Each month we’re putting your questions to Olympian and Vhi ambassador David Gillick and this month it’s the topic of training, over to David…
Yes, we are back, and it was fantastic to see so many parkrunners doing what they love on a Saturday morning. It’s been a long 18 or so months and finally people are back getting out and moving thanks to the brilliant parkrun volunteers all over the country.
Now that people are moving, I’ve had plenty of questions relating to training. As we know parkrun is not a race, however there are some people who would like to improve their own times, be it running or walking.
Of course, fitness is important, and getting out running or walking consistently and building a routine will help build your general fitness and endurance. However, there are a few little tricks that may help, whilst also keeping it interesting and challenging.
If you could get out once or twice during the week, here are two types of sessions that may help improve both fitness and performance.
Types of training sessions can help:
1) Intervals Repetitions – periods of activity followed by periods of rest. These can be time based or distance based. The aim is to move a little quicker than you would per km during a 5k. Get to know your average pace per kilometre during a 5k.
For example, move faster than your average kilometre pace for 2 mins with a 2 min slow walk/jog recovery in between and repeat six times.
A good starting point is aiming for overall workload to be roughly around 20 min and then building from there. You can make it different by playing around with the durations. These types of sessions are great to improve speed and build cardiovascular fitness, plus they’re time efficient for quick lunchtime sessions. Also, they keep boredom at bay!
2) The Longer Run – It’s not always about faster. An important factor in both fitness and performance is endurance. If improving over 5k is your thing, getting comfortable running or walking over 8k -10k will really help.
Getting the miles in the legs will improve your cardiovascular fitness and help you sustain a good pace towards the end of a 5k, be it running or walking. The key thing is to do it at a comfortable pace, slower that what you would do a kilometre during a 5k. It’s almost like a recovery run, building the miles but doing it at a workable sustainable pace over a longer distance.
The key with training is to change it over time. The body is smart and if you keep doing the same exercises it will simply adapt and you won’t get the benefits, hence a plateau. So, like Ray Bradbury once said, “life is like underwear, change is good!”
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