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Level/session: Beginner

What to do: 10x1 minute with a 1-minute recovery jog between efforts at your best 3K pace (15-20 seconds faster than your 5K pace).

How to progress it: Do a VO ² max session once a fortnight. Repeat the same session twice before progressing by increasing the length of the efforts and recoveries but decreasing the number of repetitions so that the overall volume of ‘hard effort’ increases by just 2-4 minutes at a time. For example: 10x1, 6x2, 5x3, 6x3, 5x4. Do not let the overall volume of ‘hard effort’ exceed the length of time it takes you to race 5K.

Interval Training

Level/session: Intermediate

What to do: 6x2 minutes with a 2-minute recovery jog between efforts at 5-10 seconds faster than your best 5K pace.

How to progress it: Do a VO ² max session once a week if you’re training for a 5K or 10K, once a fortnight for a half marathon or longer. Try also mixing intervals of different lengths, such as a pyramid of efforts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 -with a recovery jog equal to the preceding effort.

Level/session: Advanced

What to do: 5x3 minutes with a 2-minute recovery jog between efforts at your best 5K pace.

How to progress it: Do a VO ² max session once a week. You could alternate flat training with hills (walk or jog slowly down the hill for your recovery between efforts) and reduce the volume by 25 per cent to account for the greater demand of hill training.

The Long Haul

Contrary to what you might think, long runs aren’t just the domain of those gearing up for marathons all runners can benefit from a regular long run in their program. This is because it improves cardiovascular fitness (by making oxygen delivery to the working muscles more efficient), enhances fat use, (sparing precious glycogen stores) and helps muscles, tendons and other connective tissues adapt to the forces of running. It also burns a ton of calories!

How long is ‘long’? It’s all relative. If you’re new to long runs, get your starting point by adding 10-15 minutes to your current longest run. You can also increase the distance by adding in some walk breaks. This enables you to extend ‘time on feet’ without overdoing things.

If you’re new to long runs, get your starting point by adding 10-15 minutes to your current longest run.

If you’re new to long runs, get your starting point by adding 10-15 minutes to your current longest run.

In most instances, the long run is all about distance, not pace -so don’t be tempted to go too fast or you’ll risk burning out too soon. It’s smarter to slightly reduce your usual pace per mile and have a strong finish. For those training for long races, adding in the occasional more challenging run, by including some miles at the pace you intend to race at, is also a great idea. Good luck with your training!

Long-Distance Training

Level/session: Beginner

What to do: Slower-paced run or walk/run for 10-15 minutes longer than your usual run distance. Walk for 2 minutes after every 8 minutes of running or for 1 minute after every 9 each time your watch hits a ‘round’ number, start running again) or, if you have a GPS device, walk for 1-2 minutes after every km or mile.

Slower-paced run or walk/run for 10-15 minutes longer than your usual run distance.

Slower-paced run or walk/run for 10-15 minutes longer than your usual run distance.

How to progress it: Every third time you perform a long run, progress by adding whichever is the greatest -10 minutes or 1 mile. Do a long run every fortnight to begin with and then progress to ‘2 weeks on, 1 week off’ and then ‘3 weeks on, 1 week off’.

Level/session: Intermediate

What to do: Add 2 miles to your current longest run, and run 1 minute per mile slower than your usual pace.

How to progress it: When you do a long run, progress by adding whichever is greatest -10 minutes or 1 mile. If you aren’t training for a half or full marathon, schedule long runs on a ‘2 weeks on, 1 week off’ pattern to begin with, then ‘3 weeks on, 1 week off’.

Level/session: Advanced

What to do: Break the distance into thirds. For the first third, run a minute slower than your desired race pace. For the second third, run 30 seconds slower than your desired race pace. For the final third, run at race pace.

How to progress it: Only do this type of run once every 2-4 weeks during your race build-up. Also include the more traditional slower-paced long runs outlined above. Take a break from long runs once every 4-5 weeks to give your body time to recover.

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