Marathon Madness - Trainer Tips To Win The Race part 1

5 Tips for an Amateur Runner Leading into Running Season

Part 1

Neil on the RUN

Neil on the RUN


Whether your aiming to notch up a 5K run around you local park or complete a 20K half run, the full 40K or hit the 26.2-mile New York Marathon  ... preparation is key. 

I'm not much of a runner, yoga's more my jam, so I turned to expert exercise physiologist Neil Russell Exercise Physiologist and owner of Atleta Fitness to write up this piece on how to train for the jog of your life. 

When you start planning your training sessions, there are a number of things that you should consider. These include your strengths and weaknesses, any conditions or injuries that you may have, and of course, your fitness level.

When you start training, remember that progression is the key. Don’t just come to your first session thinking that you are going to run 21km, that kind of thinking generally leads to unnecessary injuries and over training. Build your distance, run intensity and run difficulty (hills!) gradually every training session, also monitor your over all training load week by week.

Remember to factor in some hill sprints and interval training. And train on different surfaces such as on stairs, concrete, grass or even sand to condition your body for any scenario that you may face. You also want to get your body use to the lactic acid build up and other anaerobic byproducts, particularly if you are pushing yourself on for a PB or up hills the day.

In a typical training week, consider adding the following training sessions:

-       Interval Training. Run for 1km, then rest for half the time that it took you to run. Start with 4 x intervals on your first two weeks, then gradually build up to 6 intervals and attempt to complete your intervals in a faster time.

-       Hill Sprints. 5 x 1 minute Hill Sprints with a slow jog or walk back down the hill. This is a shorter training day, but it is a tough one

-       Weights room day. Focus on strengthening your legs, hips and core. Strengthening your whole body is important as you want to maintain good posture throughout your run to help prevent any injuries.

-       Long run day. Run for 40-60 minutes the first week, then add 10 minutes to your long run every week until the event. Keep note of how far you run in this time to give you a good idea of how long your will be running for on race day.


Technique drills are the cornerstone of any good running program. They should be performed as part of the warm up to reinforce good technique in the ensuing training sessions or the race.

Running drills maximises efficiency during running, increase speed or pace and reduce the risk of many common running injuries. They should focus on posture/alignment, foot striking, stride recovery and muscle activation.

 Some drills include:

-       High knees - running keeping perfect posture and quick contact with the ground

-       Butt Kick - running keeping perfect posture

-       Perfect Starts - Standing tall, lean as far forward as you can until you have to take a step, then start running. This will get you running with a slight forward lean, helping you contact the ground underneath your body rather than out in front of your body (striking in front of your body not only decelerates you every stride, but it also puts a lot of stress on the knee joint). This drill, when done correctly, is great for maximising speed and minimising impact.

Perform at the start of every running session.

WANT MORE? Check out the Isowhey® Sports free e-book featuring articles from Neil Russell, Matty Abel- elite endurance athlete, Andrew Pap- elite endurance athlete and Instagram influencer, Matilda Reynolds- professional Triathlete and Belinda Reynolds- Sports Dietitian.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Neil's expert advice on the Health-bird blog

Provided by NEIL RUSSELL VIP TRAINER Atleta Fitness at IsoWhey® Sports


Neil Russell has over 10 years experience in Personal Training, Strength and Conditioning coaching and exercise rehabilitation. He has been a strength and conditioning coach for Australian and NZ representative athletes and a PT for internationally acclaimed actors, models and media personalities.