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Pounding those roads
Around the Academy:

Sonia gets some track sessions under her belt
Long distance training can be a lonely ol' game

Alan Storey reveals what preparing for a marathon is really like

I started coaching in the 1970s and by 1980 I was looking after a number of top class middle and long distance runners.

I then had the pleasure of starting to work with Sonia.

And after years of huge success and occasional disappointments, Sonia is now set to make her marathon debut in New York.

And believe me, training to run over 26 miles is not for the feint hearted.

All runners have their own methods of getting ready for this sort of race and decide their own limits of how hard they push themselves.

Most begin their preparation 6-8 weeks before the race, but some take just three weeks and a few even take up to three months.

Sonia O'Sullivan gets warmed up for training
Make sure you stretch those muscles Sonia!

A typical week consists of a very long run with most athletes running from about 1 hour 40 minutes up to 2-3 hours.

In Japan they really push their athletes hard and they might even get up to six hours in one go.

The process is generally based on a stress and recovery basis.

On one day, the athlete will work really hard with sessions on the track or the road, running close to marathon pace for about an hour.

And then the following day, the sessions will be less intensive but the same number of miles are likely to be covered.

When Paula Radcliffe was preparing for the London and Chicago marathons, she got up to an incredible 140 miles a week.

She then reduced this down to about 100 miles in her so-called recovery week.

They will also have tough and not so tough weeks. These less intensive sessions enable the body to recover physically and mentally.

But it must be remembered that these recovery weeks are still unbelievably hard work!

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Super Sonia
8 weeks to go
Marathon diet
Final countdown

Sonia's fab facts
Born: 28.11.69
Birthplace: Cobh, County Cork in Ireland
1991: Won NCAA indoor 3,000m & cross country
1992 Olympics: Fourth in 3,000m
1993 World Champs: Silver in 1500m
1994 & 1995: Won nine Grand Prix titles
1995 World Champs: Gold in 5,000m
1996 Olympics: Illness prevented her from completing the 5,000m
2000 Olympics: Silver in 5,000m

Did you know?
Sonia studied accounting at Villanova University while training to be a top runner

Open Quote
Recovery for me would be lying down for the day and not do anything. An elite athlete would run 2 x 10 mile sessions and then another 2 x 5 mile sessions!
Close Quote
Alan Storey talks to the Sport Academy
Alan Storey
Sonia's coach

:: UK Athletics
:: Sonia O'Sullivan official site

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