Run your way to success

Whether you’re training for your first marathon or you’re a serious runner who has been at it for years – you’ll always want to progress and continue to challenge yourself.

Paul Lyons, Trainer at Speedflex Leeds, offers some tips on how to train effectively and run your way to success.

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Ensure you have a structured, progressive plan

You need to build up all aspects of fitness alongside building up the miles to get to race distance. Training should be varied including elements of endurance, strength, speed, power and flexibility in the programme.

Endurance training

Include 3-4 running sessions per week. Distances should be built up over the weeks leading up to race day, giving the body time to adapt and get fitter and stronger. Increasing intensity and distance progressively will help to increase cardiovascular fitness and get the body used to the increase in mileage and intensity.

Strength training

Aim for 1 or 2 strength sessions per week. This will build muscular strength and endurance through resistance training exercises. Focus should be on lower body exercises including variations on squats and lunges. Distance running can break down the muscles and cause a loss of strength. Including strength training alongside endurance running can help maintain strength levels.

Flexibility and core work

This will help to ease aches and reduce/alleviate muscle soreness. Core strength is important to protect the body, make the muscles stronger and reduce the injury risk. Tight muscles can impair running efficiency and the likelihood of injury occurring through training.


A group exercise concept like Speedflex could help you to see results quickly, and its low impact nature means there is little risk of injury and minimal (if any) post exercise pain following a session. Regular Speedflex sessions will strengthen the muscles you rely on for running, help improve cardiovascular endurance (exercising longer without fatiguing), and help you to develop speed and power. It can also improve cardiovascular recovery (heart rate drops quicker after exercise) and make you more efficient at transporting oxygen through the body to the working muscles (your VO2max).

Lower impact and recovery sessions

These sessions are key the more training an individual does. This can include cross training activities such as swimming and cycling. It also adds variety and gives the body a rest from constant repetition. Providing a different stimulus can refresh and challenge the body and add variety to the training programme. It builds strength and flexibility in the muscles that running doesn’t utilise and can prevent injury through correcting muscular imbalances.


It is important to maintain hydration levels by drinking regularly in training both electrolyte drinks and water. Any water lost through sweating needs to be replaced to avoid dehydration and weight loss after training and races. Drink regularly throughout. Eat a carbohydrate based meal to provide slow release energy 90 minutes to 2 hours before and refuel post workout with a protein based drink and a main meal within 1-2 hours after exercising.

You need the essentials

Running shoes – Comfortable, stable. Usually half a size bigger to reduce the likelihood of blisters occurring. Different types are available depending on preference and running style, some can be lightweight while others provide more support and stability.

Socks – Fitted running socks with sweat wicking fabric to reduce instances of blisters.

Shorts and t-shirt – Cool and lightweight fabric to wick away sweat and provide ventilation to keep you cool and dry.

So you're ready to flex?

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