Harlow Running Club

Road & Cross Country Running (UKA 2658068)

Club Training Nights

Club training is led by one of our qualified coaches on the following nights:

  • Monday - Coached Swim* - Leisure Zone - 18:00-18:45 or 18:45-19:30
  • Tuesday - Running - Track/Hill Session- Mark Hall - 19:30-20:30
  • Wednesday - Running - Track/Hill Session - Mark Hall - 18:30-19:30
  • Thursday - Running - 5/6 or 7/8 Miles - Mark Hall - 19:00-21:00
  • Saturday - Open Water - Tri Farm/Redricks - (May-Sept) - 08:00-11:00
    • This is informal and arranged by members
  • Saturday - 50 Metre Pool Swim - Olympic Pool** - (Sept-May) - 07:30-10:00                
    • This is informal and arranged by members
  • Sunday - Running - Long Social Run with Cut Offs*** - Mark Hall - 08:30-10:00                            
    • This is informal and arranged by members

*Booked in 16-week blocks & subject to availability, 16-week course fee and LZ membership
** First Saturday of every month & subject to Olympic pool being open to public
*** Subject to races and availability of club members to arrange

The detailed content is sent via email and published on Facebook a day or so before the session.

Qualified Coaches

Qualified Club Coaches and Run Leaders:


  • Paul Schroder-UKA Run Coach & BTF Triathlon Coach
  • Roy Steven – UKA Run Coach
  • Andrew Kitson – UKA Run Coach
  • Carmen Byfield – BTF Triathlon Coach
  • Karen Moir - UKA Run Leader
  • Andrew Terrell - UKA Run Leader
  • Laura Prime – UKA Run Leader
  • Graham Saville - UKA Run Leader
  • Janice Page - UKA Run Leader
  • John Bull - UKA Run Leader
  • Sandi Rust - UKA Run Leader
  • Terry Pike - UKA Run Leader

Marathon Training Plans

With the club draw for marathon training places being on November 19th and many club members already signed up for 2010 marathons, I thought it would be useful to highlight the many training plans there are out there. Here are listed some basic details about the plans to help you identify one that may suit you best in terms in terms of time and amount of running. I have also given examples of club members who have used/adapted these plans for their real marathon training. Within the club we have a plethora of experience and knowledge in training for events from 10K to marathon, so we can all learn a lot by sharing them.

Basic Plans

Runners World Ultimate (16 weeks):

This schedule is very heavy on running. Typically for a 3:45 to 4:30 target time, you are running five times per week and for <3:30 is can be six. To allow for this, the training paces for long/general runs are often slower than most (typically 60-90 seconds slower than target marathon pace) to allow you to be able to handle the quality speed sessions and tempo runs. Long runs do get long in this schedule with the 5 longest being 4 x 20 miles and a 22 miler! There are also 2 x 18 in there for good measure. The tempo runs range from short blasts up to 10-13 mile endurance tempo's at perdicted marathon pace.

Members who have followed this: Jon, Vicky.

Runners World FIRST (16 weeks):

This is a very simple schedule that has you running 3 times per week (1 Long run, 1 tempo and 1 speedwork), but you are also supposed to cross train on 2 other days. This is an easy schedule for the first timer as training paces are all based on 10K times and there is not a lot of running. This is the schedule that the running club tends to adopt during January - April, especially for Tuesday speed sessions.

The FIRST marathon programme includes three running sessions per week: a speed session, a tempo run and a long run. Here’s the full, 16-week marathon training programme. (See "The FIRST paces", below, to find your correct workout paces.) Participants are also encouraged to cross-train for 40 to 45 minutes on two other days.

8 x 400m
3 miles
10 miles
4 x 1200m
5 miles
12 miles

6 x 800m

7 miles
13 miles
3 x 1600m
3 miles
10 miles
10 x 400m
5 miles
14 miles
5 x 1200m
5 miles
15 miles
7 x 800m
8 miles
17 miles
3 x 1600m
10 miles
13 miles
12 x 400m
3 miles
18 miles
8 x 800m
5 miles
15 miles
4 x 1600m
8 miles
12 x 400m
5 miles
15 miles
6 x 1200m
5 miles
20 miles
7 x 800m
4 miles
15 miles
3 x 1600m
8 miles
10 miles
30 minutes easy with 5 x 1 minute fast
20 minutes easy with 3 or 4 pickups

The First Paces

The training paces recommended by the FIRST programme are somewhat faster than those recommended by other training plans. Of course, with just three running days a week, you should be well rested for each workout. Here are the paces you’ll need to run, each expressed relative to your current 10K race pace.

