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Eastleigh 10k – 10 day countdown with Next Step Running & goPhysio

Posted on 9th March 2018 by

After a somewhat unexpected and disruptive week of snow, it has been nice to see a return to the normality of early spring…lovely to see the sun and of course rain and near impossible to do a run without thinking you have too many / too few layers on!

The run up to the Eastleigh 10k always includes a daily weather watch and such is our British weather in March there is no guessing what the weather will be on the day. Hint of summer sun…or return to biting winds and rain?? We will see.

Last night, we were joined by Running Coach, Mike Chambers from Next Step Running and 13 keen runners who have signed up for the 2018 installment of the ever growing and popular Eastleigh 10k road race, to talk through their last 10 days preparation…and yes this included the weather!

Mike has kindly written this guest blog post for us.

The evening began with introductions with a mixed audience of first time 10k runners through to the more experienced runners in the hunt for a new PB. But what unites all us runners is the thirst for information to improve your running and the mind games that go on in your head in those final few days.

We talked through dealing with nerves, trying to get the whole thing in some perspective compared with the really important things in our lives….and could we all run a little bit more like Eluid Kipchoge…not as fast but at least with a smile on our face!


One of the hot topics of debate for this evening (and every evening you spend with a group of runners) was focused on the last week of training and tapering before a key race. The greatest fear among many new runners is getting to the start line tired from training in the last week, but in my experience, backing off too much is more likely to leave you feeling flat come the big day. Our bodies crave routine, so just take out some of the volume (30%), just tweak the intensity down a notch and keep the same number of running days….and don’t go to Ikea the day before race day! Easy runs with ‘race pace’ strides (4 or 5 x 30 second bursts) or even ‘pick up’ miles at the end on your easy runs is a simple taper for new runners over a 10k distance. This will keep your body in tune with the pace needed on the day, without digging too deep.


And of course we talked about food! In a world of super foods and diet programmes and get fit quick solutions, I like to keep things simple. As long as you are eating a sensible balanced diet, keep to it, no major changes and no major carb load! The small taper in your training in the last week will act as a carb load if you maintain your usual diet. Yes, to a carb based meal the night before, but more importantly, graze through Saturday with little and often approach to snacks. And we tried to dispel myths and one claim on the night that new research suggested you don’t need any carbs at all!


Make sure your body is hydrated through those last few days, and don’t go chugging water Sunday morning…you will feel heavy…and be in a long queue for the toilet. Keep up some electrolyte in take through a sports drink on the day. Gels – realistically unless running over 70-80 minutes for the 10k, you wont need fueling during the race, your body will have all the glycogen stores you need to fire you to the finish.

Race Day Prep

Most runners I know are creatures of habit and getting the timetable right on the day is critical to avoid a full meltdown! This works best by working backwards from the race start time, breakfast around 2 hours before this. Thinking through travel and parking on the day. Kit laid out day before (OK, I will be honest, I have laid my kit out at least 3 days before!!). Race number pinned on and check and double check have everything you need…..remember the weather…this could be vest or t shirt, but equally we may be looking at base layer, hat and gloves. A layer to keep on to the very last minute also worth having.

Race day is about trusting in your training and committing to what you set out to do, be it just get round or chasing that PB. Visualise achieving your goal, crossing the line and getting the medal and t-shirt will help you to make that your reality.

Next Step Running LogoSo, to all of you doing your first 10k, chasing a new PB or whatever your motivation for getting out there on race day, smile, commit to your pace and the very best of luck.

Mike Chambers, Running Coach

Next Step Running 


Transitioning from Parkrun to 10k

Posted on 1st January 2018 by

Parkrun started back in 2004 when 13 runners got together on a blustery day in Bushy Park, Teddington, UK. It is now an international family of over half a million runners (and Parkruncounting). The Saturday morning 5km is a regular event in many diaries. With the Hendy Eastleigh 10k and many other longer distance running events round the corner, having nailed a 5k, you may have your sights set on more of a challenge!

So, how do you make the leap from 5k?

When you first started running you probably followed a plan and gradually increased the distance and your body adapted to allow you to run 5km quite happily. Now you want to be able to run even further, this may seem daunting at the beginning. So why not go back to basics and follow the same principle you had when training for 5km.

  1. Set yourself a goal for when you want to be able to achieve 10km, maybe book yourself onto a 10km race, like the Hendy Eastleigh 10k, so you have a goal in mind.
  2. Once you have your goal, follow a training plan that gradually increase your distance each week. There are lots of apps that enable you to enter a date and a distance goal and work backwards and formulate a training plan for you. Just make sure it’s realistic, too much too quickly can overload your body and not give it time to adjust, which is a risk for picking up an injury.
  3. Why not join a running club or seek help from a running coach for advice, tips, and tricks to help your transition from 5km to 10km.
  4. Ensure you have varied distance and speed runs within your training. Use hills and interval training too to add different dimensions to your training.
  5. Listen to your body, if increasing the distance is too hard one week, don’t beat yourself up. Do what you can, the training plan is just a guide.
  6. Allow your body to recover, have rest days. If we don’t allow ourselves rest days, the body does not have time to repair and recover from your last run.
  7. Add in some cross training, try Pilates to improve your movement control, strength and stability, giving you a great stretch and recovery session. Why not go for a swim for some cardiovascular training without the stresses and pressures on you body.
  8. If you start to get a reoccurring niggle or injury get it assessed as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse.
  9. Listen to some music, an audio book or podcast whilst you run or run with friends to keep the training fun.
  10. Ensure you cool down, stretch, or foam roll. Try using a trigger point MB5 or MB1 ball, which is a great way to release those tight muscles before and after your runs.

