Noakes’ Laws – some common sense advice

There is lots of advice available for runners – some of them conflicting and often confusing. Professor Tim Noakes, a well-respected sports scientist from South Africa, has provided the following guidelines, compiled from a number of sources:

  • During any one year, train for 10 months and take a holiday from running for two.
  • Don’t be ashamed to walk during any training run. Maximum benefit on any run is achieved by training at between 60 and 90 percent of your MHR (Maximum Heart Rate).
  • The important element of training is the amount of time you spend running each week, not the speed at which you run or the distance you cover.
  • All training schedules should be treated as guidelines, not concrete regulations. Learn to listen to your body so you can judge your own most effective schedule.
  • Always allow time for a hard run’s micro-damage to your body to repair and for your energy stocks to replenish.
  • Find your happy training medium between the two adages ‘No pain, no gain’ and ‘Train without strain’.
  • Don’t race during training runs. Run races of over 10 miles only infrequently.
  • Running trains only the legs, not the upper body. Adding an activity such as swimming to your running programme is a good idea.
  • Never over train. Watch out for sluggishness and lethargy, loss of appetite and increased infection susceptibility.
  • Where possible work with a coach for encouragement and support.
  • Success in running involves training the mind as much or more than the body.
  • Rest before racing.
  • Keep a training logbook. It will allow you to check exactly what training you did before your best race results.
  • Everything you do, all day and every day, affects your running ability – nutrition, stress and sleep as well as exercise.
  • Professor Noakes, your training club, friends or family are not responsible for your training – advice is often given freely. It’s up to you how you use it.
Ladies and Vets men at cross country