Cheltenham Harriers’ Dave Newport has been coaching for 31 years and here are his top 15 pieces of advice for the distance runners.
Recently Fast Running asked a handful of experts for their top simple tips for runners and Coach Newport was someone who responded. But, as with the vast majority of coaches within the UK, the senior endurance coach for Cheltenham Harriers went above and beyond.
Very active as @coachnewport on Twitter, the GB Duathlon team manager has a great bunch of athletes under his wing in the Cheltenham area and does open group sessions every Tuesday at the Prince of Wales stadium in Cheltenham.
Without further ado here’s Coach Newport’s top 15 tips for distance runners.
1) Coaches are your co-pilot, you’re driving
Have ownership of your experience in the sport. Coaches are like the satnav in your car.
You tell us where you want to go, we offer you one or more routes to get you there, you select the route that you’d like to take, then we give you directions & traffic updates along the way.
2) Set realistic goals
Set sensible goals. Too many athletes suffer from either NOT setting any goals at all, or setting ones that are way below their potential or unrealistically high.
3) Have the right environment
Ensure that your club/coaching environment is right for you.
Assess your Club vs Goals and ask these questions: (a) do I have the right level of training partners? (b) is the coach going to get me there? (c) do I have the right level of competition?
4) Easy means easy
Train hard when you’re asked to train hard. If you train hard on your easy or recovery days, you’re not doing yourself any favours.
5) Run fast
So long as you’re not in a recovery week, train fast at least twice per week.
Try to vary your training paces, rather than run sessions at one pace all season. For instance, if your goal is 10km, you need to train regularly at 3km, 5km, 10km and tempo pace throughout the year.
6) Run long
Don’t skip your Long Run. You should be looking to run at least 75mins as your longer run each week.
Most good 10km runners are comfortable running 90-120mins, depending on their racing calendar.
7) Use races for long runs
Don’t be afraid to run longer hard runs. Not enough athletes use local races as training opportunities.
It’s easy to get 60mins hard running done, within a local 1/2 marathon. Start easy, building into it until you’re at tempo, then hang tight until you need to back off again.
8) Pace yourself
Master your pacing. Any idiot can blow up in every race or session. Start sensibly, finish hard.
9) Consistency is key
Train consistently. There are no “hacks”, “shortcuts” or “magic sessions” that will get you there. Real, lasting progress doesn’t happen overnight.
Crash training is more likely to break you than make you.
10) Build steady
Build your volume & intensity steadily. No big jumps.
11) Have fun
Enjoy your sport. If you’re enjoying your training & racing, then you’re more likely to have a positive mindset.
12) Power of the mind
Nurture this positive mindset. It really doesn’t matter how much potential you have, as you’ll never get the best out of yourself.
A good training & racing brain, combined with confidence, will help you hit your targets.
13) Learn from those you chase
Learn from those who are already at the level you’re chasing. Talk to them, talk to their coaches, train with them every now and again.
There is so much to learn, if you ask the right people, the right questions.
14) Dear diary…
Keep a training log. Without one, how can you ever look back & understand where/how it went right or wrong.
15) Know what you need
Things that WILL help you, but you don’t always NEED. 1. Speedwork 2. Strength and conditioning 3. Hills 4. Good nutrition 5. Racing flats 6. A heart rate monitor This list is endless.
Don’t be sh*t
According to several on Twitter who have worked with Coach Newport there should also be the edition of one last tip. Don’t be sh*t. Simple enough that one.
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