Running is a sport that has been riding a wave of popularity for a number of years and shows no signs of stopping. Like any endurance sport, the physical, physiological and psychological benefits are numerous. Oxygenating the body and mind, strengthening muscles, improving heart capacity, losing weight, and releasing stress are all good examples of the benefits.
What makes this activity so popular is its unparalleled accessibility; in a world like ours where everything moves at full speed, the ability to put on your shoes, go outside and start a run in less than 30 seconds is an incredible benefit for anyone with a busy schedule. And, compared to other sports, the cost associated with running is relatively low.
Although people usually practice this sport recreationally, I believe the source of the sport comes from its competitive nature and its Olympic origins. You don’t have to be shy about wanting to outdo yourself and even, from time to time, test your limits by participating in a race. Regardless of your level or goal, here are some technical tips to help you prepare for your race and make it effective, enjoyable and, hopefully, triumphant.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Are you aiming to complete a 5 km, make the top 10 in your age group at a half-marathon, or improve your personal best in a 10 km? No matter which one it is, find a race whose date will give you 8 to 12 weeks to train. This will give you enough time to gradually increase your training load, a process that should take almost four weeks. If you have an idea of how many hours of peak training you need to get to your goal, don’t make the mistake of trying to get there overnight; several weeks of transition are needed to fully absorb the increasing load. After spending a few weeks in top racing form, give yourself 10 days before the race to lower the load, rest your legs and enjoy a surplus of energy on race day.
Aim for Regular Training
Just as was the case in school, doing all your studying the night before an exam was never a good idea. Not only should you extend the training over several weeks, but you should train regularity. If your schedule only allows you to do three runs a week, you have to aim to do this over a longer period, rather than trying to fit in 5 or 6 runs in your overloaded schedule the week before your race.
Hills are Your Friends
Without the luxury of a personal trainer or a structured training class, the easiest way to get in shape is to run on a slope. Short repetitions (10 to 30 seconds) of sprints will improve your running technique and your mechanics on flat surfaces, while longer intervals (1 to 3 minutes) will stimulate your cardio, as well as the muscles in your legs. One to two sessions a week, depending again on your available time, can be very beneficial.
Make Some Friends!
It’s no secret that, after a long day’s work, it is sometimes hard to get motivated, Especially in colder weather when it’s tempting to stay in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. Being able to count on a friend who can motivate you and workout with you makes the task much easier. A partner can also become a good source of motivation to help you excel, if you let your competitive spirit take over!
I went to Sportium to check it out. What items would I recommend to a new runner who wants to attempt their first race?
One of my favourite models of running shoes is the ASICS Roadhawk FF. Don’t be fooled by its casual urban style. The shoe is equipped with the lightest sole and gives the best bounce back ever designed by ASICS. This model is very light, but has a layer of absorbent foam that makes it perfect for both training and race day, when you want to feel light and energized.
This watch has everything needed to satisfy every runner, for the newest runner to the most elite. Light and easy to use, the M430 is equipped with a GPS and a very accurate heart rate monitor. Its Polar Flow operating system makes it easy to connect the watch to your computer so you can personalize it the way you want. Although data such as heart rate, distance traveled and pace are the most useful baseline data, those who want to push their training to the next level can use its advanced features as a tool. It includes, among other things, your running index, sleep hours, recovery status, activity tracking and calories burned.