Long run 10K pace + 60 to 75 seconds/mile
Long tempo 10K + 30 to 35 seconds
Mid tempo 10K + 15 to 20 seconds
Short tempo 10K pace
1600m reps 10K - 35 to 40 seconds
1200m reps 10K - 40 to 45 seconds
800m reps 10K - 45 to 50 seconds
400m reps 10K - 55 to 60 seconds

Members who have followed this: Katie, Dionne, Graham.

The Compettitive Runners Handbook:

This book contains detailed marathon plans covering what you should be doing before the schedule starts, 16 week plans aimed at different levels and how to recover afterwards. This book also contains advice/plans for all the other distances as well as general training advice. Well worth buying.

Hal Higdon (18 weeks): Website

This training plan is very endurance based. The novice and intermediate and schedules are typified by the fact there are no tempo runs or speed sessions, only the advanced schedules have speed work. All have you running twice at the weekend and have a reduction in training every forth week. The double weekend run tends to be a general or goal marathon pace run of 5-10 miles on the Saturday followed by a long slow run (typically 45-90 seconds slower than target pace) of 10-20 miles. At the peak of the schedule, you will be running 30 miles over the weekend!

Members who have followed this: None that are known.

Pfitzinger and Douglas 55 miles per week (18 week plan):

This training s plan is HARD as it involves A LOT of milage!  The early phase involves a Tuesday tempo/fartlek of ~8 miles, Wednesday recovery ~4 miles, Thursday 10 mile general run, saturday 5 mile recovery, Sunday ~15 mile long run.  This increases to Tuesday tempo/intervals of 6-10 miles, 5 mile recovery runs (wednesday/Saturday), Thursday race pace run of ~8miles, Sunday long run of up to 20 miles, with some done at race pace for 75% of the distance.

There is a 75 miles per week version that follows the same basic pattern, but the general, tempo and long runs are longer to make up the extra milage. You do a 15 mile long run on week1!


Personal Plans

Jon's Marathon Schedule: (London 2006, Rotterdam 2007, London 2008)

Runners World Schedule but following the faster plan to the one I am targeting. e.g if I wanted a 3:30 marathon, I would follow the 3:15 plan. I adjust their advised paces slightly to those given by the Macmillan site.

The basic format of the 3:30 training is:

  • Monday: 3-4M Recovery run but I sometimes cross train instead. I do some weight training and lots of stretches
  • Tuesday: Speedwork - done at club. We normally follow the FIRST schedule at club. This differs from the session in the RW plan, but does not matter as they are essentially the same interval sessions, but done on different weeks, if you know what I mean.
  • Wednesday: Easy run of 5-12 miles
  • Thursday: Fast tempo of 3-5 miles or a longer endurance tempo of 8-12 miles. We do not usually attend club for this as the club run does not quite fit in to this.
  • Friday: REST
  • Saturday: 4M Recovery run, but sometimes skip it
  • Sunday: Long run done typically at 1-2 minutes per mile slower than target marathon pace. Longest runs are 4 x 20miles and a 22 miler.

This is a lot of running, however the training paces for the Wednesday and Sunday runs are slower than you might expect (30 seconds - 1 min slow for Wednesday, 1 - 2 minutes for Sunday), but if there were not you would not be able to do the speedwork/tempo runs properly or burn out. There is also a scientific reason for running the long runs slowly - you train your body to burn fat. There are RW schdules for 3:45, 4:00, 5:00 etc and are of lower mileage, the training paces go down and there are less numbers of day running (4/5).


Katie, Graham and Dionne's Schedule: (Berlin Marathon 2009)

Runners World First Marathon template.
There are less runs in this than other plans, but these runs are farster than in most other plans (I think)!. There are also two cross training days which should be different from running but not be overally easy. I will put up what i did in the training section when i get home and sorted
To be honest we did not stick to the plan as strict as we possiably should have but did the general gist of it.

Monday - gym (1.30 hr of cardio/ 15 mins weight training/15 mins stretch)
Tuesday - Speed/hill
Wednesday - track training or Gym
Thursday - Long tempo run (though this was usually a recovery run for me)
Friday - Gym
Sat - rest 4 mile walk
Sunday - long run (as Dionne and greyham are faster than me - this was close to being a tempo run!)

Did the trick for me (Katie)- but everyone is different. before i started this i was regularly doing 13+ mile runs everyweekend

Colin's Plan

I had probably been running for about 5 or 6 years before I started on this training schedule, thus having a good fitness and endurance base at the start. However, I had reached a plateau in race times and wished to improve. I have used variations on this schedule most of the time since and have completed a number of marathons in under 3 hours.

