With only four weeks left until the Great South Run, signing up now may seem a little daunting, but the 4-week training plan below will ensure you’re race ready for the Sunday 21st October.
Being part of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust team means that every step you take on the day will benefit a young person in recovery from cancer, and that will be the one thing that will stop you giving up… even if it gets a bit hard towards the end and you have to walk a bit!
SIGN UP HERE & FOLLOW JO-JO FROM LOVE RUNNING’S 4-WEEK PLAN
This plan is aimed at helping recreational runners who normally only do 3-4 miles cope with 10 on the day, but if you can run further than this already just use the plan as a rough guide and increase your “Long Run” distances by 2 miles for the first 2 weeks and then do just 6-7 miles on Sunday 14th to avoid over-exertion.
WEEK 1 (starting NOW!)
You need to get out at least every other day (3-4 times) this week and do at least 3 miles each time.
Ideally two-weekday runs should be at “conversation pace” – which means that you are doing a comfortable, steady pace but still have enough breath and energy to chat whilst running.
One run should be either a brisk paced run, or a hilly run where you really make an effort to run the uphill sections. Hill sprints are also very good – do a gentle mile to warm up and then approach a hill at a nice steady pace. Once you are on the hill push hard for around 10 seconds (brisk steps, powerful arms) and then slow down to a jog to get your breath back until you can manage another rep. Either that or run slowly back DOWN the hill to recover, before doing it again! Repeat as many times as you feel able and then do another gentle mile to finish.
One run every week (for most of us this takes place on Sundays) should be your “Long Run”. If you have never run more than 3 or 4 miles you should make your long run this week at least 5 miles. The way to approach a long run is to rein back the speed. It is about comfort, sustainability, endurance and technique, not speed, PBs and pushing your heart-rate! Plan a route (preferable a road-based route to mimic what you will be doing at the GSR), set off slowly and make sure your posture is comfortable. Keep your head up, shoulders back and relaxed, and bottom and hips in (think “BOBI”; Boobs Out Bottom In!). I would advise running mid-morning to mimic the GSR, as this will help you to get your food intake right on the day (remember to keep a 2-hour window between breakfast and running to avoid stitch, nausea and discomfort). Keep a light, even pace, enjoy the scenery, chat if you have company, and let nature work its magic. If you have to walk for a moment don’t fret about it – do what you have to do to cover the distance.
Don’t worry if you ache the following day – this shows that you have achieved something! It will wear off, and don’t let it stop you doing the gentle recovery run (even if you have to cut it back to 2 miles) within a day or so.
WEEK 2: 1st – 6th October
Follow the same pattern this week. Your first run of the week should be a gentle “recovery” run or 2-3 miles, and then slot in a faster one and/or a hilly one. If you can manage another “conversation-pace” run in the week, try going for 3-4 miles this time.
For your Long Run this week plan at least a 6-mile route and apply exactly the same criteria; slow pace, good posture and just cover the distance – even if you have to walk for a moment here and there.
If you plan to use any energy products on race day I would advise practising with them this week. Take your energy product at around mile 4 if using, as this gives it a chance to digest whilst you are still running, and gives you practice in how to eat it on the run! You can also find out if it is compatible with your tummy (see note).
WEEK 3: 7th 14th October
Follow the same pattern this week. Your first run should be a gentle “recovery” run, and then slot in a faster one and/or a hilly one. If you can manage a second “conversation-pace” run in the week, do 4-4.5 miles.
For your Long Run this week plan at least a 7-mile route and apply exactly the same criteria as previously; a nice even pace, good posture and set out to cover the distance – even if you have to walk for a moment here and there.
Take your energy product (if using) at around mile 4-5, and use today as a chance to test out the kit you will be wearing next week (socks, sports bra and underwear particularly). Chafing, discomfort, blisters and annoyances (such as waistbands that don’t stay in place, bra straps that keep slipping and socks that ride down inside shoes) could ruin your race, so iron out all these possibilities before the day.
WEEK 4: 15th – 21st October
This week you are – you can proudly tell everyone – “tapering”. This is a term given to the slowing down of training prior to a race to enable your body to be fit, recovered, energised and raring to go on race day! You also need to eat and drink sensibly and regularly this week, and try to cut back on alcohol and caffeinated drinks as these are dehydrating.
Still do your “recovery run” of around 3 miles at the start of the week, and still do the mid-week runs of 3-4 miles, but don’t hurt yourself or push too hard. No hill sprints this week!
If you are a parkrunner, feel free to still do parkrun on Saturday 20th but take it easy…. treat it as a gentle loosener and a way to keep your muscles warm and fit, and nothing more. If you don’t do parkrun consider a GENTLE 2-3 miler on the Saturday anyway.
RACE DAY! I won’t lie to you, running 10 miles when the most you’ve managed in training is 7 is not going to be a picnic, but with all the awesome support all the way round, the amazing crowds, the Trust support team, thousands of other runners around you AND your race day adrenaline, you WILL finish, and once you have that medal round your neck you will be smiling for the rest of the day!
Come back to the charity village for well earned treats afterwards, and wear that medal with pride!
Get in touch if you want to chat things through with us: email@example.com