February 17


Lessening The Impact of Illness with a Private Running Coach

By Conor Graham

February 17, 2020

Cold and Flu can have a significant impact on your training for events but with the right advice your time spent recovering can soon have you running better than ever. 


There’s only so much we can do to speed up recovery from an illness but having someone to suggest what to do on your first run back can really help.

Some people come back too soon and delay their recovery. Others think they’ve lost all fitness due to a couple of weeks without running. Both scenarios lead to a negative experience whereby runners typically have an awful first run back and struggle to rebuild the motivation and performance they had before the illness.


Private running coach, Conor Graham helps his members decide:

  • When the first run back will be; to minimise the drop in fitness through inactivity
  • What distance or time to aim for; so the body doesn’t become too stressed and finish killing off the bug
  • What speed to target; to ensure the lungs can cope with any loss of efficiency due to infection.

CRC Premium Member, Gina, caught a bug which wiped her out for nearly 2-weeks in the lead up to the 2020 Gloucester Half Marathon.

“I never take time off work but on this occasion, I simply didn’t have a choice. I had no energy and didn’t want to risk giving the bug to colleagues."


Gina’s training to that point was going great. She’s recently broken multiple personal best times since joining the Premium Membership 3-months earlier but with just 3 weeks before her Half Marathon, she was thinking of pulling out.


“I set up a phone call with Conor and we discussed what I could do to kick the last of my illness. We then planned out each run between that moment and the Gloucester Half Marathon.

It was great to have someone explaining why the time off wasn’t necessarily going to prevent me running the race and that I would actually be able to finish is a decent time if I ran well in the short time I had left.”

Soon before the race they had another phone call to discuss Gina’s target speed and strategy for the race. This strategy took into account that the one long run since illness was at a very conservative speed to ensure the bug didn’t come back. 

“We usually know exactly what target speed is going to set each runner up for a great time based on previous long runs but since Gina hadn’t done a proper long run in the previous month we had to make some brave assumptions" - Coach Conor Graham. 

Gina did attend the Gloucester Half Marathon and not only finished having given it everything but in a respectable time compared to previous events. 

Gina benefits from a lot more than private coaching as a Premium Member with CRC. 

She also:

  • Discusses which events will allow her to get the experiences she wants from her running
  • Attends regular Yoga classes, included with her membership
  • Follows a programme which peaks her for frequent running events 
  • Attends club runs and gains inspiration & support from club members in the closed Winter Squad Facebook group.
  • Enjoys running and seeing her speeds improve week after week. 

Few Premium members can make full use of every benefit available to them but all agree that what they do utilise is well worth the monthly fee. 

Conor Graham

About the author

Conor is the Head Coach and Founder of Cheltenham Running and Walking Club.

His experience as a Strength & Conditioning Coach, Triathlete and Personal Trainer ensure members are educated on best practice in regards to training progression while also nurtured through the early stages of fitness development.

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