If you follow this, you may wish to rearrange the sessions within each week to suit your own arrangements. With advancing years, I have found it takes longer to recover from the hard sessions and thus have sometimes dropped one session in a week (usually the easy one).
You may also wish to fit in some races in the weeks leading up to the marathon, so you will need to rearrange the week to take account of this.
I did not make a note of the source of this schedule, nor can I remember where I found it. I believe that it may have been drawn up by Bruce Tulloh.
Week 1
Monday - 5 miles easy (on grass)
Tuesday - Rest 
Wednesday - 7 miles steady
Thursday - 10 miles slow
Friday  - 7 miles steady
Saturday - 5 miles (0.75 miles fast & 1.5 miles fast) – record times
Sunday - 6 miles easy/steady

eek 2
Monday - 6 miles easy/steady
Tuesday - Rest 
Wednesday  - 6 miles (0.75 miles fast & 1.5 miles fast & 1 mile fast) – record times
Thursday - Rest
Friday  - 12 miles slow
Saturday - 10 miles steady
Sunday - 6 miles easy (on grass)

Week 3
Monday - 6 miles easy/steady
Tuesday - Rest 
Wednesday  - 6 miles (4 miles fast) – record times
Thursday - Rest
Friday  - 12 miles slow
Saturday - 10 miles steady
Sunday - 6 miles easy (on grass)

Week 4
Monday - 8 miles steady
Tuesday - Rest 
Wednesday  - 6 miles (0.75 miles fast & 1.5 miles fast & 1 mile fast) – record times
Thursday - Rest
Friday  - 5 miles easy/steady 
Saturday - 4 miles easy (on grass)
Sunday - 15 miles – record time

Week 5
Monday - 10 miles slow 
Tuesday - 6 miles brisk 
Wednesday  - 6 miles fartlek
Thursday - Rest
Friday  - 14 miles easy/steady 
Saturday - 8 miles (4x1.5 miles fast) – record times
Sunday - 6 miles easy (on grass)

Week 6
Monday - 10 miles slow 
Tuesday - 6 miles fartlek  
Wednesday  - 2 miles easy; 12x150 metres uphill sprints and jogs down; 2 miles easy
Thursday - Rest
Friday  - 8 miles (2 miles easy; 4 miles fast; 2 miles easy)
Saturday - 6 miles easy (on grass)
Sunday - 15 miles – record time

Week 7
Monday - 7 miles easy
Tuesday - Rest   
Wednesday  - 6 miles (6x0.75 miles fast) – record times
Thursday - 10 miles steady
Friday  - 14 miles steady
Saturday - 7 miles fartlek
Sunday - 6 miles easy (on grass)

Week 8
Monday - 10 miles steady
Tuesday        - 2 miles easy; 12x150 metres uphill sprints and jogs down; 2      miles easy 
Wednesday  - Rest
Thursday      - 7 miles (inc. 15 minutes brisk; 10 minutes brisk; 5 minutes brisk,  with 3 minutes recovery jogs)
Friday  - 6 miles steady
Saturday - 18 miles slow – record time
Sunday - 6 miles easy (on grass)

Week 9
Monday - 10 miles steady
Tuesday        - 6 miles slow/fast 
Wednesday  - 6 miles brisk
Thursday      - Rest
Friday  - 14 miles steady
Saturday - 10 miles (4x1.5 miles fast) – record times time
Sunday - 4 miles easy (on grass)

Week 10
Monday - 12 miles steady
Tuesday        - 6 miles easy
Wednesday  - 8 miles (2 miles easy; 4 miles fast – record time; 2 miles easy)
Thursday      - Rest
Friday  - 18 miles steady – record time
Saturday - 6 miles (5 miles fastish, 1 mile easy)
Sunday - 6 miles easy (on grass)

Week 11
Monday - 10 miles steady
Tuesday        - 6 miles easy (on grass)
Wednesday  - 6 miles fartlek 
Thursday      - Rest
Friday  - 4 miles easy 
Saturday - 20 miles fast – record time
Sunday - 4 miles easy (include 8x150 metres fast)

Week 12
Monday - 14 miles steady
Tuesday        - 6 miles easy
Wednesday  - 8 miles slow/fast 
Thursday      - Rest
Friday  - 18 miles steady 
Saturday - 6 miles steady (include 10x200 metres fast)
Sunday - 6 miles easy (on grass)

Week 13
Monday - 14 miles steady
Tuesday        - 7 miles slow/fast 
Wednesday  - Rest
Thursday      - 7 miles steady (include a few sprints)
Friday  - 18 miles steady 
Saturday - 6 miles easy
Sunday - 6 miles (1 mile warm up; 4 miles fastish; 1 mile warm down)

Week 14
Monday - 12 miles steady
Tuesday        - 6 miles steady 
Wednesday  - 10 miles (2 miles slow; 6miles fast; 2 miles slow)
Thursday      - Rest  
Friday  - 7 miles (include 12x200 metres quick on grass) 
Saturday - 14 miles steady 
Sunday - 6 miles easy (on grass)

