Training Tips for Runners

Run under UK Athletics Rules
Barr Gold Grade


Medical and training advice – Medical back-up will be available throughout the course and a Doctor will be in attendance at the finish. Ensuring that you are fit and medically cleared to run are matters for you; if you have not trained or have a heavy cold or other febrile illness, you should not run.  Do not expect to achieve what you have not trained for. If you doubt your ability to finish, do not start.  Make certain that you have appropriate and adequate insurance.   In addition to the medical back-up, Courtesy Cars patrol the course throughout the period of the Race to help any runner unable to complete the course and take them back to the finish area; these cars have phone links with the Race HQ.  A massage service will be available at the finish area. Please refer to the FAQs on our website for any later medical or training advice.

Fluid replacement and isotonic drinks – Guidelines on fluid replacement suggest that runners should aim to drink no more than 400-800 mls per hour; higher rates for faster, heavier runners competing in warm or humid conditions and lower rates for slower runners/walkers competing in cooler conditions and whose expected time is 4 hours or longer. There is a real risk of slower runners becoming over-hydrated and developing dangerously low blood sodium levels if they drink more than 800 mls per hour.  If you propose to bring and take energy/isotonic drinks or bars, you should seek medical advice on doing so before you start the race

Get a check-up – It’s always best to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get the green light. As you train remember the human body adapts slowly and therefore responds best to small gradual increases in training stress. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, the circulatory system, the cardiovascular system, and the respiratory system, all adapt at different rates to training. They need a minimum of six weeks to make adaptations to the stresses placed upon them, so proceeding gradually is very important. Training periods of greater workload, like mileage increases or speed work, should be followed by periods of reduced workload, often referred to as a “cut back” week, where mileage is reduced and speed work less intense.

Get the right running shoes – Obtaining the proper equipment, like shoes, is really important especially when training for a marathon. Have your current shoes checked by a shoe fit specialist if possible. Tell them your weekly mileage to date, your goal to run a marathon, the running surfaces you train on, and how often you run so they can prescribe and fit you with the best shoe for you.

Here are some training tips that will help you towards your goal:

  • Keep a training log. Write down your daily mileage, run times, race distance and times, and how you feel. It’s hard to remember what you did later, so write it down immediately.
  • Increase weekly mileage by 10%. This allows for a gradual increase in mileage and reduces the risk of injury.
  • Include a “cut back” week every third or fourth week of training. “Cut back” means reduce your mileage and use it as an easy week.
  • Run 3 or 4 days a week. Include one long run, two shorter runs for speed and strength, and an optional easy recovery run day. For speed, focus on your run pace one day a week by running slightly faster in short increments of time or distance. For strength, include some hills one run each week. Long runs are runs that increase your distance. Run these at a slow, comfortable pace, about 1 or 2 minutes per mile slower than your expected goal pace.
  • Always alternate a hard day, with an easy day, or a day off.
  • Always allow at least ONE day a week completely OFF for rest and recovery. Two days a week is OK, too!
  • Monitor your resting heart rate. Take your resting pulse each morning before arising. Keep track of it in your training log. After several readings, you will have a baseline number. As our fitness improves, our resting pulse decreases. If you see your resting heart rate spike up by 10% or more above your normal resting pulse, take it easy that day. This can be a sign of fatigue, lack of recovery between workouts, or an illness coming on and it is best to take the day off, sleep in, or change a hard workout to a very easy one, until your resting heart rate returns to normal.
  • Consider cross-training one or two days a week to increase your aerobic conditioning without additional running. Swimming, cycling, or rowing are good options. Keep cross-training activities to 45 minutes 1 or 2 times a week, and do them at a very moderate intensity level.
  • Consider adding strength training to your routine twice a week. This can be weight training, or a Pilates or Yoga class.
  • Always listen to your body. If you are tired, rest. If a workout feels hard, it is hard.

Marathon training can be life changing because of its impact on our lifestyle. Training encourages us to make positive choices with our diet, social life, and sleep patterns. It is a significant journey and commitment. Having support from family or friends is very helpful too, so start recruiting your support team now! Maybe even one or two of them will decide to join you! Enjoy the training process and celebrate all of your accomplishments along the way.

Information courtesy Runner’s World 2017