Mo Farah’s Typical Weekly Training Schedule

Most of us mere mortals are happy if we get out for a run a few times a week. Some even do the occasional two-runs-a-day thing to really up their fitness, however nothing compares to the mileage that the pro’s like Mo Farah put in.

Below is the typical weekly training schedule for Mo Farah. This involves running up to a maximum of 135 miles per week with no rest days and two sessions every day but Sunday, when he just does an all out 22-27 miles at 5:40 min/mile. This is the life of an elite runner!

Mo farah typical training week

Monday

AM: 10-mile recovery run (6:00min/mile pace)
PM: 6-mile recovery run

Mo Farah

Mo Farah

Tuesday

AM: 4-mile warm-up run; 8-12mile tempo run anywhere from 4:40 to 5:00min/mile pace (depending on altitude and terrain); 3-mile cool-down run
NOON: Strength and conditioning session (1 hour)
PM: 6-mile recovery run

Wednesday

AM: 12-mile recovery run, followed by a massage.
PM: 5-mile recovery run

Thursday

AM: 11-mile recovery run
PM: 5-mile recovery run

Friday

AM: 4-mile warm-up jog; 10x200m intervals (with 200m recovery jogs) on grass in 29 seconds each rep; 10x200m hill sprints at equal effort, walk back down to recover; 4-mile cool-down run.
NOON: Strength and conditioning session (1 hour)
PM: 4-miles easy

Saturday

AM: 11-mile recovery run, massage
PM: 6-mile recovery run

Sunday

AM: 22-27 miles, no slower than marathon race pace + 1 minute (for Mo, this means 5:40min/mile)

Total: 126-135 miles per week

Training: A 10k Hill Fartleks Session

The moon was just rising bright in the sky on the way to running club

The moon was just rising bright in the sky on the way to running club

Another Wednesday, another club night with Purbeck Runners! We’re now well and truly into autumn with it being dark before we even set off. Gone are the evening runs over sunlit meadows and grassy hills – no, for the next six months it’s pavements and shivering as you step out into the night air. (Actually it was 15 degrees when I got out of the car last night… but you get the idea!)

For once I actually remembered to start my watch at the beginning of the session, so I can say with confidence that we ran for 10.7k last night and this mainly involved steep hills and higher paced circuits of interconnected streets.

Run route Swanage

Hill Fartleks Session

This was a combination session involving fartleks, where you use objects on the street (streetlights in our case) as markers for faster paced sections and hills. So as we run, Coach Ross shouts “SECOND LAMP-POST ON THE RIGHT!” and we all speed up… two minutes jogging then “TO THE TOP OF THIS HILL FAST AS YOU CAN!” etc etc for an hour.

We started off with a warm up jog of 2k which took us up some fairly steep hills in itself. After this we ran two laps of a quiet oval shaped road, which just happened to be a few metres short of 400m – so 800m in total. We then jogged downhill for a minute before sprinting up a steep hill for 300 metres and jogging back down. After a section of 1k easy we then sprinted up another steep hill called Newton Road for 260 metres before jogging slowly again for 5 mins. Then another 200m sprint up an slight incline and sprint back down, easy for 5oo metres back to Newton Road, sprinting up this again – another 400m circuit, another sprint for 300m up a steep hill, back down and a final 2x laps of the road oval to finish – phew! A 2.5km warm down and arrived back at my car just as the heavens opened!

The idea for these sessions is to run small sections faster than you would normally run, to allow you body to make the adaptations needed to run at these faster speeds. The hills are a form of resistance training, forcing your legs muscles to work harder to propel you up the hill meaning even more fitness gains. Looking at my heart rate zones for this session it was spot on, as I spent an equal time in ‘easy’ as I did in ‘sprint’…

 

Training zones heart rate

Heart rate training zones

Session In Summary (approx 2 mins slow jog between each)

2k warmup
SLOW JOG
800m flat @ 5k pace
SLOW JOG
300m hill sprint
SLOW JOG
260m hill sprint
SLOW JOG
200m slight incline sprint
SLOW JOG
200m slight decline sprint
SLOW JOG
260m hill sprint
SLOW JOG
400m flat @ 5k pace
SLOW JOG
300m hill sprint
SLOW JOG
800m @ 5k pace

Next Training

An easy 5k this evening and then nothing else as I rest before Club Championship race 13/14 at the Studland Stampede

Race Review: The @RunBournemouth Marathon Festival ‘Supersonic’ 10k

After watching my dad take part in the very first Bournemouth Marathon Festival 10k last year, I was so impressed with the organisation and atmosphere I vowed to take part this year. So sure enough, I signed up for this years race with hours to spare until applications closed.

