The First Four Weeks

Getting through the first four weeks of a new training regime consistently is not an easy feat.  When you start running after a big break, no matter your level, getting back into regular running is hard.  The legs complain, the body feels tired and when the weather gets ugly it is easier to opt for the ugg boots! 

Don’t despair…you will not be the only one who wants to curl up on the couch after work rather than run through the streets in the pouring rain.  The key to getting out there when you feel like this is to remind yourself of how you will feel on the start line if you haven’t prepared properly.  Visualise yourself on the line and it will help you focus on the goal at hand. 

Remind yourself that if you can stick to your regime for four weeks the desire to ditch the trainers will be significantly reduced.  The feeling you get from achieving your training goals and breathing in the beautiful air will start winning!

Pacing Yourself

Practice in training how to pace yourself early in your training.  There’s no better feeling than running the second half of your race faster than your first, regardless of the distance.  Break your race up into thirds (5km, 10km, 15km) and set a physical and mental goal for each third. 

The first third is about finding a comfortable rhythm that you can maintain while holding onto a little feeling in the back of your mind that if someone was chasing you, you’d be able to go a bit harder and hold them off! 

The middle part of your race is always the most challenging, but on the flip side it is the part that will give you the most reward.  Pick out other runners ahead of you and focus only on catching and passing them.  Don’t think about anything else but the next person in front of you.

The final third is about giving it your all.  Go your hardest during this section.  You’ll feel tired for sure, but hey if it was easy everyone would do it!

You can do the same thing in training regardless of the distance.  Practice makes perfect!


Have you practiced your pace for race day?   

Try using 1km intervals to help you practice the pace that you are going to run on race day.  Depending on your level you can start with either 4x1km, 6x1km or 8x1km resting for 1-2mins after each interval.  The goal is to be able to run all the 1km efforts at an even pace. Try to avoid running too fast in the first interval.  It is far better to run your last one faster than your first than the other way around.

What to do when your training partner can’t run. 

Training together and helping each other is a positive way to replicate race conditions.  What do you do if your training partner gets sick or injured and can’t train anymore?  Find a new partner…obvious right!  But not so easy with a month to go!

Set up a music playlist which runs through the course of your training session.  Relaxed music for the warm up, a little upbeat for the first third of the session, another notch up for the middle part and your absolute favourite for the final third. Finish off with a relaxed set of tracks for the warm down and you have your substitute for a few sessions. 

You can then start competing with your playlist, attempting to get to a certain point on the path at the end of each song and see if you can beat it next time.  An entirely new way of training! 

Have you completed your dress rehearsal? 

You can complete all the training in the world, but if you don’t get your hydration and nutrition plan right two days prior and race morning it may not be the fairy tale you were hoping for.

Don’t over hydrate, a common mistake people make from time to time as there will be plenty of fluids on the course.  Keep an eye on the weather and drink often and naturally in the lead up to the race.  If it is going to be extra warm you don’t need to drink copious amounts of sports drink prior, just increase your water intake and add a little salt to your food. 

Practice what you will eat the night before and the morning of a few weeks out.  Eat the exact things you plan to eat on the Saturday on a Saturday prior to the event.  Then the exact things you would eat on the morning of. 

I tend to keep it simple, rice and veggies with a little chicken the night before, toast and a coffee the morning of (about 3 hours prior).  Keep it simple and don’t eat too late the night before.

Don’t sweat it if you’ve missed a few runs.

The weather in Melbourne is always full of variability.  There’s nights where it is hard to get out in the rain and complete every training run on your list.  If you miss a training session don’t try to make it up later in the program as you will run with risk of overloading too quickly and this quickly leads to injury and illness. 

If you follow a simple formula of not increasing your training load more than 10 percent off the previous week you have a better chance of making it to the start line in the shape of your life.

What is the first thing you are going to do when the race is over? 

Whether we like to admit it or not, rewards are a great way to keep motivated.  Who plans their next holiday the day after they arrive home from one?  Planning a massage, drinks with friends, a special dinner or just a good old sleep in helps us focus on the light at the end of the tunnel when training gets hard.