Park run, 10k, half marathon, marathon, ultramarathon. They are all relative. No matter the distance, signing up to your first run is impressive! That feeling in your stomach when you go to press the 'sign-up' button is you stepping outside your comfort zone. This is where all the greatest changes happen to your mind and your body.
What do they all have in common? You. You are the one who decides to participate. You are the one who has to complete the training and you are the one who will reap the rewards of crossing that finish line. That runners high never gets old.
Whether you decide to go it alone or use the help of a running coach (#callme) my top tips for training for an event are as follows:
Get a plan. Give yourself a sufficient amount of time to prepare for the task in hand. Marathon training plans range from 24-12 weeks and throughout this period of time should contain a wide range of running and non-running workouts - long/easy, hill, interval, tempo, strength and conditioning
Get the appropriate equipment. The correct footwear is instrumental, there is a wide variety of supportive, neutral, large heel/toe drop, laces vs toggles, road vs trail shoes etc. Clothing is key too, compression, running belts for gels/phones/keys, gloves, vest/T-shirts.. You have to consider the chafing...
Warm-up exercises and stretches. Some pre-run activation exercises for the core, glutes, calves, quads and hams is always well advised as well as some gentle dynamic stretches to open up the hips and lower body. These are vital in injury prevention.
Cooldown post-race try and keep yourself moving to dissipate the lactic acid and metabolites released from your race. This again is vital in injury prevention.
Pre, peri- and post-race fueling. The human body needs the right type and amount of fuel. You wouldn’t put diesel in a petrol car, would you... I tried running a half marathon after a McDonalds Happy Meal last year it was E-I-E-I-AWFUL. Whether you’re a big bowl of porridge kind of girl or a basic black coffee and banana sort of guy, longer races will require nutrition during and certainly after - gels, fast digestive carbs and fluids are best during, and after, make sure you replace the energy spent with some good protein for muscle repair and carbs for glycogen replenishment.
Hydrate. Dehydration is a real issue, it will mess with your body and mind. As we sweat we lose water but also electrolytes, which are vital for muscle contractions so sodium and potassium should be considered alongside hydration. If you are smart you will think about your hydration a few days in advance because we all know what happens when you smash down a load of water in the hours leading up to an event… not all port-a-loos are worth the visit.
Rest and recovery. Sleep, what a beautiful thing. Your body needs to recover. When you stress the body you cause thousands of micro traumatic tears to our muscle fibres, which need to repair in order for our muscles to grow. Your rest and recovery are absolutely essential in injury prevention. Overuse injuries are among the most commonly seen in runners and that is primarily because the tissue is stressed beyond its present capabilities, this will increase with time, but only if you allow the tissue to heal and adapt.
There you have it, my in brief top 7 tips for training for your first event. This, of course, can be extrapolated into any event, whether it’s your 1st of 1000th. There is SO much more detail and there are so many more little tricks you can implement to tweak here and there and I am just desperate to share them with you, but I’m afraid you will just fall asleep if I do. SO…. book in to see me and I will give you the real low down. This way I can base my advice on your body, lifestyle and preferences.