Thursday 18 January 2018

Sonia O'Sullivan's running tips

Sonia O'Sullivan
Sonia O'Sullivan

Sinead seems to have it all worked out, she seems to have worked running into her lifestyle so that it has become something she enjoys and gets so much from.

The one thing I notice Sinead mention is her fear of setting a time goal or aiming for a set pace. It's great to pick an event to look forward to, but I think this can be made so much more rewarding with a target goal and pace to achieve.

Many people will not want to aim for a time because they think it involves speed and training that is a bit more challenging and with this there can be a degree of stress involved, in something that Sinead values for the pleasure and good vibes that she gets from running.

The way to navigate this fear of speed and pace is to find your perfect pace and then the challenge is there in a more controlled manner. This can lead to more direction and a reason for each run, so it is less likely to have those days where you might question yourself particularly if the weather is not so motivating .

When each run you do has a purpose - and sometimes this can be gentle and recovery - it's like a job you need to complete and you will feel more fulfilled .

The perfect pace is faster than jogging but slower than as fast as you can. You will finish the race as quick as you start so you avoid the slowing down that many people experience because they start too fast.

My challenge to Sinead is to discover her perfect pace and use this to get a consistent even pace throughout the Great Pink Run and finish with a smile on her face. If Sinead has a current 5km or 10km time then I can give her some pace suggestions and she will be surprised at how easy it is to maintain a steady pace once you commit to the challenge.

I find I understand this pace more now than when I was competing internationally. It is hard to control your pace when you can go so fast for the shorter distances. Initially I didn't want to know the pace I was running at because I didn't want to know how slow I was going. As an athlete I measured all my pace in miles, but now I measure in kilometres so there is no comparison with my current fitness training to the times I knew as an Olympic athlete.

I'm still working on my perfect pace for the Great Pink run and even though sub 40 minutes would be a nice target time, this may just be a little beyond me. I am currently hovering between 4:04 and 4:09 per km so I've a few weeks to get closer to 4mins/km!

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