The second post in a new video blog series as Olympic medallist Katharine Merry shares her journey from elite sprinter to Great North Run pacer
How they train – Georgia MalirMay 21, 2014
Last year the Ilkley runner finished fifth in the World Mountain Running Championships and she spoke to AW about her training
At the age of 10, Georgia Malir first competed in the Wharfedale primary schools cross country league, which was organised by Shirley Wood of Ilkley Harriers.
Malir says: “My younger sister used to win all her races but unfortunately it didn’t come as naturally to me and I think I was last in the very first race I did! That made me lose a bit of interest, but I soon put it behind me and was lining up for races fairly soon again.
“Later on, I continually finished higher up in every race and I gained much more confidence. My mum, also being a runner, encouraged me to continue. Once I had decided that running was something I enjoyed she used to take me on a run around the fields near my house. This was around three miles and I remember the first time I tried to do a slightly longer run of four miles with her I thought I would never make it home!”
Although Malir’s first races were over cross country, as she grew older and left primary school she was still keen to continue running and this is when she started going to fell races with her mum.
The 18- year-old progressed to mountain running from the fells a couple of years ago and said: “I still enjoy the hills, but prefer to be able to run a bit faster over trails rather than the rough and tumble of the fells. I have always made time for both mountain running and track in the summer because nothing beats the feeling of running fast and getting PBs.”
“I think I was last in the very first race I did! That made me lose a bit of interest, but I soon put it behind me”
Coached by Andrew Henderson, she does the same training as the rest of “Team Hendo” in the winter at Leeds Met Carnegie. This includes a track session, a hill session and a grass session every week. Malir points out: “We have a great group and coach and I can’t imagine training without them! In the summer though, while the majority of the group does three track sessions, I only do two and I also do a specific mountain running hill session.”
Rather than being on the road, track or grass, Malir heads up to Ilkley Moor or Otley Chevin in order to do her mountain running sessions. Depending on which races she has coming up, she does different styles of sessions.
Last year’s 12th-placed finisher in the European Mountain Running Championships in Borovets explains: “In order to prepare for the Euros that were uphill-only, I did lots of uphill efforts. When I was preparing for the Worlds in Krynica, which were down and up, I incorporated hard downhill efforts into my sessions.
“I did many of my sessions with my training partner Emma Clayton. This was great because of her experience and it helped me to pace myself better up the hills.
“She has inspired me after finishing second at the Worlds that you can achieve much on the mountains as well as performing well on the country, road and track.”
Malir thinks that her big breakthrough came when winning the Northern under-20 cross country last year at Knowsley. Her training has slowly built up since she started running and especially after being coached by Henderson from 2012 onwards.
She says: “He has helped me to slowly increase my training and incorporate core strength and cross training into my schedule. All of this I believe has really improved my running.”
The Ilkley runner’s targets include competing for Britain on the mountains this summer. She explains: “I am particularly looking forward to the Europeans as they will be up and down. Alongside this, I am hoping to get some PBs on the track.
“In the long-term I want to continue improving and hopefully run for GB on the country as well as the mountains. The World Mountain Running Championships in 2015 are something I’m looking forward to as they are to be held in Wales. It will be my last race as a junior and so it would be great to perform well on home soil.”
TYPICAL WEEK’S TRAINING BEFORE 2013 WORLD MOUNTAIN RUNNING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Monday: Tempo run: 10min easy, 7min tempo, 3min easy, 7min tempo, 5min easy. *Core strength work. (Circuits in the winter).
Tuesday: Track session: 600m, 200m jog recovery, 10x200m with 30sec recovery, 200m jog recovery, 600m.
Wednesday: 45min easy off road. *Core strength work.
Thursday: Hurdle drills. Track session: 3x (600m, 45sec recovery then 200m fast pace), 8min between sets.
Friday: Rest day.
Saturday: Mountain specific session: Start running fast downhill, then 3x2min uphill – fast back down, 1min uphill – fast back down, 2min uphill – 2min recovery between sets.
Sunday: 65min easy off-road.
*Core work example: Swiss ball leg tucks 3×8; planks on Swiss ball 3x30sec; side plank with running leg action 3×6 each leg; Lunge position catching medicine ball 3×8 each side; calf raises, bent leg/ straight leg/double leg 3×10 each side; Swiss ball leg lift 3×8 each leg; table top leg pushaways 3×8 each leg.
» The above sessions are specific to the individual athlete and may not be suitable for other athletes