Runner in park

During this crisis we all need to KISS!

KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid or Keep It Short and Simple! This famous acronym, believed to be coined in 1960 as a design principle by the US Navy, may be the best way for runners to cope with the extended Coronavirus lockdown, according to resident runABC coach Alan Newman.

When the First Secretary of State, Dominic Raab announced the gut wrenching but highly anticipated extension of the lockdown for a further three weeks to 7 May, it was time to get real in a virtual world. The positive thinkers among us take the view that we are not stuck in lockdown but staying safe in our homes.

The good news is we can still get out for daily exercise. In fact, there has been some welcome clarification to Regulation 6, Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 – widely referred to as the Coronavirus Act 2020. Guidance that was issued by the Crown Prosecution Service before the Easter weekend was only recently made public by the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) - see details at the NPCC website.

This states there must be a 'reasonable excuse' for leaving home, rather than the widely reported Government advice that we must only leave home if it is 'essential'. The guidance confirms you can drive to 'the countryside' to take exercise, 'where far more time is spent walking (as an example of exercise, which includes running) than driving'. Also deemed reasonable is 'exercising more than once per day – the only relevant consideration being whether repeated exercise on the same day can be a reasonable excuse for leaving home'.

At last we have confirmation that a walk to the shops, with or without the family pooch, can be followed by a run in the countryside a short drive away. Let's face it, the last people likely to fall foul of the Corona-cops are purposeful athletes like we all aspire to be, or at least appear to be!

So how do we make the most of our limited opportunities for training? Alan recommends having a weekly plan with distinct sessions on different days – one way at least to remember which day of the week it is! In Alan's case, that is speedwork on Tuesday and Thursday (his normal club nights); 60-90 minute run on Sunday; 5K time trial on alternate Saturdays.

Some examples of speedwork, using KISS principles, based on duration of run are:

30-minute sessions

12 x 60 seconds / 60 seconds recovery

8 x 2 mins / 60 seconds recovery

'Stepping Stones' – warm up 5 mins; then increase pace each 5 mins; warm down 5 mins

45 minute sessions

6 x 4 mins / 2 mins recovery

4 x 6 mins / 4 mins recovery

'Out and Back Pickup' – run steady out for 20 mins; run hard back in rather less time

60 minute sessions

4 x 10 mins / 5 mins recovery

Warm up 10 mins; 40 mins tempo; warm down 10 mins

'Stepping Stones' – warm up 10 mins; then increase pace each 10 mins; warm down 10 mins

Pick and mix your way through these over the next few weeks – select one or more speed sessions according to your level of experience and boost your immune system while waking up those fast twitch fibres. Add one longer run and recovery runs to suit and you'll be fit to race again, when the time comes. Good luck and we'll see you on the start line soon.

For more advice in this series, see our previous articles below.

Keep calm and run on...24 March

Socially responsible running...28 March

Run safely, stay strong...3 April

Train, don't strain...14 April

Image by Jennifer Shawker courtesy Unsplash

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