Personal Trainer Eddie Johnson is offering helpful weekly advice in the run up to the Pharmalink 2014 Maidenhead Half Marathon on Sunday, September 7.
The 40-year-old hopes to help beginner and inexperienced runners with the basics of fitness, nutrition and maintenance to keep them motivated and get them ready for the race.
Eddie was overweight - weighing 18 stone with a 40 inch waist - until he was 21, but shed the pounds and discovered a career in fitness when he realised he wanted to help other people do the same.
This week: How mixing up your training can keep you going in those final weeks.
A friend of mine coined the phrase 'OCD route'.
I took this to mean a running route that we do over and over again.
Of course, this could be a route that you use regularly to measure your fitness.
You might pace yourself and know exactly what time in your run you should be at a given point and whether this means that you are on form or not.
Another viewpoint could be that always using the same route can make us a bit stale.
Trying something new might shake us out of our comfort zone and get us improving our fitness.
I have even heard of coaches who advocate using a really boring route in training.
Chrissie Wellington (four- time Ironman Triathlon World Champion) described in her book how her coach Brett Sutton would sometimes require an athlete to do a long run on a treadmill in a room with no windows, nothing on the walls, no music and no TV.
If you can keep going in these conditions, then it will strengthen the mind. Was this a form of torture meant to toughen up the athlete?
Or, perhaps he wanted the athlete to enter in to some kind of trance like state, maybe a bit like meditation.
For most of us, this wouldn't be much fun and finding ways to provide pleasant stimulation (trees, rivers, scenic views etc) will surely help with motivation to keep going.
I personally like the 'out in a straight line and back' route.
Basically, this means I run on as straight a route as possible away from the start point and when I reach half the distance that I need to cover, I turn round and head back to the start.
In one way, this could be seen as a bit boring.
You have the same things to look at for the first half of the run as you do on the second.
However, for me the motivating thing about this is that I can't wimp out and cut the run short when I am tiring (most likely to happen after half way) because the quickest way back is the way that I have come!
If I do a big circle around the start point, I always have the option of cutting it short.
Also, I like to think that once I have turned round having completed half the distance, the way back is easy, because I am on the way back. Am I making sense?
Perhaps I don't need to and maybe there are many different approaches that work for all of us as individuals.
Surely it's fun to try different methods and routes and enjoy going through this process.
I really like running with a partner from time to time.
Take it in turn to choose the route, but don't tell each other where it goes until the latest possible moment on the run.
Of course, this is good if you like surprises!
Just in case you might like to know some of my 'OCD' routes, I have mapped a couple out for you below.
The first one goes from the magnet Leisure Centre out to Dorney Lake, round the lake and then back to the Magnet.
It is a kind of 'out in a straight line and back' route and very scenic.
It's just over 10 miles and nice and flat.
Perfect for a pre Maidenhead Half Marathon long run.
It goes along the Green Way to Cookham, out down Mill Lane towards the Thames and back along the riverside until Ray Park Road where you turn right to go back towards the Magnet.
It's almost seven-and-a-half miles.
If you have any questions about your running routes, or about any other subject ahead of the Maidenhead Half Marathon on September 7, please feel free to contact me.
Now that you have some ideas to keep you motivated, here's you penultimate training guide. Just two weeks to go now!
This particular plan is for runners looking to finish the 13.1 mile course in less than two hours and 30 minutes.
Rest – Either have a complete rest from physical activity or do something non-weight bearing such as swimming or cycling
Run/walk – short bursts of slow running mixed with walking – don’t run until you are exhausted and then have to walk the whole way home. Jog or walk the whole time or distance.
Race – remember to jog about 1 mile as a warm up before racing and 1 mile afterwards tocool down
The sub-1:30 and sub 2:00 schedules can be found on the Pharmalink Maidenhead Half Marathon race page.
If you have any doubts about your level of fitness it is advisable to check with your doctor before you undertake any programme of physical activity.
Most importantly, enjoy your training and have a great race!
Download a Race entry form here.
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