It’s that time of year where conditions are perfect for strapping up the laces, getting out into the winter sunshine and striding it out. And what better way to create a sense of purpose to your running than signing up for a fun run, half or full marathon? However, I do come across many common mistakes that can be easily avoided with a little bit of planning. Here are my top four tips to guarantee your success.
Don’t sacrifice function for fashion. Some shoes may look great, or offer the latest in running technology, but choosing shoes based purely on aesthetics will damage more than your bank balance. Everyone is different and it is important to remember to find what works best for you. Currently, there is a lot of talk about the benefits of barefoot running. Although it may be great for some people, for many others who don’t have sufficient function in their feet it is a sure way to get injured. Before you start your training get assessed and fitted by a specialist and trainers that work for you. And once you get your new set of wheels be sure take care of them properly as well.
Enlist the help of a friend, colleague or coach to help with your motivation and accountability to help get you across the line. A running group is the perfect option, there are many throughout the community and joining one will give you the inspiration and technical know-how. Also, a bit of friendly competition is a great way to channel your inner athlete and take your running prowess to new heights.
Training for your event doesn’t mean you have to run race distance every day. If you train like this not only will you burn out, get sick and injured, you may even be making yourself less fit. Research shows you can achieve a 28% improvement in fitness in as little as 16 minutes a week compared to 300 minutes. It all comes down to intensity. High-intensity interval running has been proven to be the best way to increase your fitness. To start with, your intervals might be a 20 second sprint followed by a two minute jog. This can be progressed to a 1:1 ratio of work/rest. You should aim for at least two sessions of around 20 minutes a week. If you feel you could go for longer it usually means you didn’t push hard enough in your sprint period or are having too much time for your break between intervals.