The double Olympic gold medallist shares her top tips for older runners

Kelly Holmes has recently been offering her training tips to ScottishPower employee Michelle Nicol (pictured above), who is participating in Cancer Research UK’s SHINE night-time marathon on September 26.

The 2004 800m and 1500m Olympic champion also took the time to share with AW her top tips for runners who are looking to continue logging the miles as they get older.

“The main thing to consider when running as you get older is recovery,” says Holmes.

“Many people assume they have to increase the amount they do to make up for maybe being slightly slower but I would disagree.

“Increasing the amount of running you do could increase the risk of injury, for example inflamed Achilles or sore lower back and hips, especially if you don’t take into consideration what ‘rest’ actually means.”

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Kelly Holmes’ top training tips

» Be more aware of the footwear you use. Ensure you have gait analysis done at a running or sports shop. This are becoming increasing popular now.

» Include specific rest days into your training plan, ideally the day before or two days after a very hard running session.

» The day after a hard session should possibly be a recovery run, so nice and easy, more like a warm up or cool down pace.

» Also increase the stretching you do but concentrate more on tight areas, not those that are already flexible.

» Prepare your recovery drinks and food in advance. It’s important that you take on fluid during and after your training and not just water.

Protein is really important after as well so either a protein powder drink or, if you can stomach it, a prepared chicken or cheese sandwich, or similar.

» Try and supplement your training with a wider range of activities to minimise the impact of roads or the treadmill.

The best way to keep yourself fit without running is either on a cross trainer, stepper or water running. Each of these allows you to maintain endurance and max out your cardiovascular system without putting too much stress on your legs as there is little or no impact.

You should simulate a session that you would have done outside using similar timings for exertion and recovery but on your equipment. My suggestion though would be to either lengthen the reps, shorten the recovery or both.

» Interested in finding out more about Cancer Research UK’s SHINE night-time walking marathon? Check out cancerresearchuk.org. Entry closes on September 20