Keep on running

Whether you’re attempting your first marathon, or just a more sedate fun run, personal trainer Katie Fownes gives her tips to get you to the finish line

We’re coming well and truly into the running season, when thousands will don trainers and hit the roads in pursuit of their own slice of personal glory. Locally, there’s a host of events planned through 2013 to suit all athletic abilities, from shorter ‘fun runs’ to half marathons and the full-blown 26-mile heavy duty races. But just how prepared and in shape will the competitors be at the start line? Well, with the right preparation, some common sense and dedication a run really can be fun, or at least less painful. Here’s some easy-to-follow tips for anyone taking part in events over the coming months:

PACE YOURSELF

Resist the temptation to go flat out – take it slow and steady. If you have been used to completing a nine-minute mile, stick to this speed and don’t follow the crowd.

SET REALISTIC GOALS

If you have completed 10 miles in two hours, realistically you won’t complete 26 miles in three. Listen to your body and be prepared to adapt training according to your particular circumstances and physical condition. If it’s your first marathon, don’t beat yourself up about not hitting your target time, there’s only so much you can plan for – and toilet queues isn’t one of them!

PREPARATION

In the final stretch of training, focus on the day itself. Try on your kit to make sure you’re comfortable running in it and that it fits properly. Your trainers should be relatively new, but properly broken in to prevent blisters and other injuries. Avoid trying anything new, such as sports drinks, gels, in the week leading up to the race or on the day itself, as your body may not cope well.

ENERGY STORING

As the race approaches a few weeks away, start tapering your training in order to let your body recover properly and get rejuvenated in time for the big day. Three days before is the time to fill your body with carbs and ensure you are able to store enough energy to complete the race. Stick to foods you know work for you – my friend swears by Muller Yoghurts and orange squash, but these aren’t for everyone.

RECOVERY

Stretching properly is a vital, particularly after the race, to prevent injury. Looking after you immediately or very close to finishing will slow down and possibly alleviate some of the symptoms of post-race soreness.

AND FINALLY…

There’s no energy boost like moral support, so invite friends and family to cheer you on and arrange a well-deserved treat for crossing the finish line. And… good luck!

ABOUT KATIE FOWNES: Katie is a fitness trainer with Nuffield Health - visit www.nuffieldhealth.com or Twitter @nuffieldhealth