Whilst I was preparing to run my first ever 10k race, I only ran the full 10k twice in seven weeks, and that was to monitor progress, not, I repeat not, for endurance training. If you’ve read the article ‘10k in 7 weeks’ on my website (www.garethcrook.co.uk) you’ll notice that I hadn’t participated in sports for around 7 years, yet I was still able to run a sub 39 minute 10k, leaving me in the top 5% of 10k runners. The interesting thing is, I didn’t spend more than 30-40 minutes at a time in the gym or on the track or road. So how did I do it?

3 simple training methods


These are hard. Twenty seconds exercise, with ten seconds rest, repeated eight times (total exercise time is 4 minutes). You can do a tabata with just about anything; rowing, sprints, plyometrics (burpees, air squats, mountain climbers etc). Tabatas are basically what are known as “High Intensity Interval Training” (HIIT), but don’t let those long words put you off! Performing them will increase your lactic threshold, which means your body will be able to handle the lactic acid it produces through exercise more. Not only that but if you do these in the morning before brekkie, you’ll be burning fat for the rest of the day. Not bad for 4 minutes worth of exercise.

Sprint Training

Ahhh my beloved sprint training oh what a relationship we have! One day I love you, the next I despise you with a passion. Like a tabata, sprint training pushes you body to the absolute maximum, they’re not for the feint hearted. However, they are the best remedy for weight lose and getting fit very very fast. This is the only training I performed which actually involved me running. Each training session lasted no longer than 20 – 25 minutes, whether they were 200m sprints or 400m sprints. If you’re fortunate to have a running track near where you live then I recommend you run on there, a treadmill is ok, however, you can only go to a certain speed and you can cheat by ‘bouncing’ as you run.

Weight Training

Usually a distance runner wouldn’t undertake heavy, intense weight training sessions, this is because they wouldn’t want to be too heavy as it will have a direct effect speed. However, as I hadn’t performed exercise in around 7 years my legs were about as conditioned as a sloth and my running posture was likened to that of a chicken, great start! Weight training, however, not only helped improve both of these, but I actually attribute a lot of the weight training to the time which I got. In hindsight, I don’t think I would have been able to reach the sub 39 marker, without it. So for a beginner I would say its pretty vital.

You’ll notice that I haven’t included distance training. From experience I know that you don’t have to run a 10k every night to gain a decent 10k time, don’t get me wrong, running 10k plus every night would be good, but who the hell wants to do that?!

I’m a prime example of someone who would have ran a 10k in around 55 minutes and in 7 weeks I transformed it into the exclusive sub 39 minute club, knocking 16 minutes off my start time. Don’t get me wrong, the training was still pretty tough, but I had the goal in my mind of that elusive sub 39 club. If you’ve read one of my previous blogs for runthrough regarding supplements, you’ll notice that in week 2 I couldn’t even walk up my staircase. Although I attributed this to the ceasing of taking L-Glutamine, it could be something to do with the 200m repeats. At the time I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew! I hadn’t exercised for almost 7 years, but I did it and if I accomplished it then so can you with these easy, simple training methods.

Thanks for reading,


If you have any questions write them in the comment box below, tweet me @gareth_crook or email me on [email protected] and I’ll get back to you.

For my full 7 week workout plan see 10km in 7 weeks, www.garethcrook.co.uk