City to Surf is arguably one of Australia’s most famous running events and is just around the corner. The event attracts around 80, 000 people every year, from seasoned athletes, to weekend warriors to people who don’t usually spend much time exercising but just want to enjoy the day and give it a go. To get the low down on what not to do when you’re running the City2Surf, we roped in Body Science strength and conditioning coach Kevin Toonen, founder of Strength Elite, for his advice. Oh and did we mention, he’s a coach for the Special Forces? Yep.
So, for anyone who is a novice to the great race or would like to beat a personal best, here is Kevin Toonen’s advice for the most common mistakes made on the City2Surf and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1 Not testing your pre-race attire
“What does that mean? It means use and run in the exact shoes, socks, shorts, top, etc.,as you’ll run in on the day. Don’t leave it to the day to bust out your new pair of running kicks or short shorts. There’s nothing pretty about blisters 4km into the race or a new pair of shorts that ride-up and ruin your stride.”
Mistake 2 Not eating the right food
“Half of the run is physical (a lot of the other half is mental), and that means helping to fuel your body with the right amount of nutrients to run your best race. A week before the race, practice exactly what you will eat the day before and go for a run the day after to see how you feel. The most important tricks to practice are hydration, and the meal you have the night before you race. People commonly assume that dinner needs to be purely high carb, however, a meal high in nutrients with protein and some fats will serve you better. Save the carbs right before your race.
For example, the night before, bake a fillet of salmon and serve it with leafy greens, brown rice and some sweet potato chips. That’s a healthy balance of protein, fats and some carbohydrates. On race day have something light like a banana, which will serve you with the right amount of carbs to begin your race. After your body has digested the carbs, you will start to utulise the protein and fats which will sustain you for longer. Another mistake is eating too late the night before, make sure you’ve finished eating by 7.30pm so your body has digested the food. This also encourages an early morning toilet trip so you won’t need to go mid-race. If you practice this the week before you will get a good idea of how you’ll feel for race day.”
Mistake 3 Not keeping to your own pace
“Have a pace set and don’t get carried away with everyone else. The biggest mistake most people make is running someone else’s race on the day. They get carried away in the hype and the people running by and start to hold a pace that they can’t sustain and eventually burn out. This makes recovery that much harder. If you have something in the tank, let it go in the last 1-2km, not the first. You’ll be surprised by how much adrenaline is pumping in the last 2-3km so be sure not to go too hard too soon.”
Mistake 4 Not putting in the training
“Don’t expect to run a miracle race or not get injured if you don’t do the work. Train for it, put the Km’s into your body. While you may be able to push yourself over the line on race day, you’ll find the subsequent days of recovery incredibly painful if you haven’t trained. The reward you get for following a process and committing to goal will out-weigh the race time and medal at the end.”
Mistake 5 Not stretching sufficiently
“Once you cross that finishing line your job isn’t quite over, make sure you stretch and rest your body appropriately to ensure a speedy recovery. It’s possible to sustain chronic injuries if you don’t care for your body post-race, especially if you’re not a seasoned runner. Keep warm after your run so your muscles don’t seize up. Stretch all areas including the hamstrings, glutes, biceps and back. Use a foam roller or a tennis ball to help relieve these muscle groups. Magnesium is also great for relaxing the muscles and will help you to sleep well the night after the race. All these tricks can help prevent days of soreness and muscle fatigue.”
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