How late is too late to start training for a run? Should we be smashing a bowl of pasta the night before a race? Where do we even BEGIN to start training? Yep, we have plenty of questions when it comes to anything running related. So we decided to ask an expert, running coach Ryan Mannix, to share his best tips on preparing for a big race.
Structure your training
The biggest mistake that people often make when training for a race is lack of structure and therefore consistency. Finding a program or some training structure to base your week around is key to staying consistent.
Without structure, it’s too easy to skip days and miss sessions when the week gets a little busy. But with structure, you plan the day around the training so that it gets done. Training is a slow burn. You need to be consistent over many weeks in order to get the fitness adaptations and therefore run easier and faster.
With a lack of structure, some runners will try and cram as many sessions as they can in the last couple of weeks before the race and therefore either get injured or too tired to race. So stay consistent and have a plan of attack for the week.
Mix it up
Depending again on the distance and or level of runner, I would still say there for everyone, there are some key ingredients in a week of running:
The long run. Just an easy pace that is comfortable to hold a conversation. If you are starting out, this might be a walk/ run. If you have been running for a while it might be a continuous run for 60-90 minutes.
It’s important to build up some tolerance to weight baring activity and also important in building aerobic fitness.
Some interval training. This might include some hill reputations, some faster running for a short period or some faster laps of a track. Interval training is a great way to get you moving quicker and smoother and at the same time help improve the top end fitness. Things like hill runs can also be great for building strength. It doesn’t have to be many repetitions, perhaps only 4-8 faster runs after a warm up is sufficient.
A negative split run. Here you are trying to finish your run faster than you started. So you might run out for 20 minutes and back in 18 minutes for example. This not only helps with getting pacing right, but also gives you a mental edge in finishing strong.
Ideally the training should be evenly spread throughout the week. Rather than just run three days consecutive and then the rest of the week off. It will give you a chance to recover and get the most benefit.
You can also add in some sessions like yoga, which is great for lengthening muscles and staying mobile and some strength training, which will help reduce injury and maintain good running form.
Resource: Womens Health