My advice for this time of year is for athletes to ensure progression from the training levels achieved in the run up to New Year.
Additionally the aim is to successfully compete over the next few months, whilst still maintaining some development to their endurance base.
The advice will vary depending on their aims and how their training has progressed. But assuming a consistent level of training has been established, this is the time to consolidate their steady state training mileage, i.e. whatever their greatest weekly mileage has been up to present, try to do that amount more consistently.
Also gradually improve the pace of your steady state training runs, and if NOT racing introduce a weekly tempo (OBLA) run (this could be a continuous run of 5 miles, or 2*15-20 mins. at 10k racing pace with 5mins jog recovery). Recovery runs however still need to be easy.
For those aiming for a Spring marathon who have been regularly running in cross country races.
- They should continue to concentrate on their cross country training and racing, this will ensure they have more than sufficient pace for a marathon
- Do not sacrifice mileage for additional speed work over and above cross country work.
- Gradually increase the length of the long run.
- They ideally need to get to their target long run distances by early February.
- Don’t worry about marathon pace work at this time, the last 4-6 weeks is the time for this.
For non marathoners who have been regularly running cross country.
- These athletes may wish to run well in the remaining cross country races and run shorter road races and / or distance track races in the spring and summer.
- They will also benefit from a weekly long run, but are not on such a tight schedule as the marathoners to increase the distance. They may therefore give their cross country races a little more consideration when scheduling in long runs.
- For cross country training sessions we will be improving the pace of some of the work within the sessions on Saturdays.
- They should still continue to treat this time of year as a heavy endurance phase, so ‘keep getting the miles in’
For those who have, for whatever reason, been unable to train consistently up to Christmas.
- They should not worry if racing performance is inconsistent, they should just try to get three months of regular mileage in.
Best of luck,