Spring weather is a great time to get off the treadmill and head outside to work on key areas of running fitness. Here’s how to target different goals.
You want to get back into a routine…
Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to stick to a training routine over the dark Winter months. Hats off to you if you’ve managed it. For the rest of us, April is a good time to set a simple plan and stick to it. It doesn’t really matter what the running plan looks like. What’s important is being consistent.
Sketch out a basic running plan that fits with your work, home life, and other commitments. Make it easy to succeed. Write this plan down in your diary and literally tick the sessions off. And reward yourself at the end of every week. Little wins add up!
You want to boost your base fitness…
Maybe your running dropped off the radar over Winter, or you switched to another form of fitness (something warmer and drier?) It’s time to get your CV fitness back by getting miles under your belt.
The good news is that you’re not starting from scratch, and muscle memory will soon kick in. Start slow with 75% of your pre-Winter mileage and running frequency. Get that consistency back and then build up to your regular schedule.
Don’t forget, the most important sessions for building base fitness are shorter steady runs, long weekend runs, and one interval or tempo session per week.
You want to get faster…
If you’ve come out of Winter with a decent base, you’re ready to take on a specific training goal. Every runner would love to be faster, and it’s a pretty easy goal to work on (speed work sessions are shorter than marathon training programming!)
Take a look at your current weekly running schedule. If you already run 4+ times per week, replace two sessions with speed work (see our suggestions below). If you run 2-3 times per week, add one or two speed work sessions.
The best sessions to increase speed are intervals (ideally on a track), hill sprints, and longer tempo runs.
You want to shift some weight…
Winter has a habit of adding inches to the waistline, but that’s nothing a little focused nutrition won’t shift. Now the nicer weather is here, look at where you can tidy up your eating habits.
There’s probably no need to “diet” as such. You’re already active and have a good grasp of healthy eating. Start by looking at any bad habits that have crept in – larger portion sizes, night-time eating, snacking, and quick-grab foods like biscuits and sweets.
Get back to 3 x meals a day (with any snacks coming from healthy, wholefood sources like fruit). Prioritise lean protein, vegetables, potatoes, rice and other wholegrains. Cut back on those extras like sauces and spreads that you know carry excess calories.
Carry on with your normal running routine and the Winter lbs should come off within a few weeks.
You want to get a race PB…
Spring means a new racing calendar (anyone else get excited about looking at all the races on offer?) If you want to get a PB, it’s time to train. And enter races of course!
First up, decide which distance you want to focus on. A half marathon PB may well lead to a 10K PB along the way, but you need to focus on one thing.
Once you’ve chosen, design a 10-12 week training plan with that goal in mind. And don’t forget to enter your goal race – and a few shorter or test races along the way. Perhaps we’ll see you at the Windsor Half Marathon in September?
Windsor Half Marathon Sunday 24th September Click here to enter now