Train Smart: The Importance of Individualised Training Plans

Did watching your friends or family compete in the London Marathon inspire you to take part in an event? Or did you run this year and now you’re keen to beat your personal best?

A Strength and Conditioning Coach should be your first port of call in preparation for any new event or goal. This year, our S&C Coaches saw over 50 of their clients run down the Mall in the London Marathon on Sunday, and helping people prepare for such events is a big part of what we do.

Run training structure and review is a key part of the process and we urge runners to seek individual guidance for such a big task. The off the peg’ internet training programmes are, at best, not specific to your fitness levels, injury history and goals, and at worst completely inadequate. 

Your proposed marathon finishing time is just one variable that needs to be considered when training for your race, and if you interviewed runners after the finish and asked them how close they ran to the target time they entered with, you would get a wide range of responses.

Organisation and periodisation of your training week is another key factor where our coaches can help maximize the efficiency of training. We all have busy lives and it can seem daunting to try to accommodate running, strength training and injury prevention work into an already crowded schedule. 

Professional advice, based on your specific lifestyle, can help with those key scheduling decisions to ensure the right sessions are performed on the correct day to maximize effectiveness of training and recovery. The reality remains that most marathon programmes ask for runners to do too many runs per week, and at inappropriate intensities, leading to injury, illness and overtraining.

Our Strength and Conditioning team can review any plan to see if its right for you and, if needed, construct a new plan that will help to achieve your goals, keep you injury free and deal with the inevitable set-backs that can get in the way. Examples of key questions we have answered are below:

  • I missed two weeks of training for a family holiday, at what point do I re-start my running?
  • I picked up a cold recently and missed three scheduled runs — is it okay to jump straight back in to my training plan the week after?
  • I have a history of knee problems – do I still have to run 5 days per week like this plan says to get the same results?

Strength training and gym-based preparation forms a key part of our guidance for future races. There is no time like the rest period between running programmes to establish a base and fix any issues found during the previous training cycle. Making key changes to keep you injury free and building your strength are far more difficult (and time consuming!) when your running volume is high leading up to a race.

Strength & Conditioning work has been shown to optimise your endurance training by improving the efficiency of the musculoskeletal system and more generally condition the body to the demands of training and the race. Strength and power training in particular have been shown to reduce energy cost of each step to maintain form, reduce the demands on the cardiovascular system and reduce the impact of imbalances caused by previous injury.

Make an appointment to see one of the team this Spring and get your preparation for Bournemouth, Berlin, New York, or even London 2020, kicked off in the right way.

An initial assessment will focus on the following areas:

  • Physiological assessment of fitness levels to determine what steps you need to take to succeed (and how realistic that target time is!)
  • Movement and strength assessment, including discussion of previous injury, to determine appropriate focus for training.
  • Injury prevention and performance enhancement programmes to add to your current training régime.
  • Optimal organization of running training to ensure all elements are addressed and adequate recovery is taking place. 
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