Most important of all is to enjoy your training, monitor your progress and don’t panic if you are slightly behind your training schedule remember that is only a guide to help you progress.



Runners – How to maximise your training time!

Posted on 26th June 2017 by

A lot of runners get stuck into a rut of running the same route at the same pace week in, week out. Whilst this is a fine way of maintaining our current fitness level it is not going to be enough to help us run further or faster. Even just adding the miles at our habitual comfortable pace will only lead to modest improvements in our endurance.

To really get the most out of our training we need to add variety. This challenges both our muscles and our energy systems in new ways to increase the rate at which they adapt to our training. Not only that but it has the added psychological bonus of experimenting with new routes and new training regimes to help keep us motivated and reduce risk of injury.

If you’re short on time the great news is that you don’t need to spend hours pounding away on the tarmac to achieve significant changes in your speed and endurance – you’re likely to get more benefit from a 30 minute higher intensity interval session than from a 1.5 hour run, although they both have their place!

There are 4 main types of training every runner should have in their programme:

  • Long slow run (LSR)
  • Tempo run
  • Speed/hill/interval session
  • Cross training

Long slow run

The LSR should be your longest (and slowest!) run of the week, the one which you gradually add miles to. This steady state sub-maximal training helps to build capillary density and increases number of mitochondria in your muscle cells which are an important part of our aerobic energy system. By doing this we increase the endurance and efficiency of both our cardiovascular system and our muscles. It also primes our tendons and bones to increase their stiffness to cope with gradually increases distances.

Tempo run

Tempo pace is described as ‘comfortably hard’. It is the maximum pace that we can sustain for approximately 1 hour. You should not be able to talk in full sentences but also not gasping for air if you are working in tempo zone.

Training in the ‘tempo zone’ means you are working at or just below your lactate threshold i.e. the point where the bodies ability to remove lactate from the blood is overtaken by the amount of lactate being produced.

As lactate levels increase the body begins to feel fatigued. Therefore by training just below our threshold we gradually increase it – this means we delay the onset of fatigue, helping us run further and faster.

Tempo runs should start with a 10 min warm up then aim to run for 20 minutes at the fastest pace you could sustain for 1 hour. As this gets easier you can gradually increase the time in the tempo zone up to 60 minutes.

Speed/hill/interval session

There are thousands of different ways to do interval sessions. These are the work outs that are going to increase your overall speed and power. They need to be short but hard – if you aren’t out of breath at the end you didn’t do it right! Don’t try to add intervals to your long runs, you won’t be able to work maximally and so you won’t get the full benefit. These sessions should last about 30 minutes in total, allowing 5-10 minutes for warm up and some recovery time in the middle. The fitter you are the shorter the recovery periods you’ll need between intervals and the more sets you can add.

Here’s a few ideas:


Begin with: 10 min warm up, run 1 min mod-hard effort: 1 min easy jogging x 5
Progress to: 10 min warm up, 1 min max effort with 90 secs recovery x 10

Hill training

Begin with: 10 min warm up, 3 x 30 secs moderate effort uphill, walking back down
Progress to: 5 x 1min hard effort uphill, jogging back down with 30-60secs rest in between sets
Start with smaller hills then progress to steeper ones!

Cross training

Cross training means doing something other than running! This allows ‘active rest’ – working different muscle groups to running which prevents muscle imbalance but also training our running muscles in different ways to allows greater strength adaptations without overloading the tendons and joints.

Low impact options are great so try swimming or cycling for cardio. Pilates helps to build up your core postural muscles, making you more efficient when you run, and resistance training using relatively light weights and high repetitions allows you to strengthen and tone muscles without gaining muscle mass.

If you’ve got a race coming up, like the Winchester Half Marathon, which is particularly hilly, mixing up your training is crucial.

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Post Marathon Recovery Tips

Posted on 23rd April 2017 by

Whatever your running challenge, whether you’ve run a full 26.2 miles at The London Marathon, ABP Southampton Marathon, the 13.1 miles ABP Half or taken part in a 10k or 5k run, these events can take their toll on your body and mind.

What you do post race plays an important part in your recovery, just like your training and race preparation.

Here’s our top tips to maximise your recovery

  1. Keep hydrated, drink plenty of fluids following the race and in the days after.
  2. Take a bath in Epsom salts and alternate this with a contrasting cool bath or shower to really stimulate circulation.
  3. Make sure you keep moving. However tempting it is to just collapse in an exhausted heap and have a few relaxing days, if you can keep your body lightly active it will help your recovery. Doing some gentle alternative exercise such as swimming or yoga can really help in the week or so after an event. It can take about 2 weeks post marathon for your muscles to return to full strength, so ease back into running gradually.
  4. Increase your protein intake following the event to aid the recovery process.
  5. Invest in a post event sports massage. This will help ease any muscle stiffness and soreness, and improve recovery rate. The best timing for a light massage is 1 to 3 days post event, or 3 to 5 days post event for a deeper tissue massage. You can also use a foam roller, massage stick or massage ball to ease up and loosen out tight areas.

Read More: Exercise Pain – What you need to know about DOMS

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