Week 15
Monday - 7 miles (1 mile warm up; 5 miles fast; 1 mile warm down) 
Tuesday        - 4 miles easy
Wednesday  - 8 miles (1 mile warm up; 6 miles steady; 1 mile warm down) 
Thursday      - Rest  
Friday  - 5 miles easy 
Saturday - 14 miles steady 
Sunday - 4 miles easy (on grass)

Week 16
Monday - 4 miles easy
Tuesday        - 6 miles steady 
Wednesday  - 4 miles (2 miles jog; 1 mile strides; 1 jog) 
Thursday      - 4 miles easy
Friday  - Rest 
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 26 miles fast – record time

Colin Moody

Garmin & HRM Guide

Garmin Forerunners

Undoubtedly the most popular running GPS manufacturer. Be aware that there is a series called the ForeTREX which are more aimed at MTB, sailing, paragliding, hiking or trail running.
There are several different forerunners - from the old 101 through to the latest 305...

Main Features

Stopwatch with splits.
Lap counter.
GPS Speed/Distance recording.
Virtual Partner.
Pre programmed workouts.
Heart Rate Monitor.

This unit is the successor to the 301 which also had built in HRM. The 305's main selling point is that Garmin claim to have used newer technology in the GPS function which has significantly improved not only the time it takes to lock on but also how it maintains a lock especially in built up areas, trees etc.
As a training device it is probably the most effective and useful on the market. A powerful combination of features such as GPS and heart rate monitoring make this product almost a must have for anyone who wants to monitor their training and performance.
The 305 is a great incentive to run when one sees the effects of a more structured approach to training the 305 gives a runner. The heart rate monitor coupled with GPS can be a very useful tool for helping people to improve their base endurance through being able to accurately determine when the level of effort is too high to be of benefit.
DO NOT wear it close to or on the skin because the contacts may short out on your sweat (mine have on three devices so far and I was told the software switches power off to the contacts whilst being worn - IT DOESN'T).
I put a small strip of black electrical insulation tape over mine when I wear it. I also try to wear it over the sleeve of my long sleeved runnig top when I can. The tape so far seems to work wonders. Another potential issue may be that memory gets written to when it should not in cases where there are loads or run and lap data. Solution: upload your data to the PC regularly and wipe the history on the device. I do this every day. you can back up all your data to an XML file which is useful too.
With regard to picking up a signal. If the unit is not TOTALLY still, on a flat non moving surface with the flat aerial bit facing upwards you will have problems locking on and if you keep moving while it is tryig to do the initial lock, chances are it will never lock on properly.
I put mine on the wall outside, THEN switch on and leave it. I have observed that doing this gets a lock in less than a minute. If I have it on my wrist and move at all, then it takes a few minutes but if I move up the road at all, it just won't lock on. This is the same with all FOUR units (305) I have had.
Making_Tracks: I have both a 301 & a 305. I've found that the text on the screen on the 305 is not as easy to read as the 301. I find its almost impossible to read the little box that pops up to tell you what you should be doing next when I'm running to a specific programme. If your eyesight is poor you might want to compare the screens on the 305 & 301 before making a purchase.

They are still deveoping technology and subject to the usual teething troubles but all in all they are a great device. I wouldn't be without mine.
Additional Software

In addition to the good Training Center software provided by Garmin there are a number of excellent other software tools around including:
Motion Based

The Garmin site that you can use with your GPS device:
Link (roll over me to see where I go)

This software is also excellent and it's FREE! You can view your route on GoogeEarth style maps too!
Link (roll over me to see where I go)
Additional Software
I purchase training programmes from this website. The programnes are written by Hal Higdon and Matt Fitzgerald. The Fitzgerald training plans upload automatically to your Garmin. This saves a lot of typing into the Training Centre Software that comes with the Garmin.
Matt Fitzgerald has also published some training zones information on this site. I find these really useful in ensuring I'm training at the right pace.
Link (roll over me to see where I go)

Link (roll over me to see where I go) - Hollywood - If you want to connect a USB-based Garmin to your Fetch log or to Gmap-pedometer then you can use my Internet Explorer toolbar.
Timex Speed And Distance Monitors

