Updated: Feb 2, 2021



Now the festive period is over, and with the England being faced with another Coronavirus lockdown some of us will keen to introduce some running into our diaries as an avenue of exercise whilst gyms are closed.

It’s not uncommon that the turbulent year of 2020 forced individuals to take a leap out of their comfort zones. Some of you may be complete newbies to running, others maybe entering January setting themselves their regular running goals. There is no clear-cut definition for long-distance running for it can be 10km for one person and an ultra-marathon for someone else. But what does remain consistent throughout is the need for effective training, planning and motivation. Therefore, this blog will aim to outline the simple, yet necessary information required for someone to successful complete a running challenge!


When training for long distance it is important to utilise a variety of methods within the allocated period to allow for development and progression.

Training plans should incorporate at least 3 runs a week (varying both between distance and time for which will change week on week).

In addition, 2 weight training sessions, targeting both upper and lower body will benefit muscular endurance and injury prevention (Saunders et al. 2006). Do not panic though, I know not all of us have access to gym equipment but you’ll be surprised what high repetition, body weight training can do to your endurance threshold (Ebben et al. 2004).

Active recovery is vital for our body’s development and progression. Completing an activity that differs from running, yet still requires a form of movement is essential during training. Activities such as; walking, swimming or cycling are a great alternatives during active recovery days.


Having a plan in place for training allows room for accountability for the individual. The satisfaction of ticking off week by week mileage enables structure and accomplishment (Pierce, Murr and Moss 2012).

Now despite running events being questionable to go ahead yet, that doesn’t mean you can set yourself your own goal & target date. Working backwards from that date means the start day of training can be set in stone!

Suggestive training timeframes:

5km= 8 weeks

10km= 10 weeks

Half marathon= 12 weeks

Marathon= 20 weeks


Finding the motivation to run can be hard. Especially if you are starting your training in January. It’s dark, cold and wet and no one wants to venture out after work. Here are a few simple tips that might help you begin your running journey;

· Try and get your first run in at the start of the week, either Monday morning or evening, you will be setting yourself up right!

· Get a self-made ‘event’ in the diary so you have something to strive for.

· Running with a friend will encourage you and after all we can exercise with one other person outside of our household; why not find yourself a running buddie! As well as this, running with someone else prevents you from cancelling as no one wants to let the other one down!

· Make your routes interesting or have a desired finish point for a reason (eg. Running to the next town for milk as you’ve ran out, then getting a lift back). Logging your mileage won’t seem like a chore if you are incorporating errands too.

So, if you now feel like you want to create a challenge for 2021 (because 2020’s challenging year was far too easy…) here are a few Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to preparing yourself for race day;

If you feel like you could benefit from more information on this then please do not hesitate to get in contact. Alternatively, if an injury is preventing you from achieving your 2021 running goal then please get in touch.

Happy New Year!


Olivia Freeman

BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST

MSc Strength and Conditioning




Ebben, W. P, Kindler, A. G, Chirdon, K.A, Jenkins, N. C, Polichnowski, A. J and Ng, A. V, (2004), ‘The effect of high-load vs. high-repetition training on endurance performance’, The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 18(3), 513-517.

Pierce, B, Murr, S and Moss, R, (2012), Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster, Revised Edition: Become a faster strong runer with the revolutionary 3-run-a-week training program’, Rodal, USA: New York.

Saunders, P. U, Telford, R. D, Pyne, D. B, Peltola, E. M, Cunningham, R. B, Gore, C. J and Hawley, J. A, (2006), ‘Short-term plyometric training improved running economy in highly trained middle and long distance runners’, Journal of Strength and Conditioning, 20(4), 947-954.

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