First Things First

FirstthingsMost runners at some point or other want to run a little faster. Whether it is a sub 5 hour marathon or sub 90 min half-marathon, we all (well most) want to push the limits at least once.

What I find tends to happen when this need for speed arises, is runners immediately start thinking track workouts, HIIT, hills till you drop, puke or go home – the thought process being, the closer I come to death, the faster i am going run. (or the faster you are going to end up over-trained or injured?)

Now any seasoned runner will proudly share details of many grueling, eye popping workouts that made them faster, but before hurtling headlong down that road, which without the basics is likely to dead end at the physios, make sure you are taking care of FIRST THINGS FIRST:


Some questions to tick before adding high intensity training –

  • Are you regularly running regularly?

To improve your running, you want to be doing at least 4 runs a week, every week .

  • Are you running long?

Once running regularly, doing a run of 1 hour or longer once a week is your next step towards being a stronger, faster runner. Get the lowdown here.

  • How efficient is your running technique?

Getting some basic tips from a coach on how to use less effort with every step will not only help you run faster, but also reduce injury risk and make running overall more enjoyable.

  • How mobile are you?

A stuck body is going nowhere slowly and is also at high risk of injury, which means training interrupt. Move free.

  • Are you getting out of your comfort zone (sometimes)?

Before doing complicated interval workouts, first challenge yourself by upping the pace on sections of your regular runs, or run different challenging routes and distances.

If you ticked all of the above then you are ready to Pass Go, but watch out for these common mistakes:

  • Hard training that is not specific to your running goal

With the high intensity fitness industry boom, there are many fancy programs promising great rewards. Even running magazines are full of great get fast routines. The question you need to ask is, “How is the session preparing my body for the specific physical demands of my running goal?”

  • Doing too much too soon

Suddenly putting a very big load on your body that you are not conditioned for, is counter productive. You will do all that hard work only to loose it when you are sidelined with injury or illness.

  • Not allowing enough time for recovery

Hammering your body hard day in and day out is the equivalent of driving at high speed in reverse. See The Principle of Overload

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

Coach Kathleen


About Coach Kathleen

Coaching since 2004, I have coached both young and old athletes from those achieving provincial and national medals in track, biathlon and cross country to runners running their first ever half marathon or marathon. I am a specialist in youth coaching and my coaching philosophy is to not only help each athlete achieve their best with their athletic talent but to guide each athlete in developing character and transforming their lives beyond the track. As an athlete I have competed at high levels across all the running disciplines, track, road, cross country and trail running as well as internationally in triathlon. I have a personal best of 2 hours 45 min for the marathon and have twice been part of the winning ladies team in the AfricanX trail race. Qualifications IAAF Athletics Lecturer Level 3 Distance Running Coach SAQ Fundamental Movement Certificate Personal Running Performances
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.