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Beach Running. Image: Pixabay

It seems that every one these days is a ‘runner’. There’s those that do lunchtime runs between board meetings, evening runs when the weather cools down and those weekend runners who’d rather be pounding the pavement than sleeping between the sheets. And then there’s the plethora of fun runs, marathons and running clubs that have sprung up all over Sydney. But how do you make the transition from a wannabe runner to someone that runs for fun? If anyone can help us work that out, it’s Nike head trainer Sam Strutt.

Sam, when people first start to get into running, what are some of the important tips they should know?
My first tip is to stay consistent. It is easier to stay consistent if you know when you are meant to be training. So have a look at your week and find a time that you can block out as your ‘training time’ and stick to that time! If your ‘training time’ is 7am, then make sure you are out the door and moving at that time. Running has its ups and downs – one day a run might feel incredible and the next you are struggling every step of the way. This is normal as your body is constantly adapting to the stress that you put it under. My recommendation if you are new to running is to base your runs off effort and not pace. Get used to listening to your body and discovering how it reacts to different runs. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t track your runs though. Use an app to track your progress (I use the Nike+ Run Club app) as well as work out what is and isn’t working with your training.


When do people generally hit a running plateau and what are some of the ways we can overcome it?
When you actually hit that plateau varies wildly depending on who you are and what type of training you are doing. Ways to overcome it depend on what training you have been doing. My recommendation for this would be to speak to a running coach. They will take the time to hear what you have been doing with your training and for how long. If you are able to show the coach your training log (from your training app), they will be able to get a much clearer idea of what you have been doing and make a recommendation accordingly.

Nike Running Coach
Once we’ve got the hang of shorter runs, what are some of the things we should look out for?
 A very important part of distance running is your ‘running economy’ or how efficient you are as a runner. To help with becoming more efficient, you can try to incorporate interval training into your program. The gains that you get from this ‘speed work’ will improve your running form, which will in turn assist how efficiently you use your energy stores. We have all heard of the dreaded ‘wall’, which is essentially the depletion of glycogen stores in your body. If you are more economical in your running, you will use less glycogen and in turn delay the affects of hitting the ‘wall’. I would also strongly recommend practicing a nutrition plan if you want to attempt a long distance race. Practice makes perfect.


Alright! We’re ready for a 5km or 10km fun run – what sort of gear will we need?
Your shoes are always the most important bit of gear that you will take out on a run, as your shoes are your body’s first connection to the ground. If you are looking for a fit and feel that is suited to running long distances, then a shoe like the Lunar Epic is perfect as it has a soft yet snug Flyknit fit, a springy, supportive underfoot (thanks to Lunarlon foam middle) and works on all kinds of surfaces as it has laser cut pods in the sole.


Does this differ for a half or marathon?
Your shoes will always be the number one piece of gear in your running bag, but yes they can differ depending on the kind of distance you are completing. The best way to narrow down your shoe choice is to identify: 1) Did your last running shoe work well? 2) How far are you running? 3) What surface are you predominately running on? 4) Is the shoe comfortable? 5) What is your injury history? My best bit of advice is that if you have a running shoe that works well for you, when the time comes to update your shoes start by trying on the new version of that shoe.


When should an experienced 10k race runner think about attempting a half marathon?
Most people are mesmerised by running longer but often forget that they can get quicker over the shorter distances. They make the move up to longer distances perhaps a little too quick which can end up causing some issues down the track. If you are thinking of moving up distance, you need to be prepared for the increase of time spent on your feet running. You need to be ready to allocate more time to your training to allow yourself to train and to recover. For most people they move up distance, as they are ready for a new challenge. This is great but I would recommend first attempting to run a 10km race that you were specifically coached for.


So, in your opinion, what are Sydney’s best running races to be a part of?
Nike+ Run Club Women’s Half Marathon Sydney – if you were lucky enough to run this 21KM you will know what I mean.
City2Surf – the way in which Sydney becomes running crazy over that weekend is incredible.
NSW State 3000m – I couldn’t finish this off without mentioning my beloved track and field. This event, held every November, is a well organised 3000m race on the track that ranges from runners just starting their training to National champions. It’s a great chance to take your foot off the brakes and really go for it!
Shoes: LunarEpic Flyknit
Gadget: Apple Watch
Clothes: Nike Dri Knit,
Extras: I lather that sunscreen on!


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