CPS tips for the Calgary Police Half Marathon

Calgary Police Service Fitness Trainer Paul Robertson shares his insight with runners contemplating or registered for the CPS Half Marathon Event on April 30 at Mount Royal University.  To sign up for race day which includes a variety of categories including half marathon, 10Km run, 5Km run or walk, or new 1 Km Rookies & Legends indoor run (kids and seniors), click here.

Meet CPS Fitness Trainer Paul Robertson

Paul has been with the CPS Fitness Unit for ten years and has coached all sorts of athletes for over twenty years.  He currently specializes in competitive mountain bike (cross-country & marathon) as well as cyclocross & road cycling.  He also works with endurance athletes from various running and obstacle course disciplines.  When not riding a bike, he’s playing with his kids.

Tip #1:          Why am I doing this??

  • Extrinsic factors; e.g. weight loss, performance gains, fundraising for charity or the social aspect of the sport community; can all be powerful motivators when training becomes arduous.
  • Keeping to a schedule, training with a partner or group can also boost motivation and accountability; often more so than simply answering to ourselves.

Tip #2:          If the shoe fits…

  • Buy your footwear from a shop that has qualified, experienced staff and that allows you to test-run several pairs. It’s not about the colour!
  • Break your new shoes in gradually by increasing their distance/duration as you reduce distance/duration in your old shoes.

Tip #3:          I wonder what this will do?   The importance of  race-day familiarity.

  • Things like footwear, clothing (materials, layers, fit, etc.) and fuel (food & hydration) should be experimented with throughout training. Make notes!
  • On race day, only use what you’ve proven comfortable, effective and tolerable in training. No surprises!  Ok, almost no surprises…

Tip #4:          Pump up the volume!  Not so fast….

  • Build your weekly overall distance/duration very gradually to avoid overuse injuries and general burnout.
  • The same rule applies for “long” runs. Too much, too soon can be a recipe for disaster!
  • If you’ve been training for 12+ weeks, include a “taper” week leading up to the race. Don’t worry; your fitness won’t go away.  You want to race fresh, not exhausted!

Tip #5:          Variety is the spice of life!

  • Mix in a variety of paces (slow, tempo or race-pace and speed work) to train multiple energy systems, all of which can contribute to your race.
  • The same rule applies to distance/duration. Pace usually plays a role; i.e. slow days are usually longer, while faster days are shorter and often involve interval-type training.
  • Run on a variety of surfaces and terrain. What does the race course look like?  Is it on pavement, cobble or single-track trail?  Is it flat or hilly?  Are the hills steep?  How about descents (oft forgotten!)?  Most of the time, your chosen route will be a function of convenience, including using a treadmill on some days.  However, as the race nears, you should mix in some of the specific variables that will appear on race day.
  • Mixing all of the aforementioned variables helps to avoid boredom, fatigue and overuse injuries.

Tip #6:          Faster and faster – running negative splits on race day.

  • Break the run into segments, such as “front”, “middle” and “back”. These can be based on distances or obvious changes in terrain.  For the examples below, let’s assume a pretty flat race course.
    1. The front; e.g. first 3-5km, should be run at just under race-pace. The half-marathon is long enough that doing too much in the first few kilometers can spell disaster by way of having to slow down or DNF!
    2. The middle; e.g. 11-15km, should be done at race-pace. Of course, you’ve established this in training!
    3. The back; e.g. final 3-5km, can be a bit of a “push” to the line. However, exercise caution. The increase in pace should be perceived by you, but not necessarily to the outside observer.

On behalf of the Calgary Police Foundation, recipient of proceeds, we extend our sincere thanks for participating in the Calgary Police Half Marathon Event!  There are a number of ways you can help us raise funds that keep Calgary youth safe.

  1. Register a team and invite a volunteer CPS officer to do a run with you!
  2. Collect pledges from your family and friends.
  3. Register the special seniors and youngsters in your life in the new 1 Km Indoor Rookies & Legends Category.

All information and sign-up happens here.

Click here to find out more about the Calgary Police Foundation and the programs it funds.