The word is out, I have officially been entered into the Great North Run, which if you don’t know is a half marathon #Prayforvic. In reality, I could struggle my way through a half marathon tomorrow. I’d probably be crawling over the finish line with a really s**t time…but I could. However, I want to do this properly so I have a coach (Dame KELLY HOLMES :o), and I’m putting my years of researching for previous clients into action, to hopefully get a cracking time, and cross the finish line still standing.
A lot of people begin training for running events thinking they just have to run and keep running further and further until they can run the length of the race; which probably does work, but it’s not optimal. So here are my five tips which if you consider during your training, You will become fitter, faster and less prone to injury!
- Don’t forget to Cross train. If you find a running program online, it will probably have a day or two of ‘cross training’. In the past, I thought this was jumping on to a cross trainer but in fact, it means, your strength and power work in the gym or at home. A lot of people neglect their strength training when running, which is why runners can be so prone to injury. You need strong glutes (ass), legs, back and core(abs) to enable you to run with good posture and prevent putting pressure on your joints. Remember, strength training is the foundation of EVERY training.
- Warm up and cool down… BLAH BLAH BLAH you’ve heard it all already. But the question is, do you do it? I used to just wake up and run, without activating and stretching my muscles and mobilizing my joints. Likewise, I would return from a run, and raid the granola cupboard without cooling down. As soon as your muscles become too tight, you’re pulling your body out of alignment and again are making yourself to prone to injury. Spend 5-10 minutes before a run warming up and foam rolling and the same when you return. You will reap the benefits in the long run (get it ;).
- Even if you’re training for a 10kg- marathon it’s still important to incorporate sprint training and hill sprints into your workouts. Adding sprint training into your plan will be the key to increasing your speed. You can switch up the distance too. One week you might try 8x25m sprints with the same rest as working time, and another week you might try 5x400m sprints with 2 minutes rest. You can also find a hill close to your house and try 8/10 hill sprints and rest until your back to the bottom of the hill. You’ll probably want to vomit after your sprint sessions, but you’ll thank me when you’re knocking time off your next marathon!
- Track your sessions. I’m currently using a Garmin, and it’s ace because I’m able to track my pace, my heart rate (particularly good when it’s supposed to be a recovery run), and log all of my workouts so I can look back and see progression throughout my training. If you don’t have a fitness watch, try log to the best of your knowledge in a notebook so that you can use your improvements as motivation.
- Recovery, Refuel and Rehydration. If you ask any athlete what the most important thing is throughout their training, they will tell you it’s the things they do away from the training itself. Recovery is VERY important, especially when you’re putting your body through so much stress. Things like adequate amounts of sleep, and I personally swear by Magnesium Supplements (I use MyVitamins) to help muscle recovery. It’s also important to make sure you’re Refueling properly. You can do all of the training in the world, but if you’re not giving your body the fuel it needs you will eventually reverse all of your hard work. Eat well-balanced meals of proteins, fats, and carbs and have regular snacks throughout the day. Finally Rehydration! I learned the importance of this the hard way, after getting the worst stitches during my runs, and realizing it was down to dehydration. I now aim for 3/4L of water per day, 1L of that being Fit Water to replenish my electrolytes after training.
I hope these tips have helped you guys, and if there are any more specific things you’d like me to blog about, drop me a message on Insta!