Training – the basics

For beginners who have just joined the club, or more experienced runners who feel they should know more, here is an explanation of basic running terms. Each one has a part to play in your training. Click here for details of sessions run by the club, and here to meet the TRC coaching team.

The Long Steady Run builds endurance and is the foundation upon which other training is built. It is often referred to as ‘base work’ or ‘conversational running’. The distance run should be increased slowly.

Interval Training (also known as ‘efforts’) will make you a faster runner. It involves periods of hard running, followed by a set period of rest, repeated several times. For example, 10 x 150m up a gently sloping hill, followed by a jog-back recovery.

Recovery Runs allow waste products from previous sessions to be flushed out of the body, getting rid of any stiffness. They are short, and slow. It is important that recovery runs don’t turn into ‘junk miles’ – the aim is to recover, not put more miles ‘in the bank’.

Rest days are as important as training sessions as this is when adaptations to exercise and repair of damaged muscle takes place, making the body stronger.

 Warming Up prepares the body for exercise by raising heart rate gently, raising core body temperature, and increasing blood flow to the muscles. It takes roughly 3 minutes for the body to start adapting to the increased demands of exercise, so rushing off at the start of a run will not help.

Warming Down allows the muscles to return to normal, helps to dispose of lactic acid and aids recovery.

Core strength The body’s core consists of many different muscles that stabilise the spine, pelvis and shoulder. They run the entire length of the torso. A strong core (a) protects against injury and (b) allows the transfer of powerful movements to the arms and legs, which leads to better running.

How to avoid injury:

1. Wear appropriate shoes – preferably after a gait analysis in a running shop.

2. Ensure you warm up and cool down thoroughly before and after training.

3. Increase mileage gradually.

4. Mix road-running with running on grass or softer surfaces, to reduce impact on joints.

Injuries to muscles, joints and tendons can occur if you step up your training distances too sharply. Apply the following (RICE) remedies:

Rest the injury – don’t try to train through it.

Ice – apply or a cold compress for 10-15 minutes, repeating after 2- 3 hours. Try not to apply heat (hot water in the shower or bath) for the first 24 hours.

Compression use some form of compression (eg strapping) to contain any swelling.

Elevate the injured part as much as possible to reduce the swelling.

For runners of all standards