Delve into 2012

Posted on December 28, 2011

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As published in Ahlan – December 2011 – and seeing as just a few more days remain before registration closes … read, review & resolve!

New Years resolutions need not just be pie in the sky intentions with little follow up.  In fact, why not make a decision today to start the New Year getting fit, feeling great and conquering the Standard Chartered 10k on the 27th January 2012?

The final day for registration is the 31st December 2011 so there is still time.  And don’t for a second think that you ‘can’t’ do it because you;

a) have never run that far

b) have been over-indulging in too much festivity of late

c) don’t feel you have time to train or

d) all of the above!

There is still time to start making small changes in your routine and as we all know, small changes over time lead to great journeys … journeys involving a distance of 10k no less!

Here are my top tips:

TRAIN

With everyone starting with a different level of fitness, it’s impossible to give a ‘one size fits’ all approach. I think the key here is to think about the distance you can cover now and then consider where you need to be.  The final few days before the race, you want to cut back so perhaps plan your longest run, during the week ending the 20th January. No need to cover the entire 10k … if you can cover 7/8k, the excitement and adrenaline on the day will absolutely get you across the finish line.  Plan to run perhaps three times a week and very gradually increase your distance.  Keep it fun by mixing up your routes, downloading some cool new tunes or listening to podcasts. It’s all about multi-tasking girls, which we all have mastered to a fine art! If you really want a more structured training programme, a quick Google search will bring hundreds of results with week-by-week countdowns.  The Runners World site is like the little back dress of running advice.

Finally, all that pounding on pavement is tough on your body so try to find time for some cross-training too. Yoga and swimming are both particularly good and the perfect antidotes to the hard impact training that running brings.

REST

People rarely over train, rather they are normally caught short by ‘under rest’.

So … if suddenly doing more training that you would normally do over the coming weeks, give your body a good chance to recover afterwards.  This means regular chill outs on the sofa reading the latest goss in Ahlan and regular trips to your favourite haunts with your girlfriends for a nutritious and delicious lunch.  It does not mean trawling the mall for hours on end and exhausting your already overworked legs in the process nor does it mean going clubbing and dancing your bootie off till the wee small hours of the morning!

SLEEP

Lots. Work your body hard by day and you need to allow ample time for it to recover and repair by night.  Start going to sleep a little earlier if you can’t manage an extra lie in in the mornings.  It’s tough at this time of year what with all the parties going on but really, leaving your secret Santa soirees half an hour earlier and getting a little extra beauty sleep will over time, pay dividends. When you sleep, your heart rate and body temp lowers putting your entire body in a state of relaxation … if you don’t get this, your immune system will be down and you’ll be more prone to illness and injury.

Don’t think long lie-ins make up for late nights either … this is one area where it pays to be a little strict with yourself.

EAT

The fuel you put in the body will determine your performance, not just in the race but your overall everyday life. Ladies … you’ll need to turn your back on the ‘low carb’ frenzy as carbs are your primary fuel when exercising and should make up about 50-60% of your daily diet. Think wholegrain breads, pasta, oatmeal, potatoes, beans, fruits and veg. Protein is also important because if helps to build and repair your muscles. Aim to make protein 10-25% of your daily and eat it mainly after your workouts. On the morning of the race, stick with what you know so eat what you would normally have for brekkie but if you’re a coffee fiend, stick to just one cup so you don’t need the loo half way round. During the race itself, you probably won’t need to eat but if concerned about suddenly needing an injection of energy, I normally pop a handful of jelly beans into my pocket (most running shorts have a little pocket inside) There are plenty of sports performance gels and bars out there too but if you’ve not tried them before, don’t attempt to on race day and besides, with this distance, they shouldn’t be necessary.

DRINK

Staying well hydrated is really REALLY important, for all levels of runners. You should start upping your fluid intake in the days before the race so you arrive at the race start already hydrated. During the run, sip small but regularly … it’s a horrible feeling trying to run when you’re belly is bursting with water. You may want to consider taking electrolytes too as these will help replenish your sodium, magnesium and mineral levels.  Sodium, in particular, is vital to replace after all that sweating. Elete electrolytes are my favourite.  You just add a few drops to your water bottle and off you go.

WEAR

I’m not just referring to being colour co-ordinated on the day and wearing this season’s best-loved hues!  Rather, you need to make sure that the clothing you wear has been tried and tested before.  Don’t wear brand new shorts as they might cause chaffing … or new socks that may sag and cause you blisters.  Always stick with what you know. As for your trainers, make sure they are well broken in and wear proper running shoes.  My all time favourites are adidas cushion response, which I can’t recommend enough.

PREPARE

Pop on to the official website and check out the course map.  Better still, grab a girlfriend and walk or run it together. Work out where the drinks stops are so you can expect them on the day and know exactly where the race start is. In the days before the race, write a list of all you need to remember … what you will wear and what you need to take. You’ll also need to pick up your race pack with your bib and goody bag beforehand. Finally, work out what time you want to arrive at the race start and work backwards as to when you’ll have to leave home, get up, have breakfast etc. You don’t want to feel stressed out on the day.

LUBE

Chaffing is a wicked consequence of your clothes running against your skin when you sweat. It causes a painful rash and it stings like crazy when you get in the shower post run.  If prone to chaffing … best monitor this when you train … just smear Vaseline on the affected parts the morning of the race.  If you find your eyes sting and your mascara smudges when running, this too is because of sweat dripping from your forehead so smear a streak of Vaseline horizontally across your forehead.  It really works!

ENGAGE

Ever tried visualising?  Whenever I have a big race, I use visualisation as a very powerful tool to help me complete it. Visualisation is nothing more that really imagining yourself on the day … what the course will be like and how you will feel at the start, the middle and the end.  Try to create an accurate a picture as possible so think about the sights, the smells, the atmosphere … It is far easier to make something become real when we can imagine it so strongly, it almost feels real.

ENJOY

Remember not to lose sight of the fact that the race is meant to be fun.  On the day, the sun will be shining, the atmosphere will be amazing and all that matters is that you give it 110%. If you get too tired to run, just walk.  And if for any reason, you can no longer do that, you pull out.  In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you give it your all.

And besides, it all else fails, you’ll have a ready-made fitness goal when the next 10k race opp comes around!

GOOD LUCK … x

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