Have you entered a fun run, maybe the Sun-Herald City2Surf, and left your training to the last minute? Pounding the pavement, rain hail or shine, is the only way to improve your distance. Here are our top seven training tips.
1. TRAIN HARD
Endurance + Speed + Strength = Optimum Running Fitness
Run at least three days per week and mix up your training for optimum endurance, speed and strength. Here’s your timetable:
Long Run for Endurance: 5min walk + a long 60-70% capacity run (up to 14k) + a very good stretch.
Tempo run for Speed and Endurance: Jog 10-15mins + run 20-30 mins (hard but not 100%) + 10 min cool down + stretch.
Sprint Intervals for Speed: Jog 15mins, alternate 2mins running at 100% with 2mins jog/walk, x10. Alternate running 1k at 85% then light jogging for 2mins, x6. 5 min cool down + stretch.
Hills for Strength: You won’t get up Heartbreak Hill or the hills on your course, unless you practise running up some hills in training!
2. PACE YOURSELF
You don’t have to run like a demon every session! Not every run is going to be a great one, but a bad run is better than none at all.
If you’ve never run before, train by alternating a one minute walk with one minute of jogging, aiming to build to a run. Walking is still great exercise.
When it comes to distance running it’s important not to overdo it! Long runs should be comfortable, tempo runs should take more out of you and your sprints are the hardest session of the week.
In between running days do two days of strength and core exercises to keep your body balanced while you run. The best strength exercises for runners are lunges, single-leg squats and planks.
3. Get a Training Buddy
Recruit someone else who runs or is doing the race and put together a training schedule with them. This person will be a much needed support and motivator when you feel like hitting snooze and pulling the doona over your head!
4. Mix it up
Wherever possible run outside, as this will offer you the changes in surface and undulation, including downhill, to give you a better all round running workout.
Running on softer surfaces (grass ovals, dirt tracks or trails, tartan athletics track) in training will minimise your injury risk, however it is important that you run on footpaths or asphalt occasionally as this is the standard race surface.
5. Load up on Healthy food
Fuelling your body properly before a big run is important if you want to get the best results. Eat regularly during your training weeks, loading up on slow release carbs and muscle fuelling essential nutrients. This triggers your body to burn fuel at a consistent rate, as it knows that it will receive more soon.
When glucose concentrations are low, your intense run dribbles out to a walk because you just don’t have the energy to fuel those hungry muscles. Avoid hitting the wall during the race by having a small amount of food half an hour to an hour before training, and drinking plenty of water.
It’s really important to have a rest day before the race and do something that you love, like gentle yoga, meditation or getting a massage. Throughout your training treat yourself to self massage to release all the common tight areas in runners such as knees and calves. You’ll learn to love the pain as the massage is so relieving.
7. Be Prepared
Before the big day, make a checklist of everything you’ll need, such as a bumbag with sunscreen, a charged ipod, pins for your bib, bandaids, a hat and so on. If it’s cold, wear an old jumper at the start of the race that you can chuck out when you warm up.