With summer starting to come to a close, it's time to dust off your running shoes and start pounding the pavement for running season! Whether it's your first 5km fun run or your lacing up for a marathon, here are some tips to an enjoyable running experience!
The right attire and more importantly, your running shoes, are the best place to start. These don't have to be the latest $250 fluro creation from one of the big brands, so when selecting a pair of running shoes look for something that feels comfortable and secure on your feet. I would strongly recommend going to a specialized running store that will take the time to find the right shoe for your foot, this may mean you going for a test run to confirm whether they're the shoe for you!
Goal Setting - Sitting down with your trainer and planning out a SMART goal will allow a greater sense of direction and purpose with your training. Be specific with what you are trying to accomplish and why. Having a measureable and achievable goal will help you reflect whether you're on track every week in the lead up to your event, which is a great point from an accountability view. The importance of this process is further emphasized by how realistic this goal is for you to achieve; are there any barriers that will interfere with you reaching your goal? And finally, is the amount of time until the event enough to adequately train and prepare yourself? By asking yourself these questions, you can always self assess where you currently are in regards to achieving your set goals.
Following on from goal setting comes the design of your training program to accomplish your SMART goal. It's important to understand, trust and respect the role your program has in achieving your desired goal on the day of the event. There may likely be times where your session hasn't gone to plan, or life throws at you something that limits or halts your training program for a length of time. These are the defining moments where you can remember why you are striving to accomplish the goals and promises you set in stone at your goals session with your trainer. Another common barrier found during training may relate to the types of training sessions you are completing. This can be overcome by breaking up your training week into sprints/ hills / fartlek and long run sessions. Depending on the event you're training for, and your geographical circumstances, a great way to familiarise yourself with any running event is to integrate sections of the course into your own training.
Looking after your body is key to making it to race day in the best possible shape. Similar to executing your training plan, you should treat stretching and mobility as a high priority each week in the forms of 'prehab' (before exercise) and 'posthab' (after exercise). By executing weekly, this will hopefully limit the chances of a serious injury possibly derailing your race preparation. Try and integrate cross training sessions, like swimming and cycling, which are low impact options and are great for overall fitness.
"I often hear someone say I'm not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner." - Bart Yasso