Jo Pavey shares her favourite road session and talks Saucony Ride 13

To support the launch of the Saucony Ride 13, five-time Olympian and Saucony ambassador, Jo Pavey shares her favourite road session to use the shoes for, her top tips on pacing long runs, running longevity and plans for the future.

Why I like the Saucony Ride 13

I love the new Saucony Ride 13, they feel great. I really like the PWRRUN cushioning it has just the right balance between providing protection from impact whilst feeling responsive. They feel very lightweight for the amount of cushioning they provide.

The upper feels very comfortable and breathable and they have great grip. They’re such a perfect all round shoe for runners as they’re fantastic for long runs but also have a dynamic enough feel for road interval sessions.

Suggested road sessions:

The Saucony Ride 13 is great for sessions on the road. Examples of sessions:

  • 6 X 1 mile with 90 seconds recovery
  • 20 minutes tempo effort, 4 minutes recovery, then repetitions of 90 seconds, 60 seconds, 45 seconds and 30 seconds, all with 1 minute recovery.
  • 2 x 15 minutes tempo with 3 minutes recovery between. 4 minutes recovery then 4 x 30 seconds with 30 seconds recovery.
  • 5 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 1 minute. All with 1 minute recovery.

Remember to always include a good warm up and cool down.

Plans for the future: 

My main aim is to have a track season next year combined with some road racing. Of course, there is a lot of uncertainty for all runners regarding what events or championships will be able to take place. I have been keeping my training going in recent times, at the start of the year I was just about to kick off my racing plans and was going to the track regularly with the aim of competing at the 10K trial in Highgate.

Set goals

Obviously over the last few weeks and months with the pandemic the situation changed. I think the lockdown has made me appreciate how much I love running all the more. It gives me a real boost to get out for a run and take in the scenery often having fun keeping active with the rest of my family too. I also love to set myself goals and I’m looking forward to more events being able to take place again.

I would love to compete in a sixth Olympics, although of course I know this is a very tough target and there are no firm guarantees that the games will be able to take place in its normal format. Whatever happens I will enjoy the journey and continue to give it a go and enjoy it.

How fast to pace your long and easy runs, the importance of an easy run

It can be difficult to judge the pace of your long run. It’s easy to start off too hard and end up struggling and slowing down dramatically towards the end. A guide is to run your long run at around 55 – 75 percent of your 5K pace. So perhaps try starting off at the slower end of this guidance and then build into a slightly quicker pace in the second half of the run. The pace of your long run will also depend on what you want to get out of the run and which event you are targeting.

Shorter distances

If you’re focusing on shorter distances like 5K or 10K you may want to run your long run at a fairly easy pace and not run too far, this will allow you to focus on the interval sessions in your schedule. However, if you’re preparing for a marathon, long runs will be a more significant part of your schedule, so it’s likely to be longer and you’ll probably want to run some of it at a set pace.

Remember that sometimes your long run will feel tough, and sometimes it’s good to push through. But if you’re feeling abnormally tired ease off a bit from your intended pace and don’t be afraid to cut it a bit short. 

Consistent training is all about being sensible, running too hard or too far on your long run could result in you taking a while to recover and encroach too much on your training over the next few days. Smart watches and heart rate monitors are helpful for monitoring pace and effort, although it’s good to develop a good natural awareness of perceived effort too.

Easy runs are important

Easy runs are also an important part of your training schedule to recover from hard training. Running easy allows you to run and keep things moving whilst reducing the risk of injury, it gives your body a chance to repair itself if you’re not pushing too hard. It’s also thought that by running easy the day after a hard workout it provides a good training stimulus by running in a slightly fatigued state, this is useful if done sensibly. Easy runs should be done at a pace at which you can hold a conversation or a guide is to run at around 60% of your maximum heart rate.

How to maintain longevity/consistency as a runner

The key to longevity and consistency as a runner is training smart and giving attention to recovery and nutrition. Your schedule needs to match your current situation with regards to your conditioning, fitness levels and taking into account whether you’re carrying any injury niggles.

The schedule needs to be well planned but it should be thought of as a flexible plan. It’s important to always listen to your body and dont be afraid to adapt your training or take extra rest days when necessary. It’s during the recovery time that the body adapts to the training stimulus.

