will be explained on the night!

Torch Light Runs

As the name suggests, this is a run in the dark! We run through the darkest parts of Buckingham (and even further afield) – through the parks and woods where there is little or no light. If you don’t own a headtorch, bring a hand-held one.

Out-and-back

We run a given course for a given time, the faster runners going further, then after say, 25 or 30 minutes, we turn round and run back – but at a faster pace. So bring your watch! If all goes according to plan, we should all arrive back within a few minutes of each other.

Stowe/Royal Latin Running Tracks

Three or four times a year, during the Summer months, we hire the running track at Stowe. We use these sessions to practice running techniques, have fun relays and hold 1 mile time trials.  It’s also nice to run on a different surface.