Getting ready to start a new training plan in January? Then make sure you’re in peak condition by using this plan to get yourself down to ‘racing weight’. Yes, it’s nice to look good in your party dress for the festive season – but there’s more to shedding fat than aesthetics.
Hitting your target weight for running not only helps physiologically, but mentally too. The thought of hauling a few extra pounds for many miles can be distracting, particularly in the later stages of a race, while knowing you’re in the shape you want to be in will help you feel positive from start to finish.
Physically, the closer you are to your ideal running weight, the less pressure you’ll be putting on your joints, muscles and connective tissue. You’ll find it easier to run with good posture and technique, and this will optimise your fitness level and see you across the line in good time.
The key to stripping fat is to exercise at a high intensity. Your training over the year will have established a strong level of basic fitness. Your objective now is to build on this and take the physical challenge to new levels. Training at a higher intensity makes extra energy demands on the body, and this energy will be supplied by body fat. If you have up to half a stone to shift prior to your race, this plan will ensure you hit your target.
High-intensity training means working at a level where you experience a nine out of 10 effort at the end of the suggested intervals. As you become more familiar with pushing yourself, you’ll become clear on what running speeds you can maintain for different periods of time. You’ll know the speeds are right for you if you feel it’s tough to maintain the speed for each interval, particularly the last 20 seconds, which should feel like a real stretch. We’ve left the plan flexible in terms of distance and speed – you can easily fit it to your current fitness levels. It also includes cross-training activities such as swimming and gym work – if you don’t have access to a gym, then any low-impact training (such as cycling) can be used instead.
Ideally you’ll need to leave seven to 10 days between completing this training plan and a race (unless you’re doing it for fun rather than a fast time). For this period, you can lower the intensity of your training to ensure you are rested and ready for a great run.
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