The Suffolk-based runner opens up his training diary to provide an insight into his self-coached approach.
Since leaving his job to become a full-time athlete in May (2018) Kieran Clements’ performances have been on a new level with a string of personal bests.
The Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier clocked a 14:00 PB at the Ipswich Twilight 5k, before running 28:37.12 at the Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000m PBs. He followed that up with a 7:54.72 lifetime best at Watford over 3000m, where 11 British runners all ran under eight minutes.
Fast Running spoke to Clements about his training set up, strength and conditioning, plus his favourite and dreaded sessions.
Training set up
Clements mostly trains alone and he says: “Suffolk is a lot of things, but an endurance running mecca is unfortunately not one of them.”
However, he is grateful for the running company of Ipswich Jaffa’s Jack Millar, a club with which Clements is a second claim member of.
“It’s important to support the local running community,” he says. “I sometimes have the ‘social run’ crew for company, but they’re back at university now, so I’m back to Steven Glansberg-ing all my training for a bit. (A reference to his solo training status).
“It isn’t really too much of a problem for me. If anything I enjoy it as it allows me to always run my own pace, on my own schedule. I also appreciate the time alone with just my thoughts.”
Clements’ coaching philosophy
“I’m self-coached and generally take the philosophy of ‘speed from strength’, so I put a lot of emphasis on building a strong aerobic base, then adding race-specific speed on top of that,” he explains.
“As with any distance runner, my training differs depending on the time of year and race distance I’m training for, but I’m very open about it all and am happy to share it with anyone who’s interested.”
His training diaries from two key weeks
The first training diary is from the fortnight before (April 29 – May 5) Clements ran 28:37 at the Highgate Harriers’ Night of 10,000m PBs.
17 miles in 108 minutes
AM: 11 miles in 72mins and core
PM: 6.1 miles in 39mins 17s
AM: 6 miles in 41mins
PM: 20 mins warm up/ 4x 4×400 off 45s/3mins (64,64,64,64/ 63,64,62,63/ 62,63,63,63/ 62,62,63,60)/ 20mins warm down
8 miles in 54mins 21s
AM: 5 miles in 33mins
PM: 20mins warm up/ Road fartlek: 5×3, 5×2, 5×1 off half “float” rest – 8.4 @5:20/ 20mins warm down
AM: 11 miles in 71mins 34s and core
PM: 6 miles in 43mins
20mins warm up then a ‘Michigan session’: 1 mile (4:35), 2k tempo (6:15), 1200 (3:24), 2k tempo (6:15), 800 (2:11), 2k tempo (6:12), 400 (58), all off 90s/3mins. 20mins warm down
Total: 108miles and 2 x core
This second segment is from Clements’ training diary (September 30 – October 6) before his debut half marathon in Manchester on October 14.
15.1 miles in 91mins
AM: 8 miles in 52mins and core
PM: 8 miles in 51mins
20mins warm up (3 miles) then a road fartlek: 1,2,3,4,5,6,5,4,3,2,1 off half ‘float’ rest – 10.1 miles at 5:18 pace. 19:30mins warm down (3 miles)
AM: 11 miles in 73mins
PM: 6 miles in 39mins
AM: 6 miles in 41mins
PM: 3 miles warm up then 15 x 350m hills (hard up, ’float’ down recovery, 3 miles warm down.
6.1 miles in 39mins
3 miles warm up, then National Road Relays! Ran second leg in 17:13 (4:42 pace), 6th fastest split of the day. Then ran 5 x 1200m off 90s (3:38, 3:37, 3:35, 3:32, 3:28), 3 miles warm down.
Total: 103miles and 1x core
All of the core exercises referenced are Clements’ only strength work, using bodyweight only.
He explains why: “I always found lifting weights would beat me up a bit and cause me to run slower in workouts.
“I don’t have access to the facilities at the moment. In the future, I want to work with a coach who knows what they’re doing in this area before incorporating it back into my training schedule.
“I will also try to do some strides and drills two to three times a week after easy runs.”
Mental health benefits of running
“I feel like it’s very good for your mental health to have a bit of time each day where you are able to be alone in that way,” he explains. “It gives you a chance to reflect, think, put things into perspective, focus.
“Running has always been such an incredible mental release for me and I think that side of it is undervalued.”
The psychology graduate is clearly a strong minded athlete, with his favourite sessions being brutal track sessions.
“One example of a go-to session would be firstly 8×600 off 90 seconds, before changing into spikes and then doing 4×200 off 90 seconds, aiming for 96-93 seconds for the 600s and 28-26 seconds for the 200s,” he says.
“I also love longer sessions, such as four sets of 1200, 800, 400, with 90 seconds rest throughout and between sets, aiming for about 3:30, 2:16, 66 seconds for the reps.”
RELATED: How I train: Dan Studley
Most dreaded session
On the sesssion he least looks forward to, he says: “A tough session I always dread is one of the workouts mentioned in my training called ‘The Michigan’.
“There are a few different versions of this workout (see above for his adaption) but I think I’ve found an appropriate balance for myself.
“I find visualising my goals is the best motivation when I’m struggling on a run or session. It brings back the focus of why it is you’re doing it in the first place.”
Fuelling 100+mile training weeks
Clements is lucky enough to have chickens at his family home, “so eggs are a big source of fuel”.
He goes on: “I just try to keep a relatively healthy balanced diet. When you’re running 100 miles a week or more your biggest enemy is under-fuelling and a lot of distance runners forget that.
“The only supplements I use are a calcium and vitamin D supplement from Tesco and a liquid iron supplement from Floradix.”
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