So we tracked down two expert endurance Nuzest athletes – long distance cyclist and V&B Athletic’s resident soft sand running specialist, David ‘DJ’ Jones and endurance athlete, mountain biker and part-time rock climber, Jase Crenshaw, – and drilled them for insider running tips and tricks.
Here is their list of eight mistakes that even experienced runners make before a big run… how many are you guilty of?
As the old saying goes, ‘quality is better than quantity’.While it’s important to get your legs used to volume, you need to use your training time wisely and in a way that prevents those little niggles or more serious injuries that can occur when you push things too hard, too often.
A good training program includes plenty of variety – strength training, shorter runs, high intensity sessions etc. and not just kilometres for the sake of getting those numbers up.
2. Fuelling for failure
It’s true when they say you’ll get out of your body what you put into it. If you want to be training and competing at your peak, you need to be fuelling in the same way for a good couple of months before your run. In reality this is simple, don’t try to overcomplicate it.
Stick to a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, unprocessed foods, a good balance of carbs and unsaturated fats to keep your body systems running, minimal (or no) alcohol and the occasional treat.
3. Inadequate rest and recovery
This is really just an extension of the point above, but important enough to mention in its own right. Giving your body time to rest is absolutely essential to allow muscle growth and repair. It also allows you to push that little bit harder and improve that little bit more in your next training session.
A good way to supplement your training regime is to build in regular weekly yoga, pilates, stretching and/or massage sessions.
4. Fair weather training and terrain
Check the fine print on any run and you’ll see it goes ahead rain, hail or shine, which means you need to do the same! If the conditions are unfavourable on the day of your race, unless you’ve experienced them in your training, you’re going to suffer. The same goes for terrain. If you’re going to be doing a mountain run, spending hours pounding the pavement won’t prepare you for the big day. You need to get your body and mind used to the sort of conditions you will actually be facing.
If you can’t train on the course itself, get as close as you can – for trail runs in particular, incorporate hills, stairs, soft sand and some technical trails – variable pace and unstable surfaces should be at the top of your training menu!
5. Staying comfortable
Get used to feeling and thinking ‘uncomfortable’ in your training. Learn how to cope with both physical and mental stress, and to tell the difference between muscular pain and discomfort. On your longer runs, really work on exploring your head space, pushing on when your mind is telling you to stop.
Even the most experienced runners have dark times in their long runs. What makes them successful is that they know how to run through those patches to reach those feel good endorphins on the other side. Break up your runs into bite-sized pieces, use music or the company of a running buddy to pull you through. Learn to focus on your surroundings and not on whatever part of your body is complaining at that point in time.
6. Neglecting the core
And we don’t just mean your abs here! Actually your rectus abdomens don’t do all that much for you in the scheme of things, apart from hanging around looking pretty. We’re talking about all of those muscles in your torso – obliques, transverse abdominals, spinal erectors, diaphragm, pelvic floor – they’re all critical in maintaining good running posture and stabilising your body for efficient, injury-free running.
Aim to include a good variety of core routines in 2 or 3 times a week.
7. Overthinking it
Once you hit that half marathon distance and above, mental preparation and resilience becomes equally, if not more important than the physical aspects of running. You can easily talk yourself out of a run half way through an event, convinced that you can’t take another step, only to realise a couple of hours later that you’ve pulled the pin way too early and you actually had plenty left in the tank.
8. Last-minute changes
Last of all, don’t try to change things up before, or worse, during your race. New gear, new foods, new clothing… if you’re going to try any of that, do it at least a month out from your event so you have time to see how your body reacts and adapts.
Trust in your training. Know that if you’ve put in consistent, high quality work in the lead up, you’re going in with the best chance of success. If something doesn’t work on the day, it’s not the end of the world – there will always be another run and you’ve got plenty of time after race day to try something new and make sure you don’t make that same mistake going into the next one!
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