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Why is my Running Training not Working?

I am 15 years old and do the following training each week:

45 min run x2
30 min run
50 min intervals
1hr run
bike ride

However my sister runs only twice a week for about 30 and 45 minutes and goes for a walk once a week for about 1hr. She is two years younger than I am (but taller). However we both recently did the Cooper fitness test and she got the same score as me. She can also run as fast as I can in races.

As I do more training this seems a bit unfair. Can you explain?

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your running training question. Yes, I agree, it does seem a bit unfair that your sister is just as fast as you, while you put in more work. Disregarding weight and your and your sister's fitness history, there are a few factors that can explain this.

First of all, there is a certain natural ability / talent that may put her in an advantage. She may be a more naturally gifted runner while you may have to put in more work to reach the same results.

Second, your sister seems to have developed a bit further already. She is two years younger, but she is taller. Your body may use a lot of your energy at the moment for your growth. During this phase it is quite natural that your sports results are less impressive.

Another reason may be that the training she does is just enough to give her a pretty decent fitness level. As the Cooper test is only 12 minutes and the races you run are probably all shorter than 5k, her basic training gives her just enough depth to be able to maintain her speed for that period.

I would assume that if you were to do longer races your stronger endurance base would put you at an advantage.

So, what to do now if you want to beat your sister?
Assuming you have been doing your current training for quite some time, and assuming you are predominantly running shorter races I would consider switching at least one of the normal runs for another speed session. In addition to this I would attempt to add a little bit more mileage to your weekly totals, however make sure you do this easily. Check the link for an article about increasing mileage safely.

For a more structured approach to your running training, pick up a good running training book like Daniels' Running Formula.

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Hope this helps a little bit.
Best of luck with the family rivalry!

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