Teach your body what to expect. Adaption to running stress, types of running, easy, long, hills and intervals, warm ups, cool downs flexibility and mobility

What should I expect from training? What is training?

For runners (new and old) we define what training is and what to expect. 

Training is ultimately about showing your body what to expect on race day. You can’t talk to your body or tell it what is going to happen and what you want it to do; well you can but people might think you strange. What you must do is take your body on the journey, show the actions that will be required on the day.

“If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now.
Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering if you could do it”
Priscilla Welsh

By the time you get to your event, your body, your mind, through the actions you have shown it, will know the technique, the distance, the terrain, the weather, the course, how to use the aid stations, and the speed you intend to run, to complete or compete. You will practise all this in your training.

It’s that simple, this is all training is. You just need a plan that incorporates all these aspects and helps you maximise the benefit of the time and effort you put in.

If you don’t plan, you plan to fail

So, what can you expect from your training plan?

A training plan is all about balancing the right amount of stress (activity) with recovery to allow your body to respond to the stress and get aerobically fitter and stronger. Many ignore the importance of recovery, but it is just as important as the exercise itself. It is where you get all your gains. Recovery is about allowing your body to adapt specifically to the stress you place on it to improve.

When you train, do an activity you get tired, the longer the activity the more tired you get. Your body isn’t getting fitter, it is getting more fatigued. It is the response to this fatigue, the adaption, the overcompensation to the activity that increases your fitness or ability to do the activity. This is how you improve.

The key is to slowly, progressively increase the stimulus or stress of the activity and balance this with the recovery to get the response (to get fitter). It is not productive or efficient to go all out in a training session and then get so sore the next day that you can’t exercise for a week! Any structured training plan will allow for this progression. Many have followed plans that are not suited to their level of fitness or type of runner that they are only to find that they are unable to complete the plan or worse get injured and stop because the activity places too much stress on the body and / or not enough recovery.

When you follow a training plan, you are responsible for monitoring this balance. When a coach tailors a plan for you, they are responsible for helping you to find and maintain this balance.

If you do the same thing and expect a different outcome
 that is the definition of madness


Adapting and Maintaining

So, the key to a well-balanced, structured plan is to progressively increase the activity intensity. So many recreational runners fall into the trap of doing the same course at the same pace or time and then plateau. The reason for this is that if you train in the same way every time, what your body says, is “Great, nothing new here, I don’t have to anything, I will stay the same”

This is important for two reasons. You need to keep changing the stimulus, your body will not adapt, unless it has something to adapt to. Secondly, it highlights the need for progression. All race / event training plans are progressive.

Types of training

As your training plan progresses you will experience 4 main types of training, there are others, but for now:

Easy run: where you run at conversational pace. That is a pace that you can hold a conversation easily. If you can’t you are going to fast. Slow down. Almost 80% of your training plan will consist of easy running.

Hill run: where you run over an undulating course, with a reasonable degree of elevation. This type of training is specifically designed to increase strength and ability to sustain a pace during a race or event.

Speed work: Also know as interval training, typically programs include no more than 20% of this type of work out. These workouts help the body get used to a faster leg turnover (cadence) but also improves your body’s ability to efficiently transport oxygen to working muscles. The more efficient this system is the faster you can run over any given distance.

Long steady run: This is essentially an easy run, but over a longer duration and distance. This kind of training is great for improving running efficiency and especially important in preparing the body for events that are longer in duration.

 Warmups, cool downs, mobilisation and dynamic stretching.

Many runners will use the first 10 – 15 minutes of an easy, hill or long run to warmup and in most cases this is fine. If however, you work at a desk all day or have less flexibility then it is advisable to incorporate some mobilisation and dynamic stretching prior to getting into your workout. All our plans include information on how to do this.

For any speed or interval work, doing an intentional warmup, with mobilisation and dynamic stretching is essential to avoid injuries. Cool downs are equally important after these kinds of workout as that helps the body flush out the waste materials generated by the intensity.

Remember training is fun, enjoy the process, the goal will come


A brief word on fueling the body. Your body needs energy to exercise, it is important that you fuel correctly, before, during and after exercise depending on the distance or time you are running. In the simplest terms this means that your muscles need fuel to operate effectively, there is also a window of opportunity post exercise (optimal in the first 30 minutes, but up to 2 hours) to replenish that used fuel. We have a separate blog on this.

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life,
because you get out of it what you put into it.”
Oprah Winfrey


Our Training Plans & Coaching:

Novice / Beginner / Recreational / Intermediate to Advanced

Durations 8, 12, 16, 20, 24 weeks

5k training plan

10k Training plan

Half marathon training plan

Marathon training plan

Fully personalised 1:1 Coaching

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