Help and advice welcomed

I've been running seriously since March this year (although I have run on and off over the years since school), and joined the local running club in May. I train with them twice a week, usually about 4-5 miles at a steady pace, and try and fit in another shorter session with a friend at the weekends. I did a 10km race in July and really enjoyed it, finishing in 63 minutes, so I felt confident enough to enter a local cross-country race today - 7km. I didn't think I was complacent, but thought I could get round in reasonable shape, but the field was very fast (although I tried to stick to my own pace), there were a number of very sharp short hills over the 5-lap course, and I only managed 2 laps before I dropped out because I was struggling so badly. I'm determined not to be beaten by this, and I want to use it as a lesson in what my weaknesses are (upping the tempo, and coping with hills) - I'd welcome any suggestions and advice on what training to use to overcome these weaknesses.

Thanks in advance!


  • any advice for getting my motivation back.I seem to be a lapsed runner these days. Finding it hard to get out the door.
    Thanks in advance!
  • Fishy

    When you look back, did the hills beat you or did being off the pace beat you?

    Although it's years ago I have etched in my memory the first time I entered a run that was about 4 laps of a park course, well within the distances I was running in training. After a couple of laps I was awful and really down because so many people were passing me and I was exhausted and hurt all over. I stopped and sat down feeling very very low, fortunately a friend came up and pointed out that actually there were loads of people behind me, it didn't matter what anyone else did & anyway I could do that course. I did finally get back to my feet set off tentatively and suddenly found I could do it after all.

    Equally, as you've probably found in training some days are just less good than others - write it off to experience.

    Good luck
  • Fishy,

    As someone who runs in the Brecon Beacons I hope you'll forgive my arrogance when I claim to know something about hills! In running up them I find the best way is to conciously shorten your stride length but not alter your pace. This you tend to do anyway but I've found it usually fatal to try and bound up unless your delibratley surging.

    As for training - If you have access to hills use them. You will find that using a long sustained and prefereably steep hill will mean that you will find that smaller ones will seem less important to you. If you don't have access to big hills for training try including seesions on a Bike or the stepper in the gym, these work the same muscle groups that you would use going up hill. The other thing that I find helps enormously is to find an peice of flat ground and try the following sequence :-
    1. 5 minutes jogging
    2(a) 2 minutes maximum possible pace
    (b) 2 minutes Jogging
    (c) 1 muinte walking
    repeat steps 2 (a) - (b) five times
    3. 5 minutes steady run

    This is a variation on a FARTLEC sequence I was given and I find it improves your tempo and ability to cope with the changes in pace from changes in terrain a lot.

    Hope this is some help,
  • Thanks everyone for the advice - I'll be putting them into practice, and I'm definitely not going to let this beat me!
  • Fishy - just running off road will help to build the neccessary muscles. Can you run on local footpaths/bridle paths or even round football and rugby fields. This will help to strengthen the muscles and will help you become accustomed to running on a non-flat terrain.
    The cross country season is just starting - enjoy it!
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