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Personalised Training Programs

Any of you that have joined one of our ‘Learn to Run’ Programs (or heard me talk about running for any length of time) will have heard me say that the best recipe for improvement and success in your running is through a balanced diet of running. A consistent, balanced diet of running. It’s through this that you learn to run with endurance.

As much fun as intervals may be for you, running them solely through a week is a recipe for pain, a warped sense of the benefits that can be derived from running, and the potential to injure yourself pretty quickly. Alternatively, stick to single-paced running week on week and while you may start to build a decent base, you’ll also build a rut at the same time (and quite likely develop technical deficiencies in your running form as a result).

Drag the preparation for a significant milestone or breakthrough race (such as your first marathon or half marathon, or a PB in a race you’re setting yourself for) and the need for great preparation is even greater.

This the main reason BT RunClub has introduced Personalised Training Plans – the other is the level of demand there’s been for something just like this.

Our regular sessions definitely provide some of the ingredients for the plan, but the personalised plan is a program developed specifically for you in the weeks and months leading up to a significant race so you reach the line ready for a significant personal breakthrough or milestone.

The plan has a number of components:

Initial meeting
This is to figure out where you’re at right now, the goal you’d like to achieve, any injuries you’ve had in the past, the degree to which you’re up for sinking your teeth into a program, and the number of sessions you’re ready to invest to realise your goal.

Threshold Testing
This involves a little pain but is designed give us our starting point—the foundation on which we’re building. It’s also to give us the appropriate paces you should be running. Essentially it’s a session with a single longer interval with a warm-up (to prepare you for the pleasure) and a warm-down (to let you think about what you just went and did!). From this we do some extrapolating to create pacing bands/ranges for every session type on your program.

For those whose fitness is improving rapidly through a program (typically, newer runners), this threshold testing will need to be done a number of times through the program so that the program/paces of session types can be tweaked through the program and you can more completely realise the cumulative benefit of the program.

The Personalised Program
This is the plan that, along with your discipline, hard work and (growing) endurance, will help you reach your goal for your target race. It’s provided as a spreadsheet so it’s not completely set in stone! It should certainly be your goal to tick off every session but aside from the stuff of life that may come up along the way, there may be further tweaking to do as we go. As an example, you may find some of the longer runs well within (or well beyond) your current fitness. As we discover more, we’re able to further refine/personalise the program.

Group Training
The program will incorporate the BT RunClub sessions but obviously not stop there. You’ll have more work to do than that! It may also mean that while you’re doing something very close to everyone else, there may be times when you’re doing more or less, or further or shorter, because of where you’re at in your training cycle. Fear not, you’ll still be doing the bulk of the work around a fine community of runners.

Email contact
You’ll be able to email questions about your sessions or progress (or how stuffed you’re feeling) at any point with your coach for the program (on silver & black programs).

Face-to-face contact and on-going monitoring/review
The best time for this to happen is around training sessions (probably after, not during!). These are good opportunity to review how things are going, or ask any questions you may have. This can be pre-planned or as we go, your call.

All athletes should also be actively uploading their runs to the BT RunClub on www.strava.com so that your training can be monitored (and cheered on). While this makes good sense generally, you’ll be committing to do this fastidiously through the course of your program. Fear not, it just makes the program more rewarding!

What’s the goal?
The goal is to get you in the best shape you can possibly be to give yourself the greatest chance of realising the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) or the ‘reasonably sized, relatively sane goal’ that you’ve set yourself. You’ll no doubt discover a whole lot more about yourself along the way. Running’s like that…there’s usually a whole lot more to be learned on the journey than the destination – but the destination’s a whole lot of fun too!

What’s it going to cost me?
To see what’s covered in the different bands of programs at full size, click away. See under for pricing.

Yellow Running Plans
Minimum: 12 weeks
$25/week (optional Threshold Testing and Pacing Bands: $50 and excluding session fees)
Payment: Paid in full at initial planning meeting by direct debit or cash (or by arrangement) with ongoing session fees as per normal session fees

Silver Running Plans
Minimum: 18 weeks
$30/week (includes all sessions)
Payment: First four weeks at or before initial meeting. Thereafter, monthly direct debit

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What to do now

If you’re wanting to get the ball rolling on your next assault on a distance you’ve run before or you first attempt at distance you’ve never run before. Or if you’re making a long anticipated comeback and want to do it properly, email Simon. Even the longest journey begins with a single step.

Simon Elliott


...run with endurance...
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