This month was my final session learning how to become a better runner.
I have caught up with some incredible talent over the past couple of months and am so grateful for everything I have learned and the people I have met.
To wrap things up I caught up with Jesse Tuke from adidas RunClub who advised on preparing for competitive running events - a daunting prospect for a lot of people, including me. So much so that, in the past, I have entered two half-marathons and didn't run either of them. Not because I was sick or injured, but because I freaked out as I wasn't prepared.
Not something I am proud of so let's recap what I learned from Jesse.
First, we looked at what happens a month out from the event and how you can ensure you will be prepared. Jesse says you should have good base training by this point but there are a few key trainings needed to help you get 'race pace'.
One is called a tempo/interval session where you walk for periods of time and run for periods of time - but, when you do run, you go faster than your usual pace. This helps increase the heart rate but also gets your speed more race-ready over time.
In terms of things to watch for heading into a race, Jesse says you will be surrounded by thousands more people than you are used to running with - so be aware of your surroundings. It sounds obvious but it's easy to forget to factor in.
Another really important issue Jesse cautions against is not to burn yourself out in the week leading up to the race. I was definitely guilty of this in one 10k race I ran as I left training until the last minute - so do your best to avoid that. In the week leading up to the race look after yourself; fuel your body with good nutrition and keep well hydrated.
Jesse also maintains it's important to keep things simple and remember the basics. Warm up and warm down! I am personally guilty of always forgetting this or dismissing it for more exciting things. But if you have put all this hard work into training and you forget to warm the body up, you run a much higher risk of injuring yourself. Ain't nobody got time for that...
In the video Jesse showed me some easy stretches to do before hitting the pavement including lunges and high knees.
Running is a great way of getting to meet other people and joining an active community. At this time of the year there are a lot of events going on so, if you are looking to enter, make sure you give yourself sufficient training time (unlike what I've done in the past), look after yourself and enjoy the ride!