It’s been an really exciting last week for the team with Ciara finishing 10th in the 1500m (PB 4:00.15) at the World Championship in Doha and Jonny running a PB 2:12:29 in the Berlin marathon. While this has been happening Jip and Eli are preparing for the Valencia marathon in December. Adam, Jonas and Ross are getting ready for the Cross Country Season and Anna is on her way back from injury. We asked our followers last week for their questions to the team so we have answered as many as possible to give you up to date insight into Team NB MCR!


How do you get a group with such different goals and schedules to train like a team?
– This is a really good question. The team spirit and culture is very important for us. We try to do as much of our training as we can together; we start all our easy/recovery runs together, do our warm ups together, go to the gym together and try to tie in as much as we can if when people have different events and schedules. Outside of that, most of the team live together in an athlete house and we also try to do other things as a team outside running, such as going out for food, having a game night, watching races on TV or going to the movies.

How does Steve handle all the work and stress and still look so spry and youthful?
We think he is Benjamin Button!


What is Jonny’s favorite vegetable?
– One of Jonny’s nickname’s in the team is “Mr Beige” and the reason for this is his diet. All athletes know that food is fuel and to be one of the best in the country, Europe or the world every element is important. Jonny has learned a lot about the importance of his fuel and nutrition, not only during the marathon, but in his day to day life during training. He eats way more vegatables than he ever has but sticks by his mantra of ‘if you cant spell it, don’t eat it’! Broccoli is probably a winner.

How does Jonny stay focused during the marathon?
– Jonny likes to break down the race into 5km segments. The reward being the elite drink station at each 5km. This helps to break the race down into manageable chunks. In addition to this he likes to focus on conserving energy as much as possible in the first 30km before the real hard work starts.


What did Jonny’s taper look like? How did he reduce mileage in the last few weeks?
– Jonny starts his taper 3 weeks out with a gradual reduction in mileage from his usual 115 – 120 miles per week. For Berlin last week his last 3 weeks were 101, 86 and 76 on race week. His last long run was 2 weeks out – an 18 mile run with 2 x 6 miles at marathon pace (5:00 per mile) with a 1 mile ‘float’ recovery at 5:30.

jonny berlin

What is an example of your current week of cross country training?
– A typical week involves an interval session of 8 – 10km worth of long reps (1km – 2km) on a tuesday, a progressive tempo run on a friday and a hilly long run on a sunday. The rest of the week is easy running and gym sessions.

What XC specific sessions do you guys do? Similar to road sessions just on grass/trail?
– We have a variety of sessions depending on the stage of the XC season and specific races coming up. We often use both a mix of hills and threshold running within the same session to replicate the change in pace and stimulus of cross country running. An example would be 2km tempo/5 x 1min hills/2km tempo/5 x 1min hills/2km tempo. We always train on a variety of off road trails and grass in the winter.

Any specific XC sessions the boys will be doing for 8-12km XC-racing?
– Bread and butter sessions of 5 to 6 x 1 mile and 8 to 10 x 1km off short recoveries but also the complex sessions as above.

Question for Ross! What is your aim for XC this season?
Ross: – My first and main aim is to stay healthy and get some consistent training in this autumn/winter. I will start with a few road races and if Steve and I both believe I can get in good enough shape for Euro XC I’ll aim for that, but right now I’m concentrating on getting my training volume back to normal and consistent levels


How is Ross’ recovery from injury going?
Ross: – Recovery is going well. I was pretty beat up after World XC in March and eventually had to have surgery at the end of May. I got back running at the start of July and, with a few bumps along the way, I’m back close to full training volume. Adam and I are starting our base phase out in Font Romeu and will then begin our season at the 4 Mile race in Groningen on October 13th.

Is it better to do 2 or 3 hard runs/week for a young athlete?
– It all depends on age and what hard running is for that individual? Its a difficult question to answer but we only run ‘hard’ twice per week.

I am 14 and I have been running for 4 years, how much mileage should I aim to run this winter?
– Again a difficult question to answer without knowing your current mileage and whether you do other sports. At 14 years you are still growing and maturing so your coach should provide you with a healthy schedule of variety and intensity with adequate rest and recovery days each week.


What does a typical training week look for an athlete in your group in terms of workouts etc?
– Since the athletes do quite different events, their weeks also look quite different. In general, we do 2 sessions a week, 1 long run, 2 gym sessions and the rest is easy mileage. For the marathon runners, we change it to 1 session and a longer long run.

Have any of your athletes had any Achilles issues, and if so what did you do to prevent?
– Yes we have had achilees issues and what we’ve found works the best is loading, loading, loading. We work with some amazing physio therapists that help us a lot as well. But finding the right shoe for you, strenghtening your calves and loading the achilles are three key points.

Do you cross train much? Which activities do you prefer?
– Cross training is an excellent compliment to our training. Even though all of the athletes prefer running over cross training we do use it occasionally. For the long distance runners, its used more rarely since their training is build on a higher mileage but the runners who run slightly shorter distances we use cross training at least once a week instead of an easy second run. If the athletes are particularly sore or feeling a small niggle, cross training is perfect. We prefer the spin bike or elliptical but also use swimming and aqua jogging. Ross was on the very exotic Nordic ski-machine for a while and Anna, with her injury has been on the handbike a lot lately.

Have a great weeks training!