How they train – Susan Partridge

The diet and miles of marathon tempo that could see Leeds runner fly in London

Posted on March 31, 2011 by
Tagged with + + +
Susan Partridge (Getty Images)

Susan Partridge does most of her training alone, due mainly to the fact that she does not live near her training partners at Leeds City AC. On Tuesdays, though, she tries to travel to the club to train with the group and occasionally meets them for a long run.

“I think it’s important to try and do some training with other people as it makes it easier in the harder sessions,” she says. “I also try to get back up to Glasgow as often as possible to train with my coach, John Montgomery, but that’s not easy.”

Montgomery has coached her for 14 years and the relationship works well from a distance. He gains a better idea of how things are progressing when he sees it for himself.

“I also love going back home to my parents’ house in Argyll, where I grew up. Training up there is great with lots of forestry tracks and quiet road runs around the Loch. I’m as happy training in Scotland as I am anywhere else in the world,” she adds.

Her morning run is done before work and then her second run is usually late afternoon just after work. Tuesdays and Saturdays are session days and sometimes a tempo run is done on a Thursday. Sundays are long run days and in her marathon preparation she also does a medium-long run during the week.

Races are often used as part of her training and she sometimes enters half-marathons or 20-mile races as part of controlled training runs. She says: “I like to get a good half-marathon in at some stage during the build-up as it’s usually good for boosting my confidence.”

She has recently been to Boulder, Colorado, for a month where she’s been training with Steve Jones and his group. “I’ve joined in with most of their sessions as the training is quite similar to what I would do myself, such as 5-6 x 5 minutes, 8 x 3 minutes and 20-30 minutes hard tempo. The only thing I might add back at sea-level is a bit of prolonged running at marathon pace,” she adds.

Her favourite session is mile reps, from which she gains a good indication of what shape she is in, if she recovers quickly after some fast efforts. Morning runs are her least favourite session. “I’m definitely not a morning person, so a morning run can turn into a bit of a plod,” she says. “At weekends I like to have a lie-in and then a leisurely breakfast and go out after that. It does take up more of the day, but when I’m in marathon mode I rarely have any other plans for the day anyway, so I do think it’s worth using the weekend to catch up on sleep and get a good breakfast before a hard session. I certainly don’t like doing hard sessions or long runs on an empty stomach,” she remarked.

Last year was a good one for her. It included a well-overdue PB in the marathon and scoring in the GB team that claimed bronze at the European Championships. Her aim for 2011 is to reduce her marathon PB as she doesn’t believe it matches her half-marathon PB. She says: “My immediate target is the qualifying time for the team at the World Championships, so I’ll have to run under 2:35.”

Typical winter training

(Marathon preparation)

» Monday
(am) 5 miles easy/steady.
(pm) 8 miles easy/steady or rest.

» Tuesday
(am) 5 miles easy/steady.
(pm) Session. Example: 4-6 x 5 minutes, 12-14 x 400m or 6-8 x 1km.

» Wednesday
(am) Rest.
(pm) 1 hour 30 minutes-1 hour 45 minutes steady.

» Thursday
(am) 5 miles easy/steady.
(pm) 10 miles steady or tempo.

» Friday
(am) 5 miles easy/steady.
(pm) 5-8 steady/easy

» Saturday
(am) Long reps. Example: 6 x 1 mile, 6-8 x 1km or 3 x 2km, marathon-paced run (10-13 miles) or 10 x 1 mile at slightly quicker than marathon pace with 15-30 seconds recovery.
(pm) Rest or 30 minutes easy.

» Sunday
Long run: 2-2:30 (run slower if going longer, but try to pick it up for a couple of miles at the end).

Weekly total = 90-100 miles
A rest day is occasionally taken when she feels the need rather than being scheduled.

Leave a Reply