Liz Yelling

Liz Yelling is a world class female endurance runner. She won a bronze medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games Marathon, represented Team GB at the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games Marathon and competes in the world’s top running races. Liz has a half marathon personal best time of 69min 28sec and a marathon best of 2hrs 28min 33sec. Liz may be an elite athlete but she’s not elitist and understands running and runners of all abilities and levels. She coaches complete novices – through to experienced runners. (For more information

During the year Liz will be offering runbristol her expert advice. You will find copies at the bottom of this page of the articles she has written for runbristol so far.
You can also visit the Lucozade pages on this site for videos and advice from Liz on training to run a 10k or half marathon.

Got a question?
If you have a question for Liz please send it to runbristol by using the link and we will pass it on to her for a reply:
Email Liz Yelling


We have published a few of your questions and Liz’s responses below:

Good Morning Liz. I’m just after a bit of advice really on not getting too tired quickly and breathing properly. I am starting from scratch and so far I am running 2.3 miles non-stop and I am quite impatient with building up my time and want to build it all up quickly. I also need to get out of the psychological thinking that I need to stop when really I don’t…. I know when my partner runs with me he does give me confidence and encourages me to keep going (which I do) when if on my own I could of easily stopped) but how do I think differently? Or start too? I know that my partner can’t always run with me so need to get out of this habit. I am raising money for Frenchay hospital intensive care unit so this is a bit thing for me to raise money in me doing this so really don’t want to let anyone down.

ANSWER: Hello Nicola,
Firstly well done for running 2.3 miles non-stop. It is really hard when you start running from scratch and it seems like you have progressed really quickly. You need to be patient as this is the key to staying injury and illness free and being in it for the long run! Remember to progress your training bit by bit. Take your time and do things slowly and step by step. Your breathing rate is a great indicator of how hard you are working. We can control this by adjusting the pace slightly. The key for you is to find a pace where you can maintain and control your breathing rate at a level that is not too uncomfortable, so if you feel your breathing start to struggle instead of thinking you need to stop, just slow your pace until you can regain control of your breathing again. It’s okay to actually stop and walk, regain your breathing, then start again. If your determined to not stop then set yourself small distance (or time) targets to reach on each run. Make these challenging but achievable for you. This will take great discipline but master this and I am sure you will soon be racking up the miles without stopping. Having mantra is good also, this can help keep negative thoughts at bay, find something you can say to yourself when doubt creeps in and also to remember why you are doing the run. You won’t let anyone down! Take your time, build up gentle and have confidence you can do it!

I found reading your tips for the Bristol 10k very interesting. In the last few years I have done 12 half marathons and numerous 10 k’s but have never tried interval training before. Can you confirm what I should be doing weekly on interval running.
I have the Reading half in a few weeks and 2 10 k’s in May including the Bristol 10k.
My PB times are 1.36 for the half and 0.43 for 10k. The recovery for the 90 seconds period for example, do you jog or completely stop? Your help would be appreciated.

ANSWER: Hello Marcus,
Interval training is effective because you get your body used to running at a faster pace. If you don’t practice running faster in training then it is harder to race faster. Interval training should be done at least once a week and if you run 6 times a week you could look to increase this over time to 2 x a week. Recoveries can vary according to the distance and pace of the intervals and the proximity that you are to your goal race. Typically the fitter you are the less time you need to recover. Using 90secs jog recovery is a common recovery time for distance runners. Having an active recovery helps your legs feel better for the next interval and is more specific to your racing, for example you don’t get to stop in a race! You might like to try 6x3mins (90s rec), 5x6mins (60s rec), 10x2mins (60s rec), 6x5mins (2mins rec), 7x4mins (90s rec) all with a jog recovery where the ‘interval’ section of your run is done at target 10k race pace (or quicker!).
Good luck with your racing goals
Best wishes Liz

I’ve recently started road running (I mean recently – about a fortnight ago!) and I love it. I’ve signed up for the Race for Life with a dream that I might be able to run the whole course. I’m already fairly fit as I walk a lot and regularly use the Wii Fit when no-one’s looking, but I surprised myself and within a week I was able to run 3 miles non-stop.
And without dying, which I was very impressed with… Anyway, I’m now feeling very enthusiastic and want to sign up for the Bristol Half, but I’ve just looked on the website and it’s panicking me slightly! I’m not interested in the speed I do it in. I just want to run the whole thing and raise money for charity at the same time, but the website has all this stuff about training plans and recovery etc. Stuff that I have no idea about! I’m a part-time teacher and a mum of two little girls and (as I know you will understand) I would find it hard to stick to a regular training plan. I just thought I would run 3 or 4 times a week and just try to go a little bit further each time, making sure I eat sensibly and have proper rest days.
Do you think I’d be a total fool to sign up if I don’t have a rigid training plan?
Many thanks,

