Congratulations on accepting the challenge of participating in the 2017 The Friendlies Cane2Coral. Enjoy the experience and why not convince a friend to have a go and train together.
Friendlies Physiotherapy Service head physiotherapist Matt Churchill said when it comes to training for fun-run style events, be realistic about what you can achieve, as you don’t want to overdo it and suffer an injury.
“Be aware that you are changing your routine so your body is going to need to adapt and while this happens you will feel discomfort,” Matt said.
“Muscle soreness indicates that you have pushed your bodies limits and this is necessary to improve performance. Your body will adapt to the new level of activity and the soreness will improve. You need to allow your body to adapt before increasing the load again otherwise you risk injury.”
Below is a brief outline of the principles of training for a fun run.
Some people can compete in a fun run without preparing and get away without injury but most people need to get their bodies used to running.
Beginners are likely not used to aerobic activity, so the first step is to get your body used to activity again.
Matt recommends to walk the desired distance to start with, ie Walk 4km for the first week or two. Then do a run/walk gradually increasing the amount of run compared to walk – initially it should be about a third run and two-thirds walk.
Try these other tips:
- You can gradually increase the run component if you are not getting sore after the sessions.
- The running part should be at “talking speed” – ie. you should be able to talk while you run.
- Beginners should aim for the 4km this year and maybe the 10km next year.
This is for those looking to move from 4km or 8km to 10km. These runners should have a base from which to build on.
Matt recommends these runners to structure your training so each week you have three to four runs each with a different purpose.
“Your first run should be a longer run, so if moving from 4km, aim for five to 6km, if 10km aim for 10km-12km,” he said.
“These runs should be below race pace and are about building aerobic capacity and leg endurance. It is also good to mentally improve confidence about achieving the distance.”
Your second run should be interval training or a short fast run. This is to increase running speed and should be at least at race pace, but most likely quicker to improve performance. Remember cadence (leg speed) not stride (See general running tips below).
This could be track work such as 4 x 800-1km reps for 4km or 5-6 x 800m for 10km. Between each rep, rest at least two to three minutes depending on how fast you run. A good rule is rest for the amount of time you ran.
Your third workout should be race pace and roughly race distance, focusing on technique, maintaining a good pace and building into the run. Some people build into a run others try to maintain a consistent pace.
“You should also have a day off between each run and could add another session that you change up each week like a small fast run, small race pace, longer aerobic run or cross training session,” Matt said.
Aim to do four to six sessions a week, various distances and speeds. You can focus on various speeds during runs and look at running speed in training more, rather than focusing on just distances.
General running tips
- To run faster focus on run cadence (leg speed), not longer strides. This decreases the risk of injury
- As you prepare, flat level surfaces are better. A treadmill is okay (dependant on weather) but aim for only one per week. You need the majority of your training to be outside runs.
- Train with others to increase motivation. Try a Bundaberg runners club or friends and neighbours
- Gradual increase in distance and number of runs per week
- Good running shoes are a sound investment
- Make sure you stay well hydrated
- Water running (water above the belly) is a good way to increase training load and not increase risk of injury
- 3-4 runs a week is enough to improve fitness
- To warm up, do a walk or ballistic stretches
- Walk, then stretch, after running to prevent tightness. This will also help you to recover for your next run
- Days off are a must to allow for recovery
- Eat a good balanced diet to maintain body mass and prevent injury – protein and carbs are very important
- Set achievable goals
- On off days, try cross training for the cardiovascular benefit. Only do five sessions week for those who haven’t been regular trainers before
- Core strength and gluteal strength are very important to good running technique and improved performance
- A physiotherapist should be able to educate you on correct running technique, good foot wear and exercises/stretches to improve performance and prevent injury.