Seniors’ Endurance Spring Training

Some good suggestions for training within the current official guidelines below. Keep safe and keep reminding yourself that maintaining two meter distancing is more important than maintaining pace.

Spring Training Guide

Malcolm writes

We are in an environment that provides a few obstacles to training with no access to the track and the absence of purpose and focus provided by races.

As mentioned previously, early Spring very often signifies the end of the winter training period so a small phase of recovery is required and normal. 

Athletes very often enter into the Spring and Summer periodisation phase with either a track or road race plan. Hence the following suggestions provide two strategies.

The following guide assumes solo training on road or parkland.

It also assumes 2 key sessions a week supplemented by general steady runs of 30 – 45 minutes. The repetitions in the Spring and Summer will include shorter recoveries and a lower number of runs. We have the opportunity to increase the recovery period between “harder sessions” to a minimum of three days. As the Tuesday/ Thursday focus has been removed we can roll the days and weeks into a continuum so these sessions can be fitted into our opportunities to train at least until restrictions are lifted.

To support training during this special period it would be useful for each athete to identify the following:

  •  A decent hill, as steep as possible (not vertical!) of a length of 50m – 400m (you would be lucky to find one of these)
  • A clear running course of between 800m – 1600m, accuracy not so important as it will be the time trial course so distance consistency more important.
  • Define a set of core exercises, planks, press-ups, hopping etc.

It is necessary to apply a watch or to estimate required distances, again consistency trumps accuracy. 

For clarification or if you have any good ideas drop Malcolm, Debbie or Chris a line.

Training Plan Structure

For simplicity alternate A and B sessions from the lists below (to enhance variety and enjoyment don’t feel to guilty if you “steal” a session).

Shorter Track Focus (800m – 3000m)


  • 8x 400m 1min recovery between reps (90 -120 seconds per effort)
  • 6 – 8 hard fast hill runs (50 – 100m) jog back recovery. 1mile warm up / 1mile warn down    
  • 6x 300m followed by 2x 200m all 90% race pace (i.e. hard)
  • 800m Time Trial, timed. 1 mile warm up / I mile warm down
  • 10 -15x half a football field perimeter fast, jog across pitch recovery (this can be creatively modified to suit circumstances and opportunities)


  • 4 miles Fartlek    1 mile warm up, 2 miles fartlek or short and longer sprints, 1mile warm down
  • Tempo run 2 – 3 miles at 85% effort (0.5mile acceleration at start and 0.5mile deceleration at end
  • 800m Time Trial, timed. 1 mile warm up / I mile warm down. Full pace.
  • The Fartlek and Tempo runs can be repeated. The Time trial can be run once a month.
  • 3 x 5min turnarounds, 50 – 100m strides 

Longer Road Race Focus (5k+)


  • 5 x 1000m 2min rec between runs.  At 5k Race pace. 1 mile warm up/down
  • 6 x 800m 2min rec between runs. At 5k Race pace, 1 mile warm up/down
  • 6 – 8 Long Hill runs (fast efforts), as long as possible, jog back recovery


  • 6 mile Fartlek, long efforts with some short bursts 
  • Long Tempo run 5 – 6 miles  85% effort (0.5 mile acceleration at start and 0.5 mile deceleration at end
  • 1600m Time Trial, timed. 1 mile warm up / I mile warm down. Full pace.

The Fartlek and Tempo runs can be repeated. The Time trial can be run once a month.

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 5th April

The plan set months ago for this week had us doing 4x800m (400m jog recovery) plus 3x 200m (walk recovery) on Tuesday and a five mile Fartlek with short efforts on Thursday. Malcolm has been talking to some other coaches and wrote some advice on training – including an interesting suggestion for a stretch goal.

Training in Difficult Times

Malcolm Plant writes:

I hope you are well and avoiding this deadly virus. With Tokyo off for a year it means we have not missed out on the opportunity of qualifying. Another training year might just do it!

Although the focus for the Summer is now virtually lost until at least July,  we still could make the best of a bad job. Even I am getting out early in the morning around Woodbank where there are a few runners and even one doing fast reps around the 1k route. However, it is difficult to be motivated to run hard by oneself. Happily (in a way) this is a time of year when its traditional to have a recovery period so the past couple of weeks can be considered to be a sensible hiatus before what would have been the transition into the Summer period.

I have been involved in discussions with some senior coaches in the UK about the transition period we are in and how to deal with the Covid19 situation in particular. As part of this, one of the coaches dug out a review he had undertaken of my own training (from the 1980’s) where he observed that I never took a rest or recovery, so apparently having a recovery period at this time will be a positive thing for us all (if only I had been told in the 70’s!).

So on to some suggestions to make the runs you do more productive and interesting. In the absence of races here are some suggestions:

Simulate track sessions on grass or even the road – this is difficult and less social than we like. Reduce the number of reps and reduce the recovery, perfect to be run like a fartlek, keep the recoveries short

Do turnarounds, you only need a person less space of 50 meters to do 3 x 5 minutes with 5 mins between sets – you will remember this was deceptively hard

On your runs, treat every hill and rise as a target and run hard on every hill, this also has a core strengthening effect and will enhance the benefit you gain from your precious 30 minutes or so. You might also need to vary pace in a race so its good practice.

Add a fartlek aspect to your runs, short and long bursts as desired. A modification to this is to include into the run a couple of miles where you slowly increase the to 85% of maximum then drop the pace right down for a mile before increasing again.

The coaches I spoke to were very keen in this situation to include a time trial once every two weeks. Choose a course of between 1K to 1.5K  (other distances are available). Do a warmup run, blast the trial and then warm down home. Put a clock on it if possible.

Stick to the basic week design of two sessions, do more stretching and core work at home. Remember a tempo run should be conducted at about 90% effort (80 -90% max heart rate)

Take the opportunity to include more recovery into the week.

If there is an appetite I can set two sessions a week to help, let me know

All the best