Launceston Ten training | Week three

Launceston Ten training program with personal trainer Kate Pedley

Week Three Top 10 Tips – Hill Running

The Launceston Ten is famous for being a fast flat course, so I hear you asking “Why the hills”?

To increase speed, incorporating hill running into your training program is the best way forward.

Hills will help you build leg strength, speed and make you pay attention to your running form.

 Also – if you are training around Launceston, hills can be hard to avoid, so let’s learn to love hill running and reap the benefits.

1. Run hills to increase your endurance.

When running up a hill, you’ve got to do extra work to overcome gravity. This requires your body to recruit more muscles in your legs to overcome the force of gravity and carry you up the slope.  Spend a few weeks hill training and the next time you go on your regular route, you'll be amazed at how easy it's become. Start by gradually increasing the inclines on your run up every few weeks until even the steepest hills are no match for your swift feet.  Like all training – increase new activities gradually.

2. You'll increase your speed.

Not only is running uphill great for your stamina, but it's also great for building leg muscles, which helps with your speed. But good form is essential – on the way up and the way down. Lean into the hill slightly, but keep your body straight. We tend to roll our shoulders and get stooped running up a hill. This isn’t good for your back and it also prevents you getting a good flow of oxygen into your system, and is often why your breathing becomes more laboured.

3. Avoid injury.

Hills by their nature lessen the risk of injury because the slope shortens the distance you have to "fall" or land, reducing impact. Running constantly on flat ground can make you more susceptible to painful shin splints by putting pressure on your shinbones, but running uphill can alleviate that stress.  Downhill running engages your lower abs and works your quads, but correct form is vital to avoid injury.

Don't lean back. Allow gravity to pull you downhill. Imagine that your body is perpendicular to the hill.  That’s right — lean your whole body forward, and don't break at the waist.

4. Taking “baby steps” when starting uphill running.  

This will help you maintain a good cadence when your lungs are screaming for mercy. It’s like switching to granny gear on a mountain bike.

5. Posture is everything on the uphill.

Don’t lean forward at the waist. Most runners’ natural reaction when they start running up a hill is to lean into it, usually by bending forward at the waist. While it is true that some degree of forward lean is necessary when running up a hill, a lot of people lean much too far forward. To push off the ground and take advantage of the additional energy stored in your calf muscles, you need to fully extend your leg straight behind you, which is achieved most effectively when your upper body is not slanted forward. When you “stand tall” when running up a hill, it makes it easier for your glutes to extend your leg behind you.

6. Look ahead, not at your feet.

This will allow you to pick the best line and free up your airway.  Look ahead to about 50metres in front of you when running up a hill and try not to shift your gaze. Don’t look down as you will restrict your breathing, but you don’t want to look to the very top of the hill either, as that will just make it all look too big and hard.  Chipping away at each 50metres will get you up to the top in sections. If you don’t even want to see 50metres in front, do this, look away to the side and focus on the beautiful Tassie countryside!

7. Don’t over-stride on the downhill.  

Keep your steps small or each landing will put extreme stress on your quadriceps. Lean forward not backward, keeping your whole body perpendicular to the ground.  This will save your quads and allow you to run faster.  Don’t slow your stride, just shorten it. Small strides will get you to each 50metre point more comfortably than big strides.

8. Control your speed on the downhill.

If you need to control your speed cut your stride length and increase your cadence. Like using the low gear in a car.

9. Breathe.

It is important to keep your breathing under control. You are running anaerobic for much of the climbs, but it is important to try and breathe deep and keep it under control.

10. Learn to Love Hills.

It may sound crazy, but if you say you hate hills, then you will hate hills. Embrace the hill challenge and talk yourself up and over it.  All the way up the hill coach and motivate yourself with hill-speak like ‘Nearly at the top’ or ‘It’s not so bad’ and ‘I am going to love going down the other side. Remember to be saying this in your head, so no one looks at you strangely. It’s far better to talk this way, then to keep saying ‘In can’t do it’ or ‘I hate this hill’ or ‘I have to walk’.  You will beat the hill faster by running and not whinging.  And remember, hills are where the best Tasmanian scenery is – so let them take your breath away.      

Launceston Ten Training Program

DISCLAIMER:  Undertaking any of these programs is at your own risk.  Should you have any health care related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified health care provider promptly. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program.

Week Three –  Program One.    Get me to the finish line!

Notes:  This is a walk run program, designed to see you finish the Launceston Ten injury free. Technology has conditioned us to expect results now.  Your body doesn't work that way. Don't try to do more, even if you feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the program too strenuous, just stretch it out. Don't feel pressured to continue faster than you're able. Repeat weeks if needed and move ahead only when you feel you're ready.  Always run easy at a pace comfortable enough for you to chat to your running partner.

