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The short answer is quality training and patience. You're body will improve in it's own time...you can't rush it, or you will risk injury.

I've said it before on other threads, and I'll say it again...I use the hills.

I tried speed work for a good 18 months a few years ago. I would do good quality speed work and fartlek once or twice a week. The speed work entailed 8 to 10 x 800 mtr up 1 mile splits of 6 to 7 min mile pace (my average normal running pace was 9 min/miles back then). It was hard work but I stuck with it.

But to my dismay in races my speed didn't improve at all!

Then I discovered the benefits of hills.... and have never looked back.

I ditched the speed work (which I hated anyway) and replaced it with specific hill training. Now, that doesn't mean running a route with some hills in it, it means finding a good hill of about 200 to 400 metres, running hard up and jogging down. Do that as many times as you can, I think when I started hill training I was doing 4 or 5 reps and got up to 10.

The first year of my new hill training regime I got a 10k PB by 5 minutes, a half marathon PB by about 6 minutes and a marathon PB by over 10 minutes. I continued to improve and can now regularly run 6.30 to 7 min miles in races. And to think that that was my speed training pace...and it used to hurt!

I'm quite glad that I don't do speed training now, I dread to think what pace I would have to try :eek:
 

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Trin's comments seem to make sense. For the last few months I've been incorporating one speed session and one hills session midweek, with a general improvement, but I feel as if the hill sessions are of more benefit. Might now try dropping the speed session for an extra hills session.
 

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I'm getting to the stage where I think speed work isn't for me either....in fact fizz suggeseted that my never ending, ongoing right hip and groin problems may be down to speed work....or at least exacerbated by speed sessions.
 

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Hi Rob, Personally I have found intervals work really well in the past. They make longer runs at pace feel much more comfortable. I would ease yourself in though, especially if you are nursing an old injury. I wouldn't do any more than one session a week to start with.

A good session is:

2 x 800m at 5k pace.
3 x 800m at 10k pace.
3200m at 10k pace.
with 2-3 minute recoveries between all.

There's an excellent race predictor calculator at the following site if you're not sure what time you're aiming for:

http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/rununiv/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm

Good luck!
 

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LazyJones said:
There's an excellent race predictor calculator at the following site if you're not sure what time you're aiming for:
http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/rununiv/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm Good luck!
Good site that, LazyJones - not that I could afford that amount of money to be coached, but useful information can be gleaned from it.
It might be a good idea if Runners Forum had a 'Links' section to other running related organisations like that one. Hal Higdon's site is another that's often mentioned with regard to training programmes. Once the 'Links' section has been introduced Forum members could submit their personal favourites and preferences for the benefit of us all. Are you listening Dan?
Cheers!
 

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I don't think I'd pay for personal coaching either! The Six-step training article on this site is excellent for understanding how to devise a balanced training plan though.
 

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Either fartlek or hill work are good options. Beter pace is as much mental as physical for me....fartlek and hill work make you run out of your comfort zone....it's the belief that you can maintain a fater pace that is important and that your not going to collapse after 1/2 mile of 6 or 5 min mile pace...your body will cope IF you've got your head right!
 

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Ive been told to do hill work but am a bit nervous doing it on my own, ive asked my old running partner to see if she fancies it. Ive been tempted to take off up the hill when i do my run but ive not plucked up the courage yet. When i say take off i'll probably be walking or crawling ha!
 

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I try and maintain the same foot fall rate but just shorten the stride so i dont feel like im slowing too much...and use your arms....
 

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I actually did some hill work last night, to say I enjoyed it would be a lie but I felt like it was a very good workout, come the end I felt like my legs were moving but I was going nowhere. :d
 

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4minutemiler said:
sounds familiar ... i find the hardest part picking up my pace again at the top
Yep - found that difficult as well, worse part for me was a pain in the lower back, easing today but really sore last night.
 

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Granty...if you persevere I promise you will notice a difference in your speed, especially in races ;)

Wait until your back feels ok again and then you might want to try some back strengthening exercises.
The easiest one is to lie on your front, rest your hands behind your back and lift your torso from the waist. Do as many lift and lower reps as you feel is comfortable, but over time increase the amount you do. Don't strain your back though...build the strength gradually.
 

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Thanks for the tip Trin, I will be strengthening tonight for sure, must admit I did feel like I had had a 'proper' workout last night, a few of us did it, whereas our recent runs had become a bit of ' the same old' and it was nice to try something different.

Looking forward to my 1st sub 2hr Half Marathon :d
 

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Trinity said:
The easiest one is to lie on your front, rest your hands behind your back and lift your torso from the waist. Do as many lift and lower reps as you feel is comfortable, but over time increase the amount you do. Don't strain your back though...build the strength gradually.
Being a python these should be easy Granty! :d
 

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Back pain can be a nightmare...a freind of mine did his first half m 6 months ago and his back hasnt been the same since...i dread something like that happening.
 

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Although back pain can be avoided. It's quite often due to weak back muscles or an imbalance between the back muscles and the abdominals. So strengthening the back muscles and maintaining a balanced upper body strength will help you to avoid any back problems
 
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