Organisation

I don’t usually pay much attention to the organisation of a race – if it’s fairly well organised then you take this for granted and it’s only when it’s supremely awful or completely amazing that you stop to think about how it’s all been put together. The 10k that I did was part of a weekend of running which saw the ‘Speed of Light 5k’ and ‘Supersonic 10k’ happening at 4pm and 7pm respectively on the Saturday and the Half and Full Marathons on the Sunday. The events on the Sunday in particular called for a lot of road closures and traffic management to ensure a smooth event. Even coming towards the event from the other side of Poole I was greeted by electronic traffic signs warning me of the festival…

The finish of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival (image from the BMF Facebook page)

I received my race number around 10 days in advance and this had a chip built into to the back of the number. Nice. The thing I get most anxious about before races is having enough time to find the registration tent and collect and pin my number on!

Come race day I parked in nearby Westbourne and jogged the 15 minutes to the start line as part of my warm up. Upon arrival, again the great organisation was evident. I hadn’t realised that the colour of my race number denoted my finish time and so which ‘pen’ I should start from! I thought at the time that it was amazing that the marshals knew exactly where I should be and guided me through! I arrived at the start line with 15 minutes to go and did a bit of a warm up and stretches in the alcoves of the beach huts that line the promenade at Bournemouth. Then, at 4pm prompt, the countdown began… 10, 9, 8… GO!

The Route

I’d had reports from the 2013 race that the course was actually just over 10k, but I can confirm that my watch said 10, 9.98k to be exact! Basically you start just to the east of the pier (green dot below) run out to the right, back towards where you started, out round the pier (the red bit sticking out into the sea), out to the left (west) and then back to the pier.

Bournemouth Marathon Festival 10k route

The Race

It was only when standing on the start line that I realised that I didn’t have a clue what the route was! Fortunately there was someone I knew at the start line and they told me; 2.5km out along the sea front, 2.5km back, 2.5km out the other side of the pier and 2km back the the start/finish.

This was a race that impressed upon me the psychological influence on running and races. Firstly, the route was split into four clean 2.5k sections so mentally I knew exactly where I was and how far I had to go. Secondly, the impact of such a positive and cheering crowd really does make you run faster! Thirdly, being able to see all the runners trailing behind you as you turn and go back on yourself is a total boost, especially when people are shouting words of encouragement your way!

There was a bit of a wind on the day coming in from the west. This wasn’t too strong but it definitely had an effect on me when running the 5km of the course straight into it – not much, but enough.

I felt really good for the first 5km, awful between 5km and 7.5km and better again with the wind behind me and the end in sight towards the finish! I keep on meaning to try and negatively split a race, that  is, either doing the second half faster than the first half or even doing each km progressively faster than the last. I’m rubbish at this though and never manage it. As you can see below, I started out way too fast and had to then slow down a bit in the middle to recover! There was an inspirational guy doing all four races in the festival over the two days – he overtook me midway through the 10k and was getting lots of cheers! Big well done to the first lady in the 10k too, Serena O’Connor who can’t be older than 16 and raced past me to finish in 37:29!

Pace for the Bournemouth Marathon Festival 10k run

It’s funny as in the final km I felt like I was sprinting, but I was actually going slower than the first km!

Full Bournemouth Marathon Festival  results for all races, the 10k, 5k, marathon and half marathon here

In Summary

A fantastically organised race, with a flat topography and beautiful views out to sea. The atmosphere is what makes this race really special though. I was at the London Marathon in April (spectating not running!) and although there are far more people there, it was more of a continual hum of encouragement. In Bournemouth, the crowds were centred on the start and finish areas and the atmosphere was electric! Like running through the middle of a One Direction concert…

Oh and I got a 10k PB which was nice!

