Up and down the country, England’s top athletes (be that 100m sprinters or long distance champions) are all doing the same thing this autumn they’re lacing up their training shoes and putting some easy miles in.
Autumn is the perfect time of year to put away your stopwatch, switch off the GPS on your personal tracker and simply get running. Think of it like this: the next few weeks are all about getting yourself fit enough to start your proper, monitored training.
Whether you’re looking forward to a sensational football season as a midfield dynamo or have eyes on a spring marathon, running at this time of year is great for training for every different sport.
Running in Autumn
Over the years, we’ve been lucky enough to take part in some pre-season training with premier league squads and their training schedules have always had one thing in common - running! Plain and simple. After all, Match of the Day tells us all every week just what distance footballers cover in a game, and it’s often more than 5 miles!
“I love this time of year,” says Eilish McColgan, Britain’s best 5000m runner in recent seasons and winner of the bronze medal at the European Championships in Berlin.
“I have a week or 10 days off then I spend about a month just running. No stopwatch, no real plans, just getting in some easy miles and running how I feel.”
That’s how Eilish goes about things, but even the same is true for sprinters, footballers and all other types of sportspeople, albeit over slightly less distance.
It’s all about building solid foundations. The best way to run in Autumn is to aim for longer distances without the pressure of speed. All goals, PBs, and solid targeted workouts are for the future. Now is all about having fun.
“I don’t time anything; I don’t have set distances in my mind if I run some faster efforts. I just run and turn my legs over,” says Eilish.
Rest and Recovery
As daunting as this training may sound for beginners, this long, easy running is all about rest and recovery. The runners we all watched on TV during the summer will have spent most of the previous four or five months running hard repetitions on the track. Now that off-season has arrived, simply getting out and floating along allows their bodies to recover.
So, even if you’re new to running and didn’t spend the summer practising, think of the next four weeks as a great time to rest, by running some easy miles.
Your routine should be all about what works for you. Usain Bolt has some fun running for what is him, long efforts over 600 metres on the grass, while Eilish will head out the door and put in 10 easy miles along the river bank. It’s all about creating a routine that works well for you and from there, in a month or two you can start improving and adding distance.
The Perfect Week
Your routine should be very much about what feels right for you, but here’s a quick guide to help you tackle this easy-going time of year in the best possible way.
Monday: 20-30 min easy run; don’t worry about pace in any way
Tuesday: Gym session, perhaps try a spin class or similarly aerobic workout
Thursday: Rest, or 15min jog
Friday: 20 min run but pick up the pace twice for as far as you feel
Sunday: Longer run; try a completely new route, don’t time it or measure it
The autumn is all about….
- Building a solid base
- Not having a set distance or time
- Running how you feel, slow one day, fast another
- Trying something new: a gym class, or a bike ride.
- Getting some new kit; there’s nothing better to get you in the right mood
- Resting. It’s as important as any training programme
- Developing a routine
For more info on training and running routines, check out the England Athletics website.