Timex SDMs were among the first on the market.
They use a separate Timex Ironman style watch and a GPS arm pod made by Garmin.
The arm pod uses AAA batteries which last about 10 hours of active use (in my experience) - but also (annoyingly) drain down while the arm pod is turned off.
The watch uses a normal watch battery which seems to last around 12 months.
Depending on which version you buy, you get either 50 or 100 lap capability on the watch and you may get a Heart Rate Monitor too.
There is also an extra data logger you can buy which allows you to collect data for later transfer to the PC.
The beauty of the Timex system is that you can wear the watch and use it as a really good sports watch without the GPS.
However, the screen and functionality provided by the Timex is not as good as the Garmin - e.g. there are no extra functions like the AutoLap recording, the Virtual Training partner, the workout schedules, etc.
Timex SDM's seem to go very cheap on the web - for as cheap as 30 pounds secondhand on ebay.
Hollywood says: I had an early Timex SDM and loved it. It helped me through some long marathon training runs. However, since I moved up to a Garmin 301 I would never ever ever go back.
Oregon Scientific Speed And Distance Monitors

I believe the Oregon Scientific range are actually doubles of the Timex ones - they use the same electronics (the same watch innards from Timex and the same arm pod from Garmin) - the only difference is they are cheaper!
Polar Speed And Distance Monitors

The Polar WIND sensor which ships with, among others, the RS800SD is reputed to be more accurate than a GPS in some sircumstances, and has the rather more obvious advantages of instant start up, working indoors and on treadmills, and so on.
It appears that a footpod correctly calibrated on one pair of shoes may not be accurate on another, however.
The following may be helpful, as they are the callibrations used by GreP (1.7m tall, 71kg):
Suacony ProGrid Trigon Guide: 0.956
Brooks Vapor: 0.935

The new Casio GPS watches are tiny.
They are the smallest on the market.
They look snazzy.
BUT they only have 2 hour battery life, they are expensive and I'm not sure they are in the shops yet.
Nokia Sportstracker

Provided as a free download for GPS enabled (or Bluetooth GPS connected) Nokia S60 phones including the N-Series, E-Series and many others (see
Link (roll over me to see where I go)).
Route based running
Auto lapping based on 1/2K, 1K, 1/2 mile, mile or route depending on measurement unit selected
Basic map background (more promised)
Realtime route sharing via the Sportstracker website
Bluetooth heart rate monitor by Polar included in the N79 Active package (Hopefully this will be available by itself)
All this combined with a phone so that if the worst happens you can at least phone for help.
Battery life especially with Bluetooth connected devices (although it tracked my 3:35 Marathon with power to spare using the internal GPS)
Occasionally crashes for no obvious reason with no way of continuing the failed track

Heart Rate Training

First of all I will attempt to explain the basic steps in order to employ heart rate monitor trainingFind your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
Several methods exist for this probably the most effective is to use the hill running technique as described below:

1. Warm up by jogging / gently running for 1 - 2 miles or 10 to 20 minutes.
2. Find a steep hill of at least 120 metres.
3. Run up the hill hard, note heart rate near top.
4. repeat step 3 four to six times.
5. take the highest heart rate reading which you should see at the end of your last repeat. Use this as your Maximum Heart Rate.
6. Remember when you take the reading near the top of the hill you should be pushing VERY hard and you should note the HIGHEST reading you see.


Find your Resting Heart Rate (RHR)

Probably the best method is to keep your heart rate monitor and strap in a handy position by the bed. First thing in the morning when you awake, put the strap on and check your heart rate (wet the strap with electrode gel or saliva). Take the average of three mornings to get the best result. Some people find that they see a lower RHR later in the day after a period of relaxation. Make sure you monitor this every few weeks. An elevated reading can be a good indicator of the onset of illness or over tiredness and can be a good way of knowing when to either go easy on your training or even refrain from running until you recover.

Work out your "Recovery Ceiling" beats per minute. In the Parker book the Recovery Ceiling is defined as seventy percent or below of the Working Heart Rate (WHR). Use the formula below substituting the values for your MAXHR and Resting HR as appropriate.

Recovery Ceiling WHR = (MHR-RHR)x0.70+RHR

Example: 185 Max HR, 47 Resting HR

Recovery Ceiling BPM = (185-47)x0.70 + 47 = 143.6BPM


Work out your "Lactate Threshold" beats per minute

In the Parker book the Lactate Threshold is defined as eighty five percent or or above of the working heart rate. Use the formula below substituting the values for your MAXHR and Resting HR as appropriate.

Lactate Threshold WHR = (MHR-RHR)x0.85+RHR

Example: 185 Max HR, 47 Resting HR

Lactate Threshold BPM = (185-47)x0.85 + 47 = 164.3.6BPM


Start training

From personal experience I would advise anyone embarking on heart rate monitor training to run their first two to three weeks as easy runs just to get used to running slowly and help to start building a good base. The more experienced athletes out there may think this is odd but it will work and it takes patience. To start with the pace will feel laughably slow and far to easy. Be prepared to have to walk up some hills to keep the heart rate low enough. Aim to keep the heart rate within a few beats of recovery ceiling for the whole run or at very least 90 odd percent of it. Those having trouble keeping the heart rate THAT low may benefit from training at 5 to 8 BPM higher than the calculations for the first few weeks. If you get really fed up with it, go for a nice fast run. Just make sure that you do a nice recovery ceiling run for every hard session you do. It will take probably three months to start working but eventually you will be able to run a reasonable pace still at the recovery ceiling heart rate. The book explains how this happens and exactly what happens to your physiology far more competently than I can. For hard sessions you should aim to push the heart rate up to AT LEAST the lactate threshold or higher after a sensible warm up of course and cool down after.

