Tuesday, 27 January 2015

How Striders can help your spring marathon training

The loneliness of the long distance runner is not a problem if you’re a member of St Albans Striders!

We’ve got a range of training sessions that can help you if you’re targeting a spring marathon, while there are lots of running events on offer in the local area too. Here’s a few examples…


Striders usually meet for long group runs at 8am by the track on Saturday mornings. Check the Facebook page or the messageboard for arrangements or to organise your own.
Get ready for the marathon start line by training with Striders

Meanwhile, our pub runs are always on the last Saturday of the month, starting at 10.30am from The Elephant & Castle pub in Amwell, near Wheathampstead. These involve a steady run of 5/7 miles over a country route at a "conversational" pace before returning for a light lunch at the pub at midday. Everyone is welcome (you can even forgo the run and just go to the pub!)

Gade Valley Harriers stage three ‘London Marathon Training Runs’ in the build up to the big event. The first was a 12 miler last weekend but if you missed it, there’s still a 17 miler on Sunday 22nd February and then a 20 miler on Sunday 22nd March, both starting at 9.30am. These are organised runs along quiet country roads through Ashridge Forest, with a small section on the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. The route is marshalled and there are water stations but it’s not a race and no results are recorded. They’re open to all abilities and offer a great opportunity to run with company on a pretty, measured route. Plus there’s cake at the finish! Use the messageboard or Facebook page if you’d like to arrange car sharing to the start with other Striders. For more details, visit http://www.gadevalleyharriers.co.uk/london-marathon-training-runs/


Speed work shouldn’t be neglected when you are marathon training. It will improve your cardiovascular fitness, V02 max and burn more calories than an easy paced run. It also makes a change from plodding the streets, keeping your marathon schedule more interesting.

Striders meet at 7pm every Tuesday for interval sessions on both the track and roads. The current track schedule is geared towards middle to long distance runners with some extra options for those marathon training. Combined with a warm up and warm down, doing an interval session will boost your mileage as well as your fitness. View the track schedule here.


Also on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm, Striders offer a number of group runs at various paces, usually 5 to 7 miles in distance. You might find one of the runs is at your target marathon pace which offers an ideal opportunity to practise running at that speed. Or come along and run at a leisurely pace and have a chat as the minutes tick by.


St Albans parkrun takes place at 9am every Saturday morning in Verulamium Park. It’s free to take part, you just need to register on their website and print off a barcode to take along on the day in order to appear in the results.

Running to and from the event can boost your weekly mileage again without you really noticing it. As parkruns are a ‘timed run’ rather than a race, you don’t need to be competitive if you don’t want to be. You could run it at your target marathon pace to get used to how that feels.

You could also be a ‘parkrun tourist’ and go and try the other events now being held nearby in Panshanger, Tring and South Oxhey.


Doing a race such as a 10k or half marathon in the build up to a marathon provides the perfect opportunity to test your fitness and practise your race strategy. There are a number of races locally and further afield over the coming weeks so if you’re not sure which to choose, consider doing one that’s part of our Club Champs competition so you can earn some extra points. For a full list of the club champs races click here.


We’re nearing the end of the cross country season but there are still opportunities to compete on the mud in February (and March if you qualify for the Inter-counties or if you’re a vet). Check out the cross country guide for the remaining fixtures. Don’t think cross country isn’t for you if you’re targeting a road marathon – they will strengthen your legs and improve your stamina and endurance, all things you need to tackle 26.2 miles.

All of the above is open to Striders who aren’t mad enough to be doing a marathon too!

If you're not already a member, find out how to join us here, you are welcome to try a few sessions before signing up.

Happy training!

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