Progress sensibly

Remember to progress your training sensibly and introduce any new components such as faster speed work or strength and conditioning work gradually. Try to run on softer surfaces like trails or grass for some of your training to reduce the impact through your joints, it’s also so lovely to take the opportunity to run in beautiful surroundings on trail runs.

Most runners do tend to suffer an injury setback at some point, but how you deal with the injury will affect the impact it has. Be positive and proactive, get the right advice and treatment as soon as possible so that you can do the right things to recover as quickly as you can.

Mix up your training

Try to keep some sort of training routine going if you can’t run by cross training in a pool or using a cross training machine or stationary bike. To help avoid injury be diligent with stretching and try to get regular massage, working on your core strength will help too.

Good nutrition is important to help with both recovery from training and for fueling up for your next workout. Eat a good balanced diet with plenty of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates, ensuring plenty of fruit and vegetables but don’t deny yourself treats, it’s all about having a healthy balance.

Footwear choice

Footwear is also important, make sure you choose a decent pair of shoes, like the Saucony Ride 13, with adequate cushioning and support to enable you to train consistently.

Longevity and consistency in running is a lot to do with enjoyment. Setting yourself a goal in your running is so motivating, it gives you focus and something to aim for. You can set yourself mini goals as you work towards your main target, achieving these mini goals will give you a real boost.

There can be ups and downs along the way but by relishing the challenge you can enjoy the journey whatever the outcome. Find a way to fit running around your busy life, you may find that you can enjoy time with your family and friends by keeping active together.

Make it social

Engage the social side of the running community too by joining a group, taking part in events, when it’s possible as of course we are experiencing restrictions at the moment due to the pandemic. It’s nice however to be able to still be able to engage with social networking sites for runners as a way to keep in touch.

As your running career progresses you can use all the experience you’ve gained to your advantage rather than thinking of ageing as a negative thing. As time goes on you’ll learn more about what training works best for you and how to relate times you’re hitting in training to what you might be able to achieve in a race or time trial.

Best tricks for gradually increasing your long run pace and distance

You’ll need to make sure you progress the pace and distance of your long run sensibly and gradually to reduce the risk of injury. The pace you’re able to sustain for your long run will be greatly improved by other aspects of your training. During interval sessions, you’ll be doing workouts where you’re running much faster than your long run pace. This will improve your running economy and form and make it easier for you to hold a decent pace for a longer period of time.

Core Stability

Core stability work will also help with maintaining running form when you run. Another great way of working on improving the pace of your long run is to break up your long run into segments. For example, if your long run is 15 miles try 5 miles steady, 5 miles at a harder effort at you target pace then the final 5 miles steady again. You can then progress the length of the section that you can hold at target pace.

Progression runs are also great, try gradually increasing the pace during the run and finish with a faster section.

Only increase by 10% each week

When considering increasing the length of your long run, a rule of thumb is to not to increase your long run by more than around 10% each week. But it’s good to take an occasional easier week and some runners also find it can fit better to do a long run every 8 to 10 days rather than every 7 days.

Other factors will make the progression of your long run more successful like ensuring your well fueled up and hydrated beforehand and having a good strategy for taking on fluids and/or gels during the run. An easy day the day before your long run is a good idea to make you fresher beforehand.

A high-quality running shoe with good cushioning and support is also important to help you successfully tick off the miles.

The importance of a long run

Long runs are an important part of a running schedule, they boost your aerobic capacity and improve your ability to keep running at a decent pace for longer. Your musculoskeletal system is also strengthened and more able to cope with impact fatigue that sets in after a lot of miles.

There are many other physiological benefits that longer runs can gradually improve such as increased capillarisation in the muscles leading to more oxygen available to the muscles when running. The density of mitochondria, which metabolise energy within the cell, can also increase.

Additionally, long runs improve the body’s ability to store glycogen in your muscles and liver and increase the ability to use fat as fuel and make you more efficient. Running a long run also trains the mind, helping you to rehearse the mental strength to keep going when things get tough!

You can find out about the Saucony Ride 13 at their website HERE.