Laura Muir, fresh from winning two golds in the recent European indoor championships, gives some fantastic tips for us runners!
Laura was providing tips for runners taking part in the London 10 Mile, a major new closed road event held in the stunning Richmond Park, on Sunday 4th June 2017. A percentage of the event entry fee goes to parkrun to support grassroots running. For more info go to: london10mile.com
What’s the best way of building up from a 5km parkrun to a 10 mile run?
The main thing would be not to just jump straight in. If you’re training for 10miles then you probably only need to go up to around 7-8miles in training, which suddenly makes going from 3 miles to around 8 over the course of day 10 weeks sound very achievable – which it is! It may seem like a huge mountain to climb to start with, but if you break it down into a structured plan with adequate recovery you’ll begin to see how doable it is.
The main thing endurances race training plans have is variation. You’ll want to have at least one slightly faster paced run per week (this could be your weekly parkrun), then add in your track or mixed pace fartlek run for speed endurance and a longer run where you drop the pace but build endurance. This approach would enable you to build up to around 7-8miles, with the longest run in your programme taking place about two weeks before race day.
Do you have any training tips or recommended sessions for a hilly race?
The best bit of advice I give someone who’s about to take part in a hilly race is to pace yourself! You don’t want to go out too hard early on as you will create lactate and make the rest of the run a lot more difficult for yourself.
On the downhill parts try and relax and let your momentum carry you, this will save your legs from doing any extra work.
Its also important to keep a good technique up the hills and if it’s really steep make sure your head is level and not looking downwards so that your breathing is not hindered.
How can you fit training around a full time job and family / other commitments?
I am currently training to be a vet, so this is a subject close to my heart. I find getting up early in the morning is a great time to train as the roads are usually quieter and it doesn’t eat into the day. Remember, it’s about quality over quantity, so even if you can only train three times a week that’s absolutely fine. Just make sure you try and squeeze in a long run at some point, you can have the kids on the bike or even incorporate it into the family weekend walk.
If you are short on time, can you recommend some sessions that will help you train for the London 10 Mile?
I find that hill sprints are a great way to get in a quality session without it taking too much time.
Using a short stride and driving the arms are a few of the things that you can focus on. I train on a local hill, which is about 1km long, but I’d suggest maybe finding a gradual hill about 500m long. A typical 30 minute session consists of 8x reps with active recovery consisting of walking/jogging back down to the bottom! It’s very simple, but it’s a good way for me to keep my fitness levels high and squeeze a big workout into a relatively short space of time. But remember and warm up first.
How you can you incorporate your training into a 7-10km run commute?
Running to work really is a fantastic way to train if you have a busy schedule, it is a great way to squeeze some extra mileage into your weekly training plan without it eating into other areas of your life. If you start running once or twice a week, after a month or two you can gradually start to increase both the amount times you run commute and the pace at which you do so. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you improve. Running will soon become the norm and your body will start to adapt – before you know it you’ll be feeling fit, strong and ready to take on bigger distances. I find I always have a clear head after running and am a lot more productive the mornings I have been on a run.
Do you recommend cross training and if so, what sports / training do you recommend?
There are all sorts of great cross training activities available now. Ranging from yoga for runners to strength and conditioning sessions specifically designed for runners to build speed and power, improve balance and coordination and increase flexibility. Gym training forms a big part of my weekly training schedule and I am certainly a lot stronger as a runner because of it. It’s fantastic to see how quickly you can build strength and I find it has really helped me maintain my competitive edge. I notice its effects most in the final stages of a race where I am able to keep a good technique even though I am fatigued.
Is there anything I can do to prevent or lessen stiffness the day after something like a 10 mile or marathon?
The foam roller is generally most people’s go to method of loosening up after a long distance event. Most people have a love/hate relationship with it if they own one themselves and most often don’t use it until it’s a little too late and they’ve got some tightness somewhere or some kind of injury. Think of foam rolling as an easy (and cheaper) version of a massage. The more you do it the easier and less painful it’ll be and the less injury prone you’ll become. If you don’t have a foam roller, then a very short, slow run followed by some static stretching is a fantastic way to wash out the lactic acid from your legs.
You can also use a rolling stick, I find it particularly useful for the calves and hamstrings as I can apply more pressure than I could be able to do with the foam roller and you can work on specific smaller areas.
Is running the day before something like a 10 mile race a good idea? If so, what’s a good distance to go for?
Sometimes I have a day off sometimes I do a short easy run. I’d recommend not much more than a couple of miles, probably no more than three, it can help loosen your legs and warm your muscles, some people also like to have a stretching session prior to the race . If you can, run on the race course or nearby and run in what you plan on racing in to check it all feels ok. Better to know your socks aren’t quite right or your t-shirt is chafing the day before rather than find out during the race itself!
I want to get some new running shoes for my next event. How early should I start breaking them in?
Personally, I’d recommend wearing them around the house or when commuting, then gradually starting to wear them for the shorter lighter runs before progressing to wearing them for the longer runs. If you’ve just bought an upgraded model from what you wore before then you probably won’t need to be this cautious. Some shoes are specific for racing too so probably best to save them for those track sessions or the fartlek runs before wearing them on race day. Make sure you speak to a specialist and get a pair of trainers that are suitable to your needs and will provide the necessary support for the distance you intend to run.
Once you find a shoe that suits you and you are running injury free try and stick to it. I have worn the same model of trainers for years now and have had no problems.