The long distance runner shares a few insights into her training.

After finishing third at the 2017 Great Scottish Run and taking the Scottish half marathon title, Fionnuala Ross holds both the half marathon and 10k road titles in Scotland.

Ross, who is originally from Northern Ireland, outlines her training and how she combines it all with a full-time job.


Most days are normally double days, so a run in the morning and a run in the evening. Wednesday will be a session of some description on the canal which is close by.

This will usually be something like mile reps, kilometre reps or a fartlek session.

When I am not racing at the weekend, I have my second session of the week on a Saturday. At the moment because I am training specifically for the marathon I have been doing marathon paced runs.

It does vary, but a typical Saturday would be a couple of miles warm up to the canal, then I run eight to ten miles at marathon goal pace, with a couple of miles cool down.

Sunday is my long slow run, and I take this at a super easy pace.

Most of my training is either on the road/footpath or canal but I try to get off the road and onto trails at least once a week.

Work-running balance

I work Monday to Friday and the time I start and finish work at can vary quite a bit. There are weeks when I start at 7.30am, so on those mornings it’s a very early start, but I still fit my morning run in and if I need to I can run into work.

Apart from my session on Wednesday evening, I get my second run for the day in my running home from work.

It’s not an overly stressful situation, I can make it all work thankfully. I will usually meet up with different people for my long run on Sunday’s but because of the odd times with work, I do most of my training either by myself or with my boyfriend, Scott.

Heart rate

My watch has a pulse monitor on it and I keep an eye on it but I am not religious about it.

I tend to run mostly how I feel and pace on my specific sessions.

Cross country

I love everything about cross-country; the mud, difficult conditions, time becomes irrelevant and it’s just about going out and running as hard as you can.

It’s totally different from running on the road, you can get really good road runners who just fall to pieces in cross country and it’s a totally different element to the sport.

In America when I was at McNeese College it was very different though, it was a lot more like trail running compared to conditions I grew up with in Northern Ireland.

With my focus mainly on the Frankfurt marathon this season, I’ll miss the early cross country races towards the end of the year, but the Scottish National Championships aren’t until February 2018, so I should have enough time to focus on it following the marathon.

I’m looking forward to the nationals, especially because of the recent change to a 10k course, which is quite long for a women’s cross country race, but I think the longer course should suit my strengths.

Average weekly training schedule

Monday am: Rest
Monday pm: 6 to 8 miles steady run
Tuesday am: 6 miles easy run
Tuesday pm: 10 to 12 miles long run
Wednesday am: 4 miles easy run
Wednesday pm: Session; either mile reps, kilometre reps or a fartlek session and it finishes up at about 8 miles.
Thursday am: 6 miles easy run
Thursday pm: 6 miles steady run
Friday am: 4 miles easy run
Friday pm: 6 miles steady run
Saturday: Marathon paced session (8 to 10 miles marathon goal pace) and finishes up at about 10 to 12 mile.
Sunday: Long slow run, anywhere between 18 and 24 miles.

Average weekly mileage: 90 miles

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