Tips for Long Distance Running


START SMALL


You’ve finally mustered up enough motivation to drag yourself off the couch and enter one of the many Charity Runs around Perth. You leap out of bed the next morning eager to begin training weeks out from the event. You pull on your tatty 10 year old joggers and fly out the door. Holding record pace you make it to the end of your street before the realization sets in that:

a) you probably should have warmed up and
b) you’re not going to be able to maintain this speed for too much longer.
Determined to turn over a new leaf and turn up prepared on the day of the event you press on. By the time you make it back home you’re to the point where crawling on hands and knees to make it to the front door seems like a viable option. You wake up the next morning feeling like the victim of a bus crash. You make it onto the train and miss your stop because you’re unable to get up out of your seat. Once you finally make it to work you have to put up with colleagues peppering you with questions about why you’re late and why it is that you’re gingerly gait resembles that of a cowboy. It’s several days even weeks before you contemplate putting yourself through that again and soon the self proclaimed ‘fun-run’ is more about simply finishing as the entry fee is non-refundable.

Yep, we’ve all been there and it’s an easy mistake to make. Hence, tip number 1:

START SMALL


Training can begin with as little as a brisk walk or a combination of walking and jogging. Begin with short distances and moderate intensity/speed, monitor how you recover and progress both as tolerated. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS can take 24-48 hours to set it so allow for it and again use it to monitor where you’re at and how your body is adapting. The best way to keep it at bay is to again start small and most importantly be consistent and don’t leave it too long between training sessions. Ensure you give yourself time to warm-up for at least 5 minutes before each session. Even begin training on softer, more forgiving surfaces first such as grass.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY


Running can be tough on the body and it takes time to adjust to this and any other new physical activity. So again give your body time to adapt and LISTEN TO IT. If you wake up on a particular morning and you’re feeling a little stiff, sore or genuinely knackered take the hint and consider your options: take a rest day, do an alternative activity, opt for a shorter (distance, or time or intensity) session.

If you’re starting out and are already carrying injuries, get these sorted out first. Seek specialist advice, treatment and once you’re 100% make sure you have a contingency plan to stay pain free or deal with the injury should it return. Likewise should you develop any kind of injury once you begin training get on top of it straight away with appropriate therapy before it stops you from training and potentially making it to the big day.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET


There’s no doubting that our feet take the biggest battering with running. Make sure you have appropriate and well fitting footwear that is tailored to you, your feet and your running style. Orthotics have a limited life span, if in any doubt make the call to your podiatrist get them checked out along with the shoes you intend to train in. Check your feet regularly and keep an eye out for swelling, redness and inflammation. What’s more get on top of any blisters early before they become full blown flesh wounds that will stop you in your tracks.

TAILOR YOUR TRAINING TO THE EVENT


It’s important you consider the demands of the event you intend to complete. Is it hilly? What is the exact distance? What is the course? What are the conditions likely to be like on the day? Where are the drink stations? What surfaces will I be running on?

It’s important you consider all the above questions and try and simulate these in training. This includes completing a similar distance run at least a few weeks out from the event, incorporating hills and surfaces that you’re likely to have to contend with on the day in training runs and perhaps running at least part of the course before the event.

MAKE IT FUN


Drag your friends or partner out to run or ride along side you, vary where you run, throw in the odd beach run, start a running group at work, test yourself with some shorter fun-runs, keep a training log so you can clearly see the progress you’ve made.

At the end of the day registering for one of these events shouldn’t feel like you’ve just been conscripted. Instead look at it as a way of motivating yourself to get out get active and do your bit for a good cause.