ANSWER: Hello Sarah,
Well done and welcome to the running world. It seems you have some natural ability for running and that you also underestimate how far you’ve come in such a short time! Running 3 – 4 times a week is sufficient to get you in shape for the half marathon. Training plans are designed to give people an idea of how to progress their running and to show how to introduce different types of running into your weekly plan.
As you run for longer, and get fitter it does get easier! Instead of trying to go a little longer each time a plan will help you progress at the right rate. You don’t have to use to the plans strictly but you could adapt them to suit your lifestyle and weekly commitments. You could just pull out 3- 4 of the runs and fit them in to your week as and when you can, as long as you progress your training gradually, and have easier days following your harder or longer running days then you will get yourself in great shape come September for the Bristol half marathon. Don’t be put off at all. A plan just helps you structure things. Don’t be afraid of stopping and walking in your running as you build up the time you are able to complete on your feet.
Good luck and best wishes,


The series of articles Liz has written for runbristol can be found below:

MARCH 22nd 2010

2010 Bristol 10k – nearly there!

Time flies. With a little over 2 weeks to go until the 2010 Bristol 10k you are nearly there. Over the few last weeks and months you’ve probably been (hopefully been!) out on the roads laying the fitness foundations for your run on May 9th. Whatever challenge you have set yourself, first time 10k or fast time 10k, you’ve still had to make a level of personal investment to reach the start line. Now that the race is almost upon us it’s easy to start to doubt yourself and begin to question if the preparation you’ve done is enough to realize your goals. The worst thing you can do as the race draws closer is to panic and try and cram more running in. Instead of doing more, consolidate the running you have done by doing less! That doesn’t mean kick back and do nothing at all. It does mean that you’re best to maintain some frequency in your running. If you normally run 3 times a week it won’t hurt to run 2x in the week of the race and do the race at the end of the week. Just make sure you don’t run either of these runs really hard, or make them really long.

To make sure you arrive at the Bristol Harbourside at 0930 on Sunday May 9th fully energized, ready and in tip top condition to achieve your personal 2010 Bristol 10k goal I’ve thought through all the things I do in the week before my races:

  • Give yourself a kit check. Check your shoes and gear by wearing them for a run,
  • Be prepared. Know where you need to be and when. The race pack is available for download on the event website, (
  • Make a little ‘you’ time. Instead of one of your runs, relax and have some downtime,
  • Back it off. Don’t run hard in the week before the race. Save your energy to whizz you around Bristol streets on May 9th,
  • Hydrate. On a warm May day it’s easy to get thirsty quickly. Make sure you’re hydrated before you start your race,
  • Don’t panic! I know it might seem like you feel worse the closer the race gets but have confidence in your ability.

If you’re feeling really ready to go in the 2010 Bristol 10k that’s great! If you’re panicking as you’ve entered but haven’t done anywhere near as much running as you’d originally hoped to do it’s not all over. Reflect on your goals and make shifts in your expectations. You can still complete and participate with 10,000 other runners.

If you have to withdraw due to injury or illness you have my sympathy. I’ve been suffering myself with a few aches and pains recently and have had to put my own return to racing on hold. This means I won’t be joining you on the start line. Yet, that’s one of the great things about running. There are always other races to participate in. With that in mind in Bristol there is one of the UK’s top Half Marathon’s on September 5th (, be brave, and go for that one too!


MARCH 11th 2010

2010 Bristol 10k – a milestone

Whenever I get to less than 8 weeks to go until a big race it signals a bit of a milestone. I know that the previous few weeks will have seen me building up my time spent running and I should be starting to feel stronger and fitter. I like to break up these final 8 weeks into 2 x 4 week blocks. In the first 4 week block I think about building my training further and including some faster race pace specific training then in the 2nd 4 week block I put the icing on the cake of my training and then back of the miles as the races draws closer so I can run well. With less than 8 week to go until the 2010 Bristol 10k how do you plan to focus the rest of your build up? Try my advice for the next 4 weeks:

  • Run faster – drop some speed work into your weekly run mix. Faster running means race pace feels easy. Make sure you include recovery periods to maintain quality. Try 8x2mins fast with 2misn recovery.
  • Practice your pace – what time would you be really happy with at the 2010 Bristol 10k? What does this equate to in minutes per mile (or your running speed)? How much running have you done at this pace? Try running 2x10mins at your target race pace (with 4mins jog recovery)
  • Practise your routine. With 6 weeks to go try a run in all your race gear. Shoes, shorts, etc. Make sure it fits you well and you feel confident, competent and ready to go for it in it! Trial what you are going to have for breakfast and when you are going to have it on race day.

The really good thing is that if your build up thus far hasn’t really amounted to very much other than completing the entry form and submitting it then promptly forgetting about it for a while, your luck is in! With 8 weeks to go you’ve still got just about enough time to lace up your running shoes and do enough to do yourself justice. Don’t leave it much longer though as the closer the race gets the harder it is to fit the training in. You can’t rush running training. It takes time for the body to adapt. So, if you’ve done very little or nothing so far then it’s definitely time to crack on! The golden rules of getting going still apply:

  • Start slowly – be progressive and appropriate. Build the time you are able to jog/walk/run for first.
  • Commit to a regular routine.
  • Leave your front door with purpose, passion and intent – have a reason for running every day.

