If you have been following my Insta account or my Facebook page, you will know that this year I have achieved not 1, but 2, that’s right 2 10km PBs from 2 events. And I promised that I would let you in on my training secret. It’s going to surprise many of you but here goes….I ran less. I know, it’s a non-runners dream come true and an avid runners anathema. Run less and get a PB, now this is a formula I need to patent.
My new strategy was inspired by a parkrun legend, Julie Stokes, who has been famously known to confess “I actually don’t like running” and who also happens to run a cracking 22:56min 5km. Yet, the amazing thing about Julie’s sensational 5km time is that Julie only runs once a week. Julie and I had been running side-by-side when Julie joined Albert Melbourne parkrun, around the 28min time for the 5km. Since then Julie has gone from strength to strength increasing her pace month on month, year on year to become a supreme running athlete. But the clincher is, Julie still only runs 5km a week. But how is that possible? you scream exasperatedly. Cross training is the answer, NOT more miles pounding the pavement and inviting injury. Julie credits her success to weight training, core strengthening, yoga and cycling. Let the cross training begin.
Weights – a specific running program twice a week
As a busy professional eater I needed to find a way to work out efficiently whilst improving my 10km time AND keeping my bikini bod. I needed to translate Julie’s genius into a winning strategy that would work for me. My base workout plan needed some tweaking. The first change I made was to really do something about my weak left leg. I met with a trainer at my gym to create a weights program that focused on building strength in my weaker leg and developing overall glute strength to give me the foundation I needed to run better. This project needed focus so I increased my weight sessions to 2 a week.
Cycling – the 8 second workout
Can you work out for 8 seconds? If you can repeat those 8 second bursts for 60 reps with a 12 second active recovery you will be well on your way to your PB. This session so simple, yet so efficient and effective, the sweat will be rolling off you. I also increased the incidental use of my bike and now rarely drive my car at all.
Kickboxing - once a week
Kickboxing is by far my favourite workout. Maybe it's because the first sport I did as a little Baroness was karate. Kickboxing works out your whole body and really gets your heart rate pumping. It also challenges your brain to remember the combinations and develop a rhythm.
Running – hill and interval sprints
Now of course, the trick to running less is to ensure that when you do run you are really putting in a quality session. It is definitely a formula of quality over quantity. Once a fortnight I would do an interval session, alternating between hills climbs and flat sprints.
Tapering - time to rest
Tapering is something I really embrace and can't stress enough that adequately resting before your event is just as crucial as the preceding 8 weeks of training. The week before an event I only run once, just to turn the legs over, I ditch all stair climbing and weight sessions and cease any strenuous activity by Thursday. What I focus on instead is getting plenty of sleep, water, yoga and stretching.
I hope you find my tips helpful and would love to hear if they work for you.
My program is for people with a base level of fitness and an ability to run at least 5km.
Before starting any training program you should always consult with your medical practitioner to see if it's right for you, remember I'm an amateur runner not a qualified trainer.
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