A new edition of the Parker book is available so easy to buy now.


The first step in a successful training programme, for new riders and serious athletes alike, is to build a foundation of aerobic fitness. From this base, you can vary training intensity, incorporating occasional anaerobic training sessions to bring your body to peak fitness levels. The Spinning Energy Zones were designed to catergorise training sessions by intensity and mental training characteristics, enabling us to coach you to realize a broad range of fitness benefits.
The body uses different fuels at different levels of exertion. In general, training at low heart rates causes most participants to utilise mostly fat for fuel. At high heart rates, more carbohydrates are used. With consistent training, your heart becomes stronger and pumps more blood and ultimately your work output in the various heart rate zones improves. This is one reason we strongly encourage training in all the Energy Zones.
The Spinning programme incorporates five Energy Zones with recommended heart rate ranges. Below you’ll find a description of each one and if you do require any further information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Exercise Intensity: 50 – 65% of maximum heart rate. (5-10% of your training should be Recovery based)

Recovery sessions are an important component of any fitness programme. Unfortunately, they are often the least practiced training day. This is by far the most difficult training day for most people. We all know how to push, but few know how to rest. The Recovery training session should focus the mind, and most importantly, circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body.
The main objective of a Recovery ride is to make the body feel like it has been gently massaged and is vibrating with gathered energy. Unlike the other Energy Zone rides there are no hills and no jumps. Only light resistance is used. Hills and jumps detract from the recovery process by fatiguing the muscle fibers and depleting the body of oxygen.
Work in the Recovery Zone should consist of breathing exercises, visulisation and energy accumulation. If the standing position is used in a Recovery ride, it must be with light resistance, with no burning in the muscle. It is important to stay between 50-65% of your maximum heart rate.
If you feel any burn or go above 65%, you should decrease resistance and/or sit down and roll your legs easily until your heart rate returns to appropriate levels.
When applying resistance to the flywheel, make sure it is in very small increments to protect against a sharp increase in pulse rate or muscle burn. In a Recovery ride, everything is eased into. Treat this ride like a meditation on the bike where you work on balance, breathing, centering the psyche and rejuvenating the body.
Exercise Intensity: 65 – 75% of maximum heart rate. (70% of all your training should be Endurance based).

