Calf raises in shower – We shower every day right? Standing up? Why not combine that with some calf raises? Simply stand on one foot and raise your body up and down until you feel you need to stop. To start with that might be just 5 reps on each leg, but take your time and your calves will become super strong! Perfect while you’re waiting for the conditioner to take effect!
Strides – If you’re new to strides then simply they are a short sprint at about 95% of your maximum pace, for up to 100 meters. They will help to open up your hips, increase your stride length and get your body used to running faster. For me I add them into a long run, so in the last 5km, I’ll do 1 set during each of those last kilometres.
Sessions on tired legs – I see so many people doing their workout sessions when they are completely fresh, but they never train for those last 6 miles in a marathon when their legs are very tired. Every few weeks I’ll do a speed session, but run 10-15km right before, with the sole purpose of getting my body use to running on already tired legs. Of course you’re not going to hit the exact paces you would have done if you were training fresh, but I feel you’ll get an even bigger extra benefit from getting use to running when your legs are fatigued.
9am Sunday run – If you are a regular with the Sunday long run, then try and always do it at the same time as when your goal race starts. If you’re running London, it starts at 10am, so get use to running at 10am on a Sunday morning!
Fasted runs – During the last 6 miles of a marathon your body will predominantly be using fat stores for fuel, the carbohydrates will have run out by then. You can get your body used to this by doing a few fasted runs in your build up. Simply don’t have any breakfast and go on your normal run, just a large glass of water. With no immediate available carbs to draw upon your body will tap into your fat stores, get used to using fat as a fuel and make those last 6 miles all the more bearable.
Eat and drink something as soon as you finish your run – For me it’s a recovery shake with milk, but you need to make sure you have something as quickly as possible after finishing your run. Best things would be water, banana, shake, milk, nuts, blueberries, apple, nuts, then you can prepare a proper meal when the time comes.
Run with strength stops – Everyone hates strength training and doing it between runs rarely happens. So why not combine it with a run every few weeks? Schedule 3 stops. 1st stop, 3 sets of squats. 2nd, 3 planking sets, 3rd stop tricep dips on a bench. There are so many exercises you can do, so find three that work for you!
Parkrun as race prep – Parkrun is of course a run, not a race. But everything about the build up to the start line is similar to a race. So practice as you would on race day and get into a routine that works. What are you having for breakfast, when are you eating it, how are you getting to the start, what are you wearing? It’s the perfect dress rehearsal every week, so take advantage and find what works for you.