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Here at Sports Tours International we are immensely proud to be the official active holiday partner for England Athletics. In conjunction with England Athletics, we want to help you prepare for your race with a few extra training tips. Whilst there are hundreds of training plans and tips out there, we want to bring you the advice of England Athletics and their experienced coaching team.
Over the next few weeks we will be publishing four articles as part of our “Training advice from England Athletics” series, which will provide you with training tips from Spencer Duval, who is the National Endurance Lead Coach for England Athletics.
Up first, Issue 1 the training tips to help you prepare for your race…So, over to you Spencer.
You’ve booked your marathon, congratulations, the next step now is to start your training, and to prepare your body and mind for your race.
It all starts with routine. At this stage there’s nothing you need to be worrying about in terms of special training, but take this time to set yourself a routine. Make time for as many runs as you can manage in a week (three or four runs a week would be ideal). Even if it’s just a couple of miles, or something a bit longer, try to get out of the door. It sounds simple and, actually, it is! Before you know it, you’ve laid a fabulous base for when the serious training begins (more on that later).
We’re also into planning here (no surprise there); sketch out what you want from this race AND WRITE IT DOWN – THEN SHOW SOMEONE ELSE SO YOU ARE COMMITTED TO IT. Are you chasing a time; do you want to get round as comfortably as possible, or just get round? Answer a few questions about the race, and from there you’ll be able to start to work out what you need from your training. This will help you work out what you can actually fit into the busy week. Chasing a time, for instance, will mean more speed work, a few races, and the odd time trial to make sure you’re on track. Getting round comfortably will involve getting out running as much as you can between now and race day. Some of you will have other goals, but rest assured, whatever they are, we have the expertise to help you whatever you’re looking for.
It’s better to start off your training with short, regular outings, rather than trying to cram it all in as those final 12 weeks approach. The goal is to get to the start line (and the start of your training) injury free so take this time to get used to things slowly. “Rush slowly”. Remember, a consistent total of around 30 miles a week will result in a better performance than weeks of nothing, then two weeks of 80 miles!
It’s worth remembering that the best runners build a team around them. This is where your family and friends come into play. Tell them what you’re hoping to achieve – the first rule of goal setting. That will keep you motivated and get them behind you on days when you need it most – i.e. rainy evenings when you need a bit of encouragement to get out for a run. Also, it is worth thinking about your local running shoe shop. A specialist running store will be able to tell you what the best shoes are for your particular running style. Equally, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to appropriate clothing and kit, effective layering for training in the cold, or the best rain jackets to run in. In order of importance your running shoes are top priority. They will be the things that you hammer, abuse, soak, heat up, and generally forget about in the training phase.
Of course everyone is different on this one, but try to think about carbohydrates for energy, protein (and fat) for muscle repair, and hydration all the time. It’s the last one that gets ignored the most, but is the easiest to rectify. Make sure you sip a litre or two of water every day, in addition to the other drinks you normally take in. You don’t need to run with water bottles but you do need to make sure you have them available asap when you complete each and every training run. As runners we probably all know about the importance of carbohydrates for long distance energy, but don’t forget (especially if you’re an older runner) that protein is hugely relevant when it comes to maintaining muscle strength. In short, our needs change as we age, as well as how much training you do!
Simple things like sleep, mobility and recovery are all elements you can add to your life right now. Try to get to bed a little earlier because the time you spend recovering (yes days off matter as much as training) is when all that hard work comes into effect. It’s all about building up, easing off then building up a bit more. Mobility is simply getting up from your chair once an hour and walking around. Job done. Nothing more, nothing less.
You can find out more about training tips and running in England by visiting England Athletics
Keep up to date with the latest advice from England Athletics by following our blog, and keeping up to date with us on all of our social media platforms.
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