Double knot your laces.
That’s about all the advice I can give before embarking on a running race. That, and wear a supportive sports bra because…
But aside from those two pearls of wisdom, I got nothing. And if you’re setting off on your first long distance run, you probably have some questions you wanted answered: Should I aim for a consistent pace? Should I eat porridge for breakfast? … Will I need to pee?
Sadly, I can’t help you. But someone who can is Matty Abel. As a Nike+ Run Club coach, he literally runs for a living so it’s his business to know the answer. Whether you’ve signed up for Australia’s City2Surf or you’re training for the New York Marathon, he shares some real advice on preparing for your run.
Running should be easy and enjoyable but your running style can affect this. Having a poor running style can cause you to use more energy than required on each foot strike, making you fatigue a lot earlier than you should. Poor form will also increase your chances of becoming injured. Something many of us strive for is almost flawless technique—using as little energy as possible and return for investment on each foot strike.
This all depends on the overall outcome. For instance, on your last week of training, if you are doing an easy recovery run, you might want to keep your pace consistent. However, on a faster run, you might look to start off a little easier and progressively build your speed for a fast finish. For a longer run—like the City2Surf—most runners would aim to keep a consistent pace for the first half of the race and try to have a negative split the second half, equalling a faster finish. A good way to track your pace is to use Nike + Run Club app on your runs as it’ll monitor your every stride, telling you per km what pace you’re going at.
Best tip is to focus on your form. As we fatigue, our form tends to drop off, which makes running a lot harder. This is also a prime time to become injured. Simple things like thinking about fast feet, pumping the arms and looking forward will help with this. Nutrition also plays a big part with fighting fatigue in longer runs.
For something like the City2Surf, it’s best to have some form of carbohydrate around 60-90 minutes prior (this can be in the form of a banana, for example). Post run is the most important time to get some nutrition in as it’s where our recovery really starts, which sets us up for our next run. A 4:1 (carbohydrates : protein) is a common and proven ratio for a post-run or post-training meal, whether that is whole foods or through a recovery shake.
If you’re running the City2Surf in Sydney, Australia this weekend, visit Nimble Activewear for their after party. They’ve got DJs pumping beats, Balanced Wellness raw treats, Remedy kombucha and dry styling stations. Not to mention, discounts in-store and a free pair of run shorts to customers who spend over $100. Treat yo’self!