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

Running Training: Back To Winter Sessions with Fartleks / Hills

Nothing makes me feel that winter is approaching more than leaving the woods, fields and cliff-tops behind, and instead running through the concrete jungle in street-lamp lit twilight. After the fun and games of relays in the park last week, we were now back to pounding the pavements under the watchful eye and guiding voice of Coach Ross AKA ‘Ross The Merciless’. This was an ‘if it aint hurtin’, you aint workin” kind of session and believe me, by the end, my legs were a hurtin’.

The Session

As per usual I forgot to start my watch until just after we’d finished the warmup but I was reliably informed by Doc that   the total session was 6.77 miles (10.8k). My watch made it 8.9k so we must have been running for around 2km before I switched on…

Soooo…. we did a 1.5km warm up of gentle jogging, before starting the intervals. Looking at the stats from my watch, I make it a total of 28 fast paced intervals in 47 minutes. The session was obviously carefully planned by Coach Ross as the elevation (and so the intensity) gradually increased throughout the session, going from warm-up pace, to a flat stretch of intervals, to huge, horrid, hard hills and then graduating downhill to the flat promenade.

I spent 45% of the session in my ‘sprint’ heart rate zone which tallies with a hard hills/intervals session. I could not force my legs to run any faster during the final few intervals – I was spent!

It was also nice to do a few all out sprints in preparation for this Sunday’s athletics meet, where I’m running the 200m, 400m and long jump.

Pace during intervals session

Heart rate zones during intervals session

Elevation of intervals session



Running Training: 1k Intervals Session

I’m going to try and temper my fury at my TomTom GPS watch. It froze midway through this session, started working again only to now refuse to upload the session to the app. Technology eh! So I will have to recount the session from memory…

I’ve really been feeling the benefit of speed sessions recently, I love how you can almost feel yourself getting fitter as you do them! Whenever I can, I go to Poole AC’s track session however I can’t make that this week so had to do a self imposed speed session using my watch as a guide.

Intervals – 1k Fast, 500m Slow

The TomTom has a ‘training’ section that includes intervals – you just set a time or distance for the warm up, each set, rest period, number of set repeats and cool down. This was where I made a small error that resulted in me running 11k instead of 8k! I set the warm up for 2km, following this with 5 sets of 1k repeats at 3:30 m/km pace. I then set the rest periods between each at what I thought was 50 seconds, but what turned out to be 500 metres. So instead of a 50 second stop-and-rest between each 1k sprint, I ran at a slow pace for 500 metres between each. I then finished the session with a 1.5km jog back home/cool down and some static stretches.


Distance: 11k
Time: 55 mins
Average pace: 4:30 m/km

Next Training

After a long run on Sunday and a speed session last night, my legs are noticeably tired so I’m still deciding what to do. I need to use some different muscle groups, so may do some really short sprints OR go swimming… Will see how the evening pans out!

Training: Interval Session (Using New @Tomtom Watch)

Tomtom runner sessions

I can’t have worked myself hard enough at Wednesday’s 1k repeats speed session as last night I had the need…for speed! It was probably to do with the fact that I’d been sat down indoors at a conference all day – my legs were like tightly wound elastic bands by the time I got home and I couldn’t get my trainers on fast enough.

Watch Led Interval Session

Looking at my new Tomtom Runner Cardio watch, I’d noticed that it has the option to run different sessions such as running laps, running to set goals (distance/time/calories), intervals or within different heart rate zones (using the in-built heart monitor). As I felt in the mood for speed, I selected the ‘intervals’ option including a 1k warm up, 4x 400m sprints with a three minute rest between each, followed by a 2k warm down.

It worked really well! Which surprised me as I’ve never really got along with setting sessions on a GPS watch. It took me just 20 seconds to set the session up, with the hardest part being deciding how much of a rest period to give myself between each! With each change or section/pace the watch buzzed on my wrist and signalled that the fast/slow parts had started/finished.