An Endurance training session trains the body to be more efficient at metabolising fat and to maintain a comfortable pace for extended periods. The emphasis in this ride is on finding a comfortable heart rate and pedaling style that can be maintained for hours. It is recommended that you remain in the saddle during the Endurance ride to increase pedaling efficiency and improve hip flexor strength. Increasing aerobic capacity through Endurance sessions helps the rider maintain a steady pace and resist fatigue for longer durations.
Energy output much be significant enough to raise heart rates into the Endurance Zone – 65-75% of your maximum heart rate. During an Endurance ride, you should strive to stay within five beats of your chosen heart rate for the entire training session. This is NOT a ride where heart rate is varied throughout the Energy Zone. Pick a number, stay in the saddle and establish a smooth, steady rhythm for the entire ride.
Endurance training sessions challenge the body physically and mentally as you adapt to holding a steady position and steady heart rate for extended periods. This improves the mental discipline as well as aerobic efficiency. You can stand occasionally to stretch tour legs, but heart rate should remain constant and you should not stand for more than 30 seconds.
Performance is maximized when a rider achieves an even application of energy over the duration of the exercise. This is where the heart rate monitor becomes a valuable toll. Due to changes in fatigue levels and perceived exertion over the course of the training session, the only way to ensure that effort is applied evenly is by maintaining a constant heart rate.
Exercise Intensity: 75 - 85% of maximum heart rate. (5 – 10% of your training should be Strength based)
The Strength training session involves steady, consistent pedaling with heavy resistance. Strength rides promote muscular and cardiovascular development that will enable you to feel like a strong and powerful climber. This training session may be conducted in a seated or standing climbing position. The heavy resistance will cause lactic acid to accumulate in the muscles. Followed by adequate rest, fatigued muscles will respond by becoming stronger and more capable of handling challenging climbs.
The heart rate range of the Strength Energy Zone straddles the region where the body switches from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism. Thus, you can choose to conduct this training session in the lower range of the zone and remain entirely aerobic or extend your efforts into the higher range to introduce anaerobic metabolism.
The goal of training in the Strength Energy Zone is to build the cardiovascular strength to handle a slightly uncomfortable pace. This can be accomplished throughout the heart rate range. Working at the upper limits will also develop the ability to buffer lactate that begins to accumulate in muscles at that intensity. Keeping the heart rate under 80% of maximum in the Strength training session will develop strength and derive maximum aerobic benefits with minimal anaerobic stimulation.
Recovery from this session is critical. Because we place increased resistance on the muscles during Strength rides, you may experience muscle soreness, necessitating a Recovery ride or complete rest the following day.
A Strength training session develops mental as well as physical strength. You will develop the ability to remain relaxed and focused as you adapt to increasing resistance and fatiguing muscles. Strength rides help you learn to turn adversity (hills) into opportunity. By learning to mentally overcome obstacles, you will develop improved self-confidence in all areas of your life.
Exercise Intensity: 65 – 92% of maximum heart rate (5-10% of your training should be Interval based)
Interval (formerly known as All Terrain) training sessions emphasise speed, tempo, timing and rhythm. Movements may include high RPM (but never above 110) pedaling on the flats, acceleration drills and recovery stretches.
The goal of training in the Interval Energy Zone is to develop the ability to recover quickly after work efforts, an exercise that can be done in several heart rate ranges, depending on your fitness levels.
While the typical Interval ride involves anaerobic heart rates, we can also conduct aerobic intervals. Aerobic intervals range from 65% of max heart rate (recovery period) to 80% (work efforts). Anaerobic intervals range from 65% (recovery period) up to as high as 92% (work efforts).
While you can subjectively judge fitness improvement by monitoring perceived exertion during a challenging Interval session, riders can also perform a Working Recovery Heart Rate test to get an accurate measurement of fitness improvement. For the Working Recovery Heart Rate test and to ensure that your work and rest intervals are conducted appropriately, it is highly recommended that all riders utilize heart rate monitors during Interval sessions.
A helpful guideline to use for proper recovery between hard efforts is to attain your Working Recovery Heart Rate (usually 65% of your maximum heart rate). You can mix up the type of movements on the work efforts – seated or standing climbs, high cadence or high resistance efforts on the flats.
If, after several work efforts, your heart rate does not drop to working recovery in the usual amount of time, no further intervals should be conducted. This indicates maximum training benefits have been achieved and further work increases risk of overtraining.
Training in the Interval Energy Zone develops your mental ability to use breathing and visualization techniques to assist in quick recovery from work efforts.
Exercise intensity: 80-92% of maximum heart rate. (5–10% of your training should be Race Day based)
The Spinning Race Day Energy Zone ride was created to give you an opportunity to measure the progress of your fitness gained from training in the other four Energy Zones. A Race Day ride simulates a “time trial” – an all-out solo effort against the clock.
Race Day is a special event. To obtain full benefits from this training session, it should be treated like a real race. If you are less than 100% physically energized and mentally rested, you should postpone your Race Day ride until your body is ready for peak performance. Top athletes will not race if their bodies are not in top form – neither should you. Ample recovery should always be taken after a Race Day ride to properly absorb the fitness benefits.
Unlike Interval training sessions, where work efforts are broken by consistent rest periods, a Race Day ride is carried out at a steady heart rate consistent with your anaerobic threshold. This means there are no jumps, no standing flats and no significant fluctuations in pace during the ride. Anaerobic threshold (or “AT”) heart rates can be determined by scientific testing or by noticing heart rates that can be maintained for the duration of the time trial.
AT is often described as “red-line” – going any faster would cause the rider to “blow up” and be unable to complete the distance. AT heart rate usually falls between 85-92% of your maximum heart rate. Carefully conducted anaerobic threshold Race Day rides will effectively raise a rider’s AT (the pace one can hold as AT increases).
A Race Day ride is about “laying it on the line.” By welcoming physical challenge and striving for peak performance, you’ll experience increased self-confidence, greater satisfaction with exercise and an improved ability to set and achieve goals.
Race Day training sessions require a substantial fitness base and should NEVER be conducted until successfully completing at least two months of aerobic base building.

