[Guest post By lululemon Ambassador Greg Stark, Personal Trainer and Owner of Better Being]
Is it really 3 weeks to go to City 2 Surf? Feeling a bit underdone? Ready to cram like you would for an exam you haven’t studied for?
Your instinct might be to try and run as far as you can, as fast as you can everyday from now till race day. Or even to give up completely. Don’t fear. Even though it is 3 weeks, it’s still 21 days and a lot can be achieved in that time. It’s time to train smarter not harder.
1. Run. If you want to be a better run you need to run. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the pump or stretch class will make you run better. Get outside and go for a run today! Start small maybe aim for 2km. Give yourself a few days rest then aim for 4km. You should look to have at least 4-6 longer runs between now and race day.
2. Create Intervals. Struggling for time or the ability to run continuously? Start with an adapted version of high intensity interval training. Run as fast as you can for 30 seconds then walk for 30 seconds to a minute depending on your level of fitness. If you don’t have a watch use street post, run 6 and walk 3.
3. Rest. Your body doesn’t get stronger from running; it gets stronger from the recovery after running. Give yourself 2 days between each run and at least 3 days off before race day. This will make sure you are fresh for race day. Any training done in the last couple of days will have little effect on performance and only increase risk of injury. A good nights sleep before race day is key.
1. Test. Experiment with food with every run you have to find what works for you. From my experience some people find fruit works best, others nuts some even yoghurt. Approach each training run as though it will be race day.
2. Don’t Carbo-Load. People often use the excuse of running to have a big binge on pastries and pasta. Not only is this unnecessary it will actually decrease your performance. You will find that by eating these types of foods you feel great at the start but come crashing down and hit that wall pretty early. Focus on your consumption of whole fruit and vegetables as these sources will give you a slow release of carbohydrates and are much more easily digestible. So instead of pasta the night before have some fish and sweet potato. For breakfast the morning of the race avoid the banana bread or orange juice and go for a whole banana.
3. Hydrate. A 2% decrease in hydration leads to a 20% decrease in performance. Gatorade and coconut water are not the magic bullet that some people might have you believe. They only help to speed up the process of water into your blood stream. Focus on being fully hydrate a few days before race day and sip as you go. Whatever you do don’t scull a liter of water before you run because the only place you will be running is the bathroom.
* outfit and waterbottle from lululemon
1. Breathe. Running more than any other activity it will be your mind that gives out before your body. The key is to play games with your mind. Your breathing is one of the most important components of running. If you are able to establish a rhythmical slow pattern of breathing you can offset stress and increase your movement efficiency. To breathe effectively really focus on your exhalation and it should feel like it is coming from your stomach not your throat. We often use ‘breathe’ as a cue for our clients while performing an exercise as this helps to increase focus and performance.
2. Body Awareness. During most runs the first 10 minutes always seem the hardest part. By focusing on how your body feels and your technique, your run will become less painful and more efficient. You want to feel light and bouncy on your feet not feel or sound like an elephant stomping down the street. You should also feel like a piece of string is attached to the top of your head pulling you to the sky so your body feels lengthened. Doing a quick warm up will help you start the race on the front foot, a little jog and a few lunges all help, just keep it dynamic.
3. Use A Mantra. Running can be tough but having a key phrase or mantra can help you overcome just about any obstacle. Using a positive cue can often be enough to give you the strength to continue and try a little harder. Even mantra’s like ‘look up’ can help you become more aware and grateful of your surroundings. One of my clients uses the mantra ‘light weight’ which he says to himself before lifting a heavy weight.
And if all else fails, make sure you pick up some new running specific threads to get you motivated and too look the part! I am LOVING lululemons new City 2 Surf run range, shop the look here