Charles Allen: The five principles that all runners should live by

Charles Allen will be running the length of Hadrian's Wall this weekend. Picture: Mark Hewlett Photography

Charles Allen will be running the length of Hadrian's Wall this weekend. Picture: Mark Hewlett Photography

© 2013 Mark Hewlett

Some of you may be aware that tomorrow Neil Featherby, Jason Wright and I will be attempting to run 84 miles along Hadrian’s Wall in 24 hours or less.

If this wasn’t challenge enough, add in that we have agreed to do this with only six weeks to dust ourselves down and train and you might wonder how and why we have done it.

So, as I come into the final days before the challenge I have been reflecting more and more on what training is really all about.

For a challenge the scale of Hadrian’s Wall I would usually train for around nine months. So to take myself ‘off the shelf’ and build from 25 miles per week to 80+ over six weeks has taken some considerable thought and careful planning. Taking care to avoid old injuries and taking time to rebuild my stamina. My main goal – to do the best training I can in that six weeks so that I reach the start of the challenge feeling as strong and as prepared as possible.

It would be only too easy to try and cram too much into the six weeks end up over training. Or worse still, cause injury. For me training is our opportunity to give ourselves the best chance of achieving our goals – just not at any price.

Too many times I have heard stories of people continuing to train through injury, cramming in junk miles just to ‘tick them off’, fuelled by the panic that can set in when we feel like our training is not going to plan or that we don’t have enough time.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here

For me, avoiding injury has to be the number one thing to consider when training for an event. Surely carrying an injury on the start line can only serve to act as a disadvantage? And while we all know this still it can be hard to follow some simple principles to avoid it.

My education, my knowledge of my own body and my years of running experience have guided me through the last six weeks and it is these things that have led me to believe I can train well and reach the start line feeling as ready as I can be. I have held myself to a few simple rules that I think we could all benefit from. 1) If my body is stressed and tired I rest. 2) If I feel strong and mobile I train. 3) I complement my running with sessions that focus on anti-spasm work and muscle conditioning. 4) I get a regular massage. 5) I prioritise rest in the same way as every other component of my training.

Simple rules go a long way. Everyone can adopt these principles and apply them at different times and in different measures depending on the training goal.

So, where am I now? Well, I’ve enjoyed six weeks of unbroken training and fortunately have, at no point, had a loss of movement in a joint, limiting muscle soreness or illness. It has been a process that has helped me reach the start line with the confidence and strength of mind to succeed. And when it gets tough, the fact that we are raising funds for two charities close to my heart will keep me going.

If you wish to support us as we raise funds for Nelson Journey and Hallswood Animal Sanctuary then please click the link.

And, as always, if you would like to come and discuss your goals and training plans with us, email And we will get you booked in.

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