Stats:

Distance: 10k
Time: 38:29
Average Pace: 3:51/km
Average HR: 166bpm
Max HR: 204bpm
Cadence: 179 strides/min

Next Training

Took the day off running on Sunday as although I felt fine, I have the Studland Stampede 12k this coming Sunday so don’t want to put too many miles in this week. Will aim for an easy 5 miles tonight.

 

Training: Relay Race Speed Session

Another week, another speed session! These sessions are what you need though if you’re trying to improve your times at  shorter distances in particular. 5k, 10k and even 10 mile times can be dramatically reduced by introducing weekly speedwork.

Sometimes, doing sessions week in week out you begin to get a little… dare I say it, bored! So it was great to do something different last night that incorporated faster running, but wasn’t just outright circuits.

After 2.5k warm up we stopped in a small, badly lit cul-de-sac called Cauldron Crescent. This had a road that went up hill for 100m and then followed round to the right in an oval shape back to the starting point. We split in to three teams of two and raced around the loop which was approximately 400 metres in total. With a steep hill right at the beginning my legs were DEAD by by the end of the second lap! Always a good sign that you’re working hard… we did four laps here in total.

A short recovery jog later and we were at the next relay start point. This time split in to two groups of three as it was a longer loop of 600 metres and larger teams would allow us a longer recovery time between each loop. We ran several of these before heading off for a 2k warm down.

Stats

Distance: 9.3km
Time: 47:26
Max heart rate: 208bpm
Average pace: 5:16/km

Next Training

A very easy 5k this evening to wind down before the Bournemouth Marathon Festival 10k this Saturday.

Top 5 Best Running Shoes / Trainers for 10 Miles, Half-Marathon or Marathon (Saucony Kinvara 5, Adidas Boost 2, Newton Gravity 3, Nike Flyknit Racer & Asics GT 2000 review)

Earlier on this year I looked at the options for the best racing flats as I was focussing then on gaining even a 1% increase in time from a specialist racing shoe. I’m really pleased I went for the Newton MV3’s as they worked out perfectly and they’ve definitely contributed to the 5/10k PBs I’ve run this year. I’m now searching for the perfect running shoe for the longer distances of 10 miles, a half marathon or even the full marathon. Currently, I wear the Nike Lunarglide 5’s which I originally chose for their adaptive cushioning; I was having a bad time with my ankle/Achille’s and they came highly recommended. Now my situation has changed for two reasons, both of them relating to the racing flats that I now wear for shorter distances.

1) In wearing the more minimalist Newton MV3 racing flats, my ligaments/muscles/tendons have been forced to work as god intended them to, rather than how a cushioned shoe tells them. For a while this meant I was in agony before and after every run however over time, around one month, my body adapted to and even relished the more natural style. It was like a purge or going cold turkey – it really hurt to begin with but I was better for it in the long run (pardon the pun!) So whereas before, I had to think very carefully about the support offered by my running shoes so as not to irritate my ankle, I’m now fully healed and can focus on shoes that make me run fast.

2) Since running in a racing flats for the shorter distances, I’ve got used to the ‘ride’ offered by racing shoes and the lighter weight. In my racing flats I land on the mid-foot, roll quickly to my toes and push off at a faster cadence than before. When I now wear the heavily cushioned Lunarglides now it feels like I’m clip-clopping along from heel to flat forefoot and my Achille’s starts to ache. The Newton MV3 isn’t recommended for half/full marathons as it has a 0mm heel to toe drop and almost no cushioning. I’m looking now for the perfect balance between speed and comfort, erring on the side of speed and with some, but not excessive cushioning.

After much research and trying on of shoes, my top five racing shoes for longer distances are:

Saucony Kinvara 5 – 10mm Drop – Weight: 7.7oz

Now £83.95 from Wiggle

The Kinvara series has been around for a while now and it’s a model that I hear mentioned a lot by other runners – a proper ‘runner’s shoe’. The 10mm heel to toe drop is fine and not so high that you feel you’re balancing over the sole and with a weight of just 7.7oz the Kinvara 5’s are light enough.

In terms of aesthetics, the Kinvara 5’s look fast and come in a variety of colourways.

