Over the last 2.5 years I have made the transition from track running and competing for GB at the Olympics, Commonwealth, World and European Championships to taking up a completely new sport – triathlon.
The Olympic triathlon lasts two hours with a grueling 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. I’m an experienced 10km runner and my top training and racing tips for anyone wanting to tackle a 10km are:
1. Variation in training
For a 10km you really need great aerobic base fitness. I run 5-6 times per week. Monday and Thursday, I usually cover race distance at a steady pace. Sunday is my long run day covering 10-12 miles and Tuesday and Saturday are session days, where the intensity of running is much higher, closer to race pace. I also like to mix up the terrain I train on and Leeds has lots on offer with plenty of hilly, off road, flat and soft ground areas.
2. Stay on the track
Why would you need speed if you’re running 10km? I do interval training twice a week, one on the track and the other on the road. It is important to run at a faster pace than what you would be doing race day. I also like to stay on the track year-round because I find this reduces my risk of getting injured. This is because it doesn’t come as a shock to me when I start doing track training in season. A typical track workout for me would be 3x (1200m 3mins rec, 800m 90s recovery) This would be set around the pace I would run in a race.
3. Be aware of the benefits of cross training
When I competed solely on the track I would run much further every week than I am now. All the extra miles have been replaced in the pool and on the bike. A huge benefit of this is that swimming and cycling are low level impact which allows you to train for longer without the worry of injury. If you’re injured, you can’t train, and you lose the consistency in your training. It also means I am much fresher when it comes to doing my quality sessions, so I am able to really push myself to get the best out of my interval work.
4. Rest and recovery
These are really just as important as all the hours of training you do because if you aren’t getting the proper recovery you won’t be able to get that PB performance. I sleep for 8 hours a night, topped up with 60-90-minute nap during the day. I also use the Science in Sport Rego Rapid Recovery for post sessions or any workout longer than 1 hour. It is also so important to stay hydrated in-between sessions and I find the Science in Sport Electrolyte tablets ideal for on the go!
5. Set yourself goals
I like to have goals and ambitions to aim for. I highly recommend setting out a training schedule with what you want to achieve and how to get there. I use this strategy for races too. For example, I will break the 10km down into sections and at each point check in with myself to make sure I’m on track.