Monday5 min walk.  Stretch (see training tips below).  2 sets of 8 minute run and 1 minute walk (try some easy hills!).  Finish with 5 minutes walking cool down.  Stretch.

Tuesday: Cross Training 45 - 60 mins (see cross training notes below).  

Wednesday: 5 min walk.  Stretch (see training tips below).  2 sets of 8 minute run and 1 minute walk.  Finish with 5 minutes walking cool down.  Stretch.

Thursday: Rest Day (training notes below).  

Friday: Cross Training 45 - 60

Saturday: 5 min walk.  Stretch (see training tips below).  2 sets of 8 minute run and 1 minute walk.  Finish with 5 minutes walking cool down.  Stretch.

Sunday: Rest Day (Grab a relaxing massage or a soak in a tub with bath salts)

Week Three – Program 2.  Break The Hour!

Notes:  To break the hour you will need to be running 6 minute kilometres by the end of the nine weeks.  Be sure to achieve this pace slowly in order to finish the Launceston 10 injury free. Technology has conditioned us to expect results now.  Your body doesn't work that way. Don't try to do more, even if you feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the program too strenuous, just stretch it out. Don't feel pressured to continue faster than you're able. Repeat weeks if needed and move ahead only when you feel you're ready.   Always run easy at a pace comfortable enough for you to chat to your running partner.  Effort sessions come later!

Monday: 10 min walk/ jog warm up.  Stretch (see training tips below).  30 - 45 min run at a consistent comfortable pace.   Finish with 5 mins walking cool down.  Stretch.

Tuesday: Cross Training 45 - 60 mins. (see training tips below)

Wednesday: 15 min walk/jog warm up.  Stretch. 5 set of 3 minute 75% effort runs with 90 seconds recovery. Finish with 5 mins walking cool down.  Stretch.

Thursday: Rest day (see training tips below)

Friday: Cross training 45 - 60 mins

Saturday: 10 min walk/jog  warm up.  Stretch.  30 – 45 min run at a consistent comfortable pace.   Finish with 5 mins walking cool down.  Stretch.

Sunday: Rest Day (Grab a relaxing massage or a soak in a tub with bath salts)

Week Three – Program Three.  Go for it! (break 45 mins)

Notes:  This program is only suitable for experienced runners who already have a sound level of running fitness.  To begin, you will need to be able to run sub 4minute kms.  Weights are an excellent cross training choice.   Recovery means stop and walk to allow your heart and muscles to recover before the next effort.

Monday: 20 min warm up.  10 x 1min effort 75% with 1 min recovery. Cool down and stretch

Tuesday: 5 minute warm up. Stretch. 7km run at just out of comfort level.  Strength training. Cool down and stretch

Wednesday: 15 min warm up, hill session (8x1 minute). 15 min cool down and stretch.

Thursday: Cross Training

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: 20 min warm up, 30 min tempo run, cool down and stretch

Sunday: 12 km run at easy pace

Program training tips.  Not matter which program you are following, always apply these training tips:

Cross Train

Cross training refers to other wonderful exercises that become an important part of your program. This includes swimming, bike-riding, hiking, Pilates, Yoga, walking the dog. The beauty of cross training is that it helps increasing your fitness level while giving your running-muscles a break.

Always Warm up and cool down

As our days become cooler, it is vital to warm up and cool down.  Warming up is an excellent way to send your body a clear message that you’re about to become physically active. This way, your heart and legs could adjust properly. To warn up, start with a brisk walk followed by easy running for couple of minutes or so.  Then enjoy a few gentle stretches (never stretch cold muscles) and begin your program.  

When you finish your running, take a few of minutes to cool down by running very slowly and walking in the last minutes of your workout. Finish with a stretch.

Maintaining warm-ups and cool downs greatly helps in reducing muscle pains which, in turn, improves your overall recovery process.

Always Stretch.

Many runners keep seeing the same running injuries popping up, and they are usually avoidable.  Excess tightness in certain running muscles, the glutes especially, leads to the body to move in inefficient patterns, and injuries can often happen as a result of this compensation.  Find one stretch each that you love for your hamstrings, quads, claves, glutes and back.   Never stretch or hold to the point of pain.  Stretches should make your muscles are loose and your body able to function the way it was meant to when you run.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate!

An easy trap to fall into in cool conditions is to forget to hydrate. Even in cold weather we use water to sweat, lubricate joints, tendons, and ligaments, and to carry blood efficiently to major organs. Dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which lowers your body's ability to transfer heat and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for your body to meet aerobic demands.  Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Drink early and often--every day.

Take your rest days seriously.

If you don't take time for proper R&R, your body won't adapt to the stress of your training—you won't get stronger or faster. Neglect recovery, and you will start to lose strength and speed. It is so easy to get carried away with the wonderful feeling of your new fitness – but if you don’t rest you will sink into the awful black hole known as overtraining.

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