Training advice

Basics of Running

Firstly a few basic points to get you started. Running should be enjoyable, so in the early weeks you’ll need to make every run as comfortable as possible, without putting any pressure on yourself, without expecting too much of yourself and always being able to hold a conversation while running.

Some rules for beginners:

All sessions should start with a slow pace and finish with some gentle stretching

All runs in your first few weeks should be done at a conversational pace

Do not time runs or be tempted to ‘race’ others in the group until you achieve a basic level of fitness

Never run if injured or you suspect you are starting to get an injury or suffering soreness in a particular area

If you miss a session repeat the week. Do not try to jump up to higher mileage runs and skip ones in between

Try to stick together as a group and encourage each other. Re-group every so often if you need to. If you are finding that you are always getting way ahead of everyone else it’s time to move up a group!


Long runs are normally done on a Saturday or Sunday morning. They should be run at steady, conversational pace and are designed to build the stamina required to complete the distance you are training for. By increasing the length of long runs over a period of weeks, it should feel like an easy step up to the next long run.


Intervals or hill reps are done once a week on a Tuesday at GVH.

These increase efficiency and build on the stamina achieved over a period of weeks. Intervals should be short and sharp but also defined by the race you are targeting. Therefore you will do longer, slower intervals for the marathon and shorter, faster intervals for the 5k and 10k.

These speed or hill sessions are normally the ones that prove most daunting for most newer runners but after doing a few weeks of them they build confidence and are the single most important sessions for improving race pace. The idea is to work hard and then get your heart rate back down before starting the next rep. That trains the heart to become more efficient in pumping oxygen round the body and also you will notice your recovery times after intense workouts will improve.

They are generally referred to as Reps (repetitions or repeats) or Intervals (because you run a hard effort with a recovery interval in between).


Threshold / Tempo & Fartlek runs  are done on a Thursday at GVH.

These are generally not as intense as a Tuesday session, but include a middle section of some concentrated effort. Your Threshold pace is the pace at which you are running out of breath (your “lactate / anaerobic threshold”).

A Threshold run has a middle section where you are running out of breath for several miles. Again this increases your efficiency and aerobic capacity. A Fartlek run is a mixture of pace , so that you put several faster bursts into the run with some recovery periods in between. Once again it’s a quality run that increases running efficiency.


Steady runs & Easy runs are the bread and butter of the schedule. They are bog standard mileage that should be fairly comfortable and are easy to hold a conversation during. They are often the most routine of the week but are nonetheless essential. A Steady run would be just outside your race pace target, an Easy run slower still and often done the day after a harder effort.

Substituting one of these runs for a cross training session can be a very good idea and many of our runners at GVH do spinning classes, road cycling or swimming. A Monday, Wednesday or Friday would be ideal to cross-train.


REST DAYS  are a crucial part of any training plan and should be built into the schedule and followed like any other day. They allow the muscles to repair following the hard effort of a long run, a race or a speed session.


CHANGE is always the best policy in any schedule. Do something different every week to keep interest levels high and the body guessing what is coming next in order to improve all round efficiency and fitness.

Another good tip is to try to finish each session leaving a little bit left for the next day. This means you won’t get jaded or injured.

Most training schedules follow the same principles and if you read a cycling schedule it’s no different in principle to a running one.

Long runs are for stamina, speed sessions are for strength and threshold&fartlek runs are for speed endurance.


Also remember that it should always be FUN.

If you are not having fun then there is no point in doing it. The speed work should also be fun. You should push yourself just as much as feels comfortable but enough to improve yourself gradually over many weeks. Don’t try to do too much too soon or you will get injured!


Running is a Sport that will help you achieve improvement and satisfaction in Life and all of us at GVH hope you will have many happy years with the Club.

All views are my personal opinion based on my previous running experiences, so please do speak to many different people at the Club for alternative advice.

Have Fun and Enjoy your running.

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