World Half Marathon GB representative Dan Studley opens up his training diary to provide an insight into how he trains.
Studley improved his time over the distance by more than two minutes when he ran 64:23 at the Barcelona Half Marathon in February 2018.
The 26-year-old has reaped the rewards of a new training regime since teaming up with coach Alex Haines last year, recording an impressive 49:41 debut over 10-miles to add to his half marathon success along the way.
Here we ask the Bristol & West AC athlete about a typical week’s training, what changes he’s made with Haines to make such significant improvements and which session he most looks forward to.
What does an average week of training look like?
In my build up to the Barcelona half marathon and the subsequent World half, I would be completing weeks like this:
Monday: 9 miles steady + strides
Tuesday: AM – 10 x 1km (off 90 secs) 3:05 down to 2:52
PM: 4-mile jog
Wednesday: 13 miles easy
Thursday: 5-mile jog
Friday: 10-mile tempo usually around 5:05-5:10 pace
PM: 4-mile jog
Saturday: 9 miles easy + strides
Sunday: 18-20 miles easy with around 10k at around 5:45 pace
What changes have you made since teaming up with Alex Haines?
I have had lots of changes in terms of my mindset and my goals.
Firstly, training is organic; it isn’t ‘this is what you have to do’. We put things into the context of the day, week, weather and work out what is the most positive outcome, instead of being a slave to a training plan or a watch.
Easy running doesn’t come prescribed, it is what you need on any given day, and jogs are jogs.
Most easy runs start around 7:30 pace for a few miles and slowly come down to 6:50-7:00min pace, but this differs totally run to run.
What other training do you do to support your running?
Strength and conditioning is an integral part of my training week, but by no means the most important thing I do.
I have learnt over the years that S&C is a key component of a training plan, but at the end of the day I am a distance runner, and if any non-running work eats into fatigue for running or less mileage this is wrong.
I work with a S&C coach and we put together two 45 minute sessions a week. This is mainly bodyweight squat/deadlift work, a few hip strengthening exercises and core work. In and out, nothing too exciting.
What is your preferred terrain to train on?
Ideally, I would run all my miles on trails, although winter in England is challenging to find good off-road running, meaning a lot has been on the tarmac.
I’m lucky to be able to spend good chunks of the winter on a training camp, spending six weeks in Spain throughout January and February this year.
All my easier miles were on hilly, gravelly, soft trails – as good as it gets!
What is your favourite session of the week?
10-mile tempo runs! These are the bread and butter if you want to be a successful distance runner, and are what we build a training week around.
It’s great to see your progress week on week, and we usually use heart rate as a good guide of effort level for these.
I had probably done somewhere like 30-35 10-mile tempo runs leading into my half marathon PB in Barcelona.
Which sessions don’t you enjoy?
None! If you really dread or dislike what you are doing, you’re probably in the wrong sport.
Do you have a benchmark session you complete to test your fitness ahead of a race?
Training is training, racing is racing.
We never use training as a guide to race performance, and simply do what is right for each day, taking into consideration how I’m feeling, weather conditions, the previous training days and so on.
Racing is going to the well and getting everything out of yourself on any given day. Why put a benchmark or limit on what that might be?
You can learn more about Dan and why ‘commitment, not sacrifice is key to success’ here.