Back to running.

One of the hardest things about trying to run long distances is that in theory your training runs should be long to prepare yourself. Long runs means a long time spent running. No doubt for some this is therapeutic but for others (i.e. me) it’s a real struggle to find the time and even if I could, I don’t want to spend all of my free time running.

With this in mind, I have come up with a variety of training ‘runs’ that I can do in 15-20 min on any given day that seem to do a pretty good job of keeping me in long-distance shape. I combine this with a longer run every few weeks (maybe more regularly as a race gets closer), for a preparation that is a lot more achievable and time-efficient than trying to find time for 100km of running each week.

The aim of the 15-20min training is to work hard. It invariable involves some kind of sprints so that you are still pushing your body. A few of the sessions that I have found to be effective are:

  1. Beep test – this seems to give the most value for time. Before my first marathon, I would do at least one of these each week. Getting to a 15 or 16 (I maxed out at 16.1) only takes 15 minutes and you recover fairly quickly afterwards without much fatigue.
  2. Hill sprints – again for 15 minutes only, I have found that sprints up a hill are great for both building leg strength and leaving you out of breath.
  3. Skipping – I find this particularly helpful for ankle and calf strength as this is a weak point for me. You can also get pretty creative with this as there are so many variations. I generally skip for 10min and then do 200 double unders to finish.
  4. Soft sand – everything is harder in soft sand! I also find that regular soft sand running seems to do a good job for injury prevention for me. In 15 minutes you can get a serious workout in with a combination of sprints, lateral shuffles, backwards etc.

These are just a few variations that I have found to be really good at building long-distance running ability in a short time-frame.



I’ve signed up to run a marathon in late October this year. It’s advertised as an ‘adventure’ marathon, and judging by the finish times last year, I’m going to be in for around 4 hours and 30 minutes of running.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how my body and mind hold up for that length of continuous exercise. Barring any crazy training runs, it will be the longest I have ever run time-wise. I’ve done a road marathon before but that only took me around 3:00 so doing half of that time on top should be pretty interesting.

I find that the knowledge that I will be pushing myself further than I have before is almost a necessity to motivate me for this kind of thing. I could have signed up for a half marathon, but the fact that I know I could finish that comfortably takes away most of the interest in doing it.