Gym & Weight Training

Why go to the gym at all?
If you're a runner, why do you need to visit the gym at all? Surely the open road, the raw outdoors, are part of the attraction of running. However, the gym can be a useful place to visit. It never rains in the gym. The gym isn't full of the general public wondering why you're trying to get past them. There are no cars driving too fast past you in the gym.
Many runners use the gym for their speed sessions. On a treadmill, you can set your distance, speed, time, incline, and they are measured accurately. If you're suffering from an injury or a niggle, cross training in the gym might be just the thing to help you keep up fitness while avoiding the strain of running on the open road. Or sometimes it just makes a change.
What equipment will you find in a gym?
In my gym there are numerous machines for cardio-vascular training.
-Elliptical cross-trainer
-Exercise bike
-Rowing machine
-Step Machine
Then there are scary looking weight machines.
It's important that you don't use machines wrongly, you might injure yourself, so ASK! The gym will have a personal trainer who can advise you on what training you should do to achieve your goals.
What sort of weight training should you do?
From my decade spent posing in the gym before I discovered running,these are the excercises I would still do to aid my running. The gym staff are there to work (sometimes contrary to appearances) so before using any equipment ask them to demonstrate how to set it up safely and how to use it without causing yourself injury :-
Legs - do not do any major thigh work (heavy squats,leg presses) as these will only increase the bulk of your thigh muscles and tighten your hamstrings. Useful for a sprinter, useless for the rest of us. Ladies who wish to tighten their posteriors may well benefit from doing some light squats, either while holding light dumbells or using smaller weights on a Smith machine.
You can increase calf strength and possibly help prevent shin splints (though I'm not promoting a miracle cure) by doing toe-raises, either on a leg press or preferably on a "sled" type machine. This beast looks like a seat with handles and a stack of weights next to it. Start with a light weight and sit up straight on the seat, placing your feet shoulder width apart on the board in front of you. Now shuffle your feet down the board so that only your toes are on the board (as if you were preparing for a high dive). Press your toes down and you will move backwards and feel the stretch ,then press your heel down to release. Do a few sets of 8 - 12 reps depending how heavy you go.
Abs and core trunk - all the old faves like crunches , sit ups and Swiss ball work will help with posture and so will help with running technique.
Pecs - mine bounce all over the place when I run. Building a large chest doesn't help when distance running!
Lats - I've found that the arm action while running emphasises my lat size after a run. If you do want to increase lat size (the large muscles on either side of your spine when looking at your back) and consequently make your waist look smaller, the absolute best way is to do chin-ups on a high bar. Just hang from the bar and pull yourself up as many times as you can before you fall off. If you can't do these, then there are lat pulldown machines which enable you to do the same excercise while pulling less than your own bodyweight.
Arms - I can't see any benefit to runners in having huge biceps/triceps. If you do want an increase in size, you can't beat preacher bench curls for biceps and good old parallel bar dips for triceps.Try doing dips while wearing a weighted belt if you really want to know what pain feels like. Ask the gym staff!
Shoulders - if you get stiff shoulders while running they may benefit from some light training. Use a pair of light dumbells and do a giant set of side raises / front raises / overhead presses / shrugs. This will work all of the shoulder muscles without building bulk. Before I run I always warm up my rotator cuffs to prevent stiffness, I did the same routine before shoulder work in the gym. I'll try and explain
Excercise 1 = Stand with your arms bent at 90 degrees / press your elbows against your sides so that you look like Peter Crouch at the start of his robot dance / open you arms out one at a time / you should feel the stretch at the front of your shoulder / do 10 per arm.
Excercise 2 = Stand with your arms above your head / bend your elbow to 90 degess as if you're doing the "Y" from the YMCA dance (you may need to ask your mum depending on your age !) with your palms facing forwards / keeping arms at 90 degrees rotate your shoulders forwards so that your palms face the floor and then face behind you / then rotate your shoulder back up to the starting position.
Which machines should you use?
If you want to do heavy work (bench presses / squats) and don't have a training partner to spot for you look for the Smith machine which enables you to push more weight more safely.
Using correct form is more important than how much weight you use. Free weights (dumbells / barbells) rather than machines promote good form and build your core muscles. Don't be afraid of the free weights - ask how to use them. There are a multitude of excercises you can do with a barbell and a pair of dumbells.
***edit by prop forward***
the above paragraph is a contridiction, I totally agree that correct form is more important than adding extra weight, however, if this is the case NEVER EVER EVER use a smith machine, it forces you to lift in a completely un-natural, fixed plane of movement and does not allow for good form. Use free weights at a sensible level and you will benefit immensely
Example sessions:
Some gyms run classes which can help with stamina, or as substitute exercise if you are injured - spinning classes (indoor cycling) can be very useful if you can't run for some reason, but are able to ride a bike. These are usually about 30-40 mins of varied 'cycling', some 'uphill' (high resistance) and some lower resistance sprinting - or 'spinning.' These have proved invaluable to me when injury prevented me running. Half an hour of this will burn about 300 calories, and improves your cycling fitness as well!
Non-cardiovascular sessions are good too, such as pilates, yoga, Swiss ball and Body Balance as they can help improve all round strength and flexibility. This is important for maintaining a good posture and will help prevent injuries. They also give you some alternative stretches that you can do after running - useful if you are getting bored with the usual stretches or fancy something different.

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