The more time you have to prepare for a fun run, the better. Ideally you’ll start training about 10 weeks before the race takes place, and be able to run at least 3 times a week during this training period. If you’re a complete beginner it is important to smart small; do interval training (interchange walking and running) and build up your resistance. As you get closer to the race you will want to start steady paced runs, as that will be how you will carry out the final race.
If you’re looking for a running program, sign up for one on the wellbeing hub: we have 12-week programs for 5km, 10km and 21km races. Plus, the organisers of Adelaide’s City to Bay have created great training programs for both beginners and advanced runners:
But there’s more to preparing for a fun run than simply running! Here are 5 tips to ensure you turn up at the starting line with confidence:
Whether you’re a novice runner or a serious athlete, having the right equipment is essential when undertaking a serious run. Info from Rei.
Shoes are the most significant piece of equipment for a runner. They form the basis of your running experience and getting the right pair is paramount in protecting you from injury and maintaining the health of your knees and ankles. It’s best to go to a running store so you may trial a number of pairs and take advantage of a professional’s expertise. But there’s also research you can do at home; Runner's World has a great interactive shoe advisor which allows you enter your personal details and recommends shoes based on your running style, height and weight, and the arch of your feet.
What you wear while you run has a huge impact on how you feel. Although, there is no need to invest in expensive running clothes; the important thing is to dress comfortable and light. Grab a simple t-shirt and a pair of comfy light shorts or tights and you are ready to go. It is also important – particularly if you are training for a long distance outdoor run – to be weary of sun protection. Make sure to wear a cap on your longer runs, and apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
If you’re serious about training, you should start to alter your diet along with your running patterns. It is important before any run to eat lots of carbohydrates; have a big breakfast on days you plan to run, and keep eating throughout the day.
Regardless of what time in the day you plan on running, it is important to at the very least have had a snack 30-90 minutes beforehand so your body has enough energy to go the distance.
After a run you need plenty of water, along with high protein and carbohydrate foods so your body can repair and recover.
In the weeks leading up to the race try ‘carbo-loading’ i.e. eating high levels of carbohydrates in order to raise your muscle glycogen, which will improve endurance and allow you to exercise at your optimal pace for longer. By trialling this several weeks before the race you can see what foods sit well in your stomach, and whether carbo-loading is for you. This is important because by race week you want to know exactly what and how much you are going to eat.
The week before the race your diet should be almost entirely high carbohydrate foods. The night before have a small, carb-heavy meal, and in the morning have a filling carb-heavy breakfast at least two hours before the race.
Info from Runners World
3. Familiarise Yourself with the Race
On the day of the race you want to avoid all surprises, this means beforehand you should scope out the course. Check the race location, familiarise yourself with the route, make sure you’re used to running on similar terrains, and ensure you are prepared beyond all doubt for race day.
4. Keep Record
It’s a good idea to keep a training diary and record your progress. Think: how far you run, how long it takes, how you felt during, how you feel after, etc. A diary will help you to better understand yourself and your development, and it can be satisfying to go back and read what you first wrote.
Keeping a record of your resting heart rate will help to show your improvement, as well as tell you when you need more recovery time between runs. This can be done easily by placing your index and third fingers on your pulse (at your wrist or windpipe). Count the number of beats in 15 seconds and then multiply that number by 4 to calculate your beats-per-minute heartrate. You will see your resting heart decrease as you get fitter. But, as outlined in the City to Bay training program, a sudden rise of 5 to 10 beats per minute in resting points means you may not have recovered fully from your last run, or you could be coming down with an illness. If you notice this take the day off or at the very least go easy on yourself, trying to run through injury or illness can often only make things worse.
5. Stay Safe
All the above points are important to keep in mind, but the most important thing is to stay safe. Don’t overwork yourself or go to extreme measures, remember, it’s a fun run. Good luck, and happy racing!
Image credit to The Color Run Instagram.