Fun runs are a fantastic goal to work towards when starting to exercise. Here’s Andre Sammut, Master Coach for Australian Institute of Fitness VIC/TAS with his top tips to help you get started.
RUNNING TIP 1: Stretch
Runners often get tightness in certain running muscles like the gluteus maximus that can lead to inefficient movement patterns. Stretching throughout your training program is important to ensure you maintain flexibility and help reduce the risk of injury.
RUNNING TIP 2: Maintain Good Cadence
Running with shorter, quicker strides will mean that your body spends less time in the air, which in turn leads to less impact when you land. In a 10km event, you could expect that you will be hitting the ground approximately 10,000 times, so lessening the impact is important.
RUNNING TIP 3: Be Informed About the Race
Know where its starts and finishes, best transportation methods to the race, and how long is it going to take to get there. Give yourself an hour to get used to the surroundings and warm-up.
RUNNING TIP 4: Have a Hydration Plan
Are you going to run with a bottle or will you just take drinks at the drinks stations throughout the course? Do what you feel comfortable with and what you’ve been used to when training.
RUNNING TIP 5: Know Your Race Plan
A race plan is important to control your initial speed, so decide what this will be prior to the race. Many runners, particularly those new to fun runs, often get caught up with the other runners and start the race too quickly.
RUNNING TIP 6: Divide the Course
For longer runs, it can be beneficial to divide the course into sections, e.g. divide the race into 5km blocks or identify landmarks along the race course and focus on running to those points. Try doing this in your training as well.
RUNNING TIP 7: Bring a Cheer Squad for Support
If possible run the race with a friend or have some people cheering you on and supporting you; this can really provide a boost, particularly in later stages of the race.
RUNNING TIP 8: Get your Nutrition Right
Distance runners obviously need plenty of energy for their competition and training workloads. As such, the main focus of a distance runner’s diet should be one high in carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is the key fuel source for exercise, especially during prolonged continuous or high-intensity exercise. The body stores carbohydrate as glycogen in the muscles and liver, however its storage capacity is limited. When carbohydrate stores are inadequate to meet the fuel needs of an athlete’s training program, the results can include fatigue, impaired performance, and a reduction in immune system function.
It is extremely important for anyone training for a distance run to ensure that their diet includes adequate carbohydrate, as well as moderate amounts of protein, healthy fats and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to ensure sufficient energy, body function, muscle repair, and an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals.
RUNNING TIP 9: Most Importantly …
It’s a fun run; enjoy it!
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