For this fifth generation, Saucony listened to feedback on durability issues as there were some that complained of the ‘4’ having a upper that was prone to tearing as well as easily worn tread on the outer sole. So the Kinvara 5 has a more flexible and durable mesh, enhanced EVA material in the mid sole and iBR rubber on the outer sole for longer lasting tread.

This is a serious contender for me.

Saucony Kinvara 5 running shoe

Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2 – 10mm Drop – 8.74oz

£94.99 from Wiggle

The Boost technology is probably the most marketed mid sole in the history of running (ok Nike Air was pretty huge but that was basketball/Michael Jordan). In 2012/13 TV ad breaks and magazine pages were covered in promotional images of athletes rising higher off the ground due to this new foam mid sole. Every runner in the London Marathon 2013 wore a number over a #boost advert and at the marathon expo, we were treated to demonstrations of round balls dropping on to standard EVA foam vs Boost foam to show additional bounce from the Boost material.

Adidas Adios Boost 2 Running Shoes

But how to separate fact from fiction, advertising from real world experience? It;s also an assumption here that you want to bounce higher from your heel. Personally, I’ve been working on my technique and trying to not even let my heel touch the ground as all the Elite athletes run on their toes – a more natural running position.

However, there are many pro runners who swear by Adidas Boost. Dennis Kimetto, the brand new marathon world record holder at Berlin wore them, as does Steve Way, 100km Ultra running champion and former marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang as well. Having worn them myself I actually found the heel cushioning harder than the Nike Lunarglides. The difference for me was the bounciness in the mid to forefoot section which did add that welcome boost upon kick off.

Another option here is to go with the original Adidas Adios without the Boost tech. This was and still is widely used by bog standard runners and elites alike – Haile Gebrselassie was a great advocate.

The Boosts are a contender but expensive and not the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn…

Newton Gravity 3 – 3mm Drop – 9oz

I felt I should include Newton’s offering for longer distances given that this brand are my go to shoes for shorter races. The Newtons do force your body to adapt to a more natural ‘Newton’ way of running and this counts for every single shoe they make. I wouldn’t advise jumping straight into a half marathon race in these without first getting your legs used to them.

Newton Gravity 3 running shoe

Newton Gravity 3 running shoe

The Gravity 3 does look good and features five lugs on the forefoot which follow the contours of your feet/toes. It’s this P.O.P.1 system that makes it really hard to walk normally whilst wearing Newtons, but almost tips you forward when you start running.

The Newton Gravity would probably be a lot more appealing if it weren’t so expensive – £110 ($125).

Nike Flyknit Racer -10mm Drop – Weight 5.6oz

These are probably the only serious running shoes that you will also see non runners wearing due to Nike’s wide appeal and the fact that their shoes always look great (in my opinion). They’re light! Oh so light at 5.6oz and with the mega comfy and secure flyknit upper the fit feels like a second skin.

Nike Fly-knitted together

Nike Fly-knitted together

Price-wise these are the most expensive on the market at £130 when bought directly from the Nike website. Looks wise, they’re the best. Materials? Well they are of a very high quality and made from 80% recycled materials too. You know when you buy a pair of Nikes that many, many hours will have gone into research and development to ensure the best shoe for the best athletes. It’s just that you pay for all this at the counter.

Maybe more appealing once the price drops…

Asics GT 2000 – 10mm Drop – Weight: 11oz

£79.90 at Wiggle

The final running shoe on my shortlist is the Asics GT2000. My trail shoes are Asics (Gel Fuji Trainer2) and they have never fit me quite as well as my other shoes. It’s not a sizing issue, more that I can feel each and every contour of the inside of the shoe and so I vowed never to buy any again. Asics are such a highly regarded and widely used brand in running though, that I’d be a fool to not look at a model that comes highly recommended.

Asics GT 2000

The GT 2000 is a highly structured and supportive shoe for those who like the feel of a soft soled shoe. A few years ago I would have made it my mission to find the shoe with the most cushioning in order to soften the impact on my ankle, however this is not now the case. For this reason, plus the relative heaviness (nearly twice the weight of the Nikes) I think I’l be passing on the GT 2000 – I need a racer, not a bouncy castle.

If anyone has any experience with other great shoes for longer distances then I’d welcome your feedback and experiences!