The Run

The run itself was a tale of two halves along country lanes. I failed to take into account the fact that the first 4k of my route was largely downhill, with a killer hill at 4k, which happened to coincide with the start of one of my 400 metre efforts! Well there was no way I could sprint 400 metres up that hill so I opted for just a slightly faster pace. The 400 metre sprints combined with the previous night’s session must have taken their effect, as it was all I could do just to jog around the remainder of the 8k route!

Total distance: 8km
Total time: 35:19

Workout on Strava (blue line pace, red line heart rate)

Run Strava

Next Training

5k tonight very slow then a 5k race on Saturday.

Training: Track Session


Ah, the last track session in the dark before the clocks go forward on Sunday! It was VERY hard to leave the house for training last night… Dinner was bubbling on the stove, TV was on and it was freezing cold, raining and dark outside. All I have to do though is visualise myself getting a PB and remember how great it feels! That was enough to get changed and get out of the door.

The Training

This was my weekly speed session at the local athletics track. I arrived early so headed to the track to begin my warm up and stretches, running five gentle laps (2000m) before even starting the speed work. The session itself was intervals with roughly a one, to one and a half minute rest period between each. The total distance for the speed work was 5400 metres, divided into three sets of 400m x 600m x 800m. With ‘The Big Race‘ coming up on Sunday I resolved to take it a little easier than usual. The 400’s I ran in around 1:10, the 600’s in 1:55 and the 800’s in 2:50. Of course having not pushed myself as fast as I usually would in preparation for Sunday, it felt like I had loads left in the tank after but this is a good thing – plenty for Sunday!


Next Training

An easy to tempo paced 10k with club tonight #tapering

Training: The Track Session

This week’s track session was broken down into 5 x 1000m repeats, with 2 minute rests between each. With frost beginning to settle on the ground and steamy breath rising from each person, a decent warm up was a must so I ran a 2k slow pace as soon as I arrived, building in a few dynamic stretches and sprints as I went.

Fully warmed up we took to the track did the five repeats. 1000 metres is two and a half times round the track, although it feels a lot further when you’re 800 metres into your final repeat! I perhaps was guilty of holding back a little as I was off to play football for an hour straight afterwards!

My average pace for the session was 5:40 minute miles. As stated in my previous posts about speed sessions, the focus was on maintaining a consistent pace throughout the session to keep the body’s effort increased for the full session. Well my pace looks pretty consistent! :

Consistent speed session pace

Training: Intervals and Hill Repeats

Time To Run

With my wife currently training for the London Marathon and two little kiddiewinks in the equation, finding time for the 10k training regime I’ve set myself is tricky, particularly in these dark winter evenings…

So this is how I found myself pacing up and down our hallway all dressed and ready to run at 8:45pm on a Thursday evening, waiting for the car headlights to appear on our drive. At dead on 9pm, my wife returned (she’d done 8 miles) and in a quick change of shift I ran out of the door in to the brisk night air.

The Interval Session

The problem with our village is that only certain streets have been deemed important enough to have streetlights. It’s for this reason that I was wearing a headtorch, although there’s something about being the only patch of light on a long dark street that makes you feel a bit exposed – it did make me run a bit faster though!

The aim for tonight was to get in some high paced intervals with a few hills chucked in for good measure. Tonight was essentially about making my breathing as laboured as possible, consistently for at least25-30 30 mins. I ran a 1k easy warmup before hitting a nice long flat road which is sprinted down for 2 minutess. At the end of this was a nice steep hill of 200-300 metres or so which I ran down and up and then (after an easy 2 mins recovery) sprinted back the way i’d just come.

This was followed by a series of intervals of increased pace before returning to the hill at the beginning for a sprint up it.

I was well and truly SHATTERED! Job done! Disclaimer: This isn’t how you’re meant to do an interval session – this on Run Britain is how you’re meant to do an interval session. It should be a lot more scientific with a specific pace (often your goal 10k pace) for the faster bits, but hey, it was dark and I couldn’t see my watch so I just did it based on perceived effort.

Next Training:

Easy 30 mins this evening, followed by Poole Parkrun tomorrow morning. Then a 90 minute run on Sunday. I may even join my wife for her 18 miles marathon training run on Sunday morning, eek!