In my last column I suggested you up the ante a little in your training and not wishing to feel outdone by you I’ve done that too. We all find stepping up a gear hard sometimes as it takes a while for better fitness to truly kick in. After a few weeks struggling with running more miles it seems like my body likes me again and I’m getting used to it. My 8 1/2 month old daughter is almost sleeping through the night and this is giving me the chance to get a little more much needed recovery sleep too.

If you can do one thing this next month give yourself a real reason for running the 2010 Bristol 10k. Whatever your reason make it important to you and when you pound the streets of the city on May 9th you’ll do it with such inspired purpose that you’ll not want to stop running!


FEBRUARY 22nd 2010

Keep your 2010 Bristol 10k mojo!

How’s your training been going for the 2010 Bristol 10k on May 9th? Last time I wrote about identifying your personal goal for the race and your reason for running. As the weeks tick by it’s important to remember this reason for running and use it to keep getting you up off the sofa and out of the door for your running training. With just over 10 weeks to go until this year’s race the next couple of months are really important for your training and you need to keep motivated and stay on track to achieve your personal goal. Even for the most motivated, enthusiastic and keen runner getting out in the winter for training can be tough and hitting the streets week after week takes real commitment.

Here are my top tips to keep you going;

  • Write your training down. It helps you plan and monitor your progress
  • Race yourself. Set yourself mini targets to try and reach in your training. Keep these goals realistic and achievable but also challenging.
  • Reward! Incentivise your training week and spoil yourself for sticking to your plan! This needn’t be extravagant or outlandish but can just be a simple treat to say ‘well done me’
  • Get the right kit. Even on the harshest winter day a running in the right gear makes it better.

If you’ve been building up your training routine now is the time up the ante a little and see what else you’ve got in the tank. Build on the foundations you’ve established in recent weeks and progress your running by including some faster paced workouts in your routine. Try some ‘threshold’ running – running under ‘controlled discomfort’ for 10 to 20mins and add an interval training session into your weekly mix. Intervals involve running for a specified time or distance interspersed with periods of recovery. Great 10k intervals include 6x3mins with 90s recovery or 4x5mins with 2mins recovery. This type of training isn’t just for ‘faster’ runners but should on the agenda for all runners. The benefits work for everyone!

Like you I’ve been trying to progress my on training recently. Having such a long time off running in 2009 due to giving birth to my daughter really helped me get my mojo back for running but it’s also shown me how hard it can be! I’m taking a long-term approach to my fitness and hoping that the simple things I’m doing now will help me in the future.

Running isn’t rocket science. Do small things well and you running will be stay on track right up to May 09th and you’ll toe the start line of the 2010 Bristol 10k confident of a good run!


JANUARY 14th 2010

Getting started with your 10k

I just love racing 10k. It is such a great distance for running. It’s not like the marathon where the training is long and hard and you can’t walk for a week afterwards! You can race 10k’s more often and the training doesn’t take as much time. That said it’s still important to train for a 10k if you want to get the ‘best results’ you can. What the ‘best results’ means is of course different for different people. Toeing the start line of the Bristol 10k in May this year means you are going to be sharing the streets of the city with thousands of runners of all shapes and sizes, abilities, experiences and personal targets. Think about your goal for the Bristol 10k. Do you want to complete a 10k for the first time without stopping? Would you like to run a 10k faster than you’ve ever run before? Are you competitive and racing your sister, brother, friend, husband or wife? Are you running to raise money for a charity or to just simply enjoy your day. Whatever your reason I’d urge you to have one. A reason to run is a great place to start any training programme and really helps get you up, ready and going.

Since the birth of my daughter, Ruby, I’ve been gently getting back into my running again and have given myself plenty of time to build up to regular running. I’ve not really followed a plan but now I’ve got some goals on the horizon I’m starting to think about being more structured. That should be the same for your plan. With the Bristol 10k now 17 weeks away start by laying down some regular running foundations and putting some structure to your running. Build a routine in your week so that you get used to running regularly. If you’re new to running don’t go at it like a bull in china shop and try and do too much too soon. Progress your training gently and appropriately, little bit by little bit, and you’re more likely to stay motivated as you get fitter. If you’re already a regular runner then your routine is about building the strong aerobic base on which to look to extend yourself in the coming months.

Good luck and catch up with you next month.

My tips: Your next 4 weeks

  • Build some regular running into your week. This should be appropriate to your goals, your available time to run and your current fitness levels
  • Be patient. Fitness takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same is true for 10k running!
  • Get company. Find someone else who is running the Bristol 10k to run with
  • Build up to running 3miles without stopping if you’re a total novice
  • If you’re already a regular runner include some varied paced running in your weekly mix to spice it up.