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Less is more

by Robert Britton
Monday 23rd May 2016
Tags  Robbie Britton   |   Ben Riddell   |   Run Smarter
Everyone knows that to run faster you just have to run more miles right? Who ever runs the most miles in a week will be the World Champion (of Strava?) and no one actually needs to turn up and race any more.
Well we actually have six day races and unless you’re clocking 1000km plus then you’re not actually doing anything close to the World Best and maybe you will have to turn up and race every now and again. Sometimes less is more.
This was something highlighted to me recently when speaking to specialist 5k-marathon coach Ben Riddell of Run Smarter, who has had a great start to the 2016 season, with a strong performances in the UK followed up by a win at the Cluses 10k and a podium against international competition in a 23km race in Lyon.

Robbie collage 1

2016 has seen a focus on less mileage each week and more emphasis on the quality of track and tempo sessions before Ben moved out to Chamonix with his girlfriend GB Mountain Runner Sarah Tunstall and has literally been bouncing up the hills since his arrival.

It’s something that many could learn from, the author included, as we focus on getting more miles each week and often end up chasing arbitrary totals as opposed to making sure our training is fit for purpose and making us stronger, faster and more efficient at what we do. Ultras runners especially fall foul of this for a number of reasons.
It takes a strong resolve to drop down your mileage when the general consensus always seems to hint that mileage is king but this runner is going to take a leaf out of Ben’s book and spend a block of training after the Highland Fling ultra race training like a 5-10k runner and working on speed and speed endurance. It may take all my efforts not to go out and clock up an extra few miles each day but the benefit of hitting track and hill sessions with fresh legs will become apparent quite quickly one imagines.

Robbie collage 2

Some think it sacrilegious to entertain the thought of track sessions in a mountain town like Chamonix, with so many picturesque trails all around, but Ben and I both think that every mountain town needs a track. Speed training will benefit runners of all levels and should be part of your schedule if you’re a 800m lightning merchant or a 24hr diesel engine. Increase your maximum capacity and the pace you run in a longer race becomes just that little bit easier.
You can’t ignore the other elements of training and just take on the life of a 100m sprinter, not that I would have the strength of character to have so little running in my week, but we should all have a look at recent years and ask the question: “Am I running too much?”
We will keep you updated from the track on how the speed work goes in May and June but don’t be afraid to get in contact if you have any questions and don’t fear the low mileage. It could be just what you need.


About The Author

Robert Britton

Robbie is a 100 mile runner who is a member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad and Team Centurion and likes to run ridiculous distances as quickly as possible.

To provide enough food to feed a monster running habit, Robbie coaches other ultra marathon runners through www.robbiebritton.co.uk and is also a member of the coaching team at Centurion Running. He likes to dabble with a bit of writing so that others can learn from his mistakes and enjoy the sport as much as he does.

Robbie is also a is a Profeet ambassador.


"Pain is inevitable, suffering is just part of the fun"


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