Note of Caution

It is very important that any running schedule that you take on is carefully thought out either by you, or by someone who is helping you.

It may sound surprising, but one of the most common problems runners face is training too hard. This can lead to fatigue and a slower (and sometimes, non-existent) recovery, which ultimately will cause injury or illness.

Particularly if you are relatively new to running, be cautious - start slowly and over short distances. You can always increase the intensity over time (not something you can do if you face a lengthy lay off from having trained too hard).

From experience, the athlete that manages to run at a consistently manageable level all year will normally perform better than the one who trains very hard for 6 months, but then spends the other 6 months having to recover from injury problems.

One thing to note in terms of the type of running you do, is that it is often easy to think that you should do a number of the different types of running sessions in a certain period of time at one stage of the year, before changing it for the next period - for example when moving from the 'pre-racing' to 'racing' phases of the season. This is absolutely fine, but it should be remembered that progression should be made slowly, so that if your schedule doesn’t contain any running at a high speed until the summer, do not suddenly attempt to do anything particularly difficult for your first sprint session.

A good suggestion would be to make sure that no session is ever more than a couple of tenths of a second per 100m quicker than sessions that have already been completed in that training year. Or, if you are attempting to run further at the same pace as before, just add no more than 10% more distance, rather than trying up the distance dramatically. By improving in small increments there is less chance that there will be significant problems with what you are trying to achieve.

This section is not meant to sound patronising, but it is common sense which can hopefully help you benefit from the mistakes others have made!

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