Hey guys! I’m Emma from Sweet Tooth Runner!
Jemma kindly asked me if I was interested in doing a guest post on her blog about running, and of course I jumped at the chance because this blog is AMAZING! So thanks Jemma!
So basically, I started running last year to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I went from being someone who couldn’t run for 2 minutes to someone who ran 10k, and I couldn’t believe it! You can read more about my story here.
Now I’m addicted. I LOVE RUNNING!!
That 10k race was the only race I’ve done so far- mainly because of the hugely expensive race entry fees for longer races! However, I have been saving up and trying not to spend all my money on food as I usually do, and this year I have 2 half marathons coming up, as well as some other shorter races, and possibly a full marathon next year. I’m very excited! I’m shooting for a sub 1.40 half, so we’ll have to see how that goes!
Enough about me! So here are some of my training tips. (*Disclaimer*: Please note that I am NOT a professional. Everything here is learned through my own personal experiences and through research.)
My Top Ten Training Tips for races:
1. Follow a plan. Especially if this is your first race, it is a very good idea to find a plan and stick to it. If you’re a new runner, I recommend the Couch to 5k program, which is how I started. Hal Higdon has some great training programs for all distances and all levels (beginner to advanced), from 5ks to Marathons.
2. Know the importance of good nutrition for running! As well as a good diet generally (enough carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, etc.), fuelling well before runs, as well as good recovery foods afterwards is very important. Good pre-run foods includes banana oatmeal…
An example of a good ‘recovery’ food is (surprisingly!) chocolate milk, as it has sugars and protein needed for recovery. (I use non-dairy as I’m a vegan.)
3. Fuelling during runs. If you are running any distance longer than about 10k/6miles, you should fuel during the run. You will need to experiment to see what works for you fuel-wise. I’m personally a huge fan of dates– they’re like rocket fuel for me!
5. Utilise race pace calculators. If you are shooting for a certain target time in a race, then I recommend using this calculator to work out the required paces and other details. I’ll stress that this isn’t essential at all, but it has helped me with setting realistic targets.
6. Work on injury prevention! It is pretty inevitable that you will, as a runner, get injured at some point. But a good diet, proper warm-ups and cool-downs and stretching thoroughly can help prevent this.
7. The right shoes! Having the wrong shoes can affect your performance and can even cause injury. I would REALLY recommend going to a running specialist shop like Sweatshop or Runner’s Need and having your gait analysed. It’s free, so you have no excuse!
8. Be careful not to over train. Overtraining is really common, can cause injury or physical/mental burnout. This part of the reason why training plans are so good, because you can’t over train! An important rule is to not increase mileage by more than 10% a week. So if you averaged 20 miles one week, don’t do any more than 22 the next! Know the importance of rest days, and the benefits of cross-training. For my cross training, I go to exercise classes like spinning or Body Pump, do yoga, and use cardio machines at the gym.
9. Read around the subject! Okay, so this isn’t essential, and is my geeky side coming out, but it has definitely benefited my training and running! I’ve learned SO MUCH MORE through reading running material, and definitely recommend it!
It doesn’t have to be books– magazines are just as good in many ways! Except the price of them…! THAT’S where my race entry fee money goes!
My fave running material includes:
- Magazines: Runner’s World and Women’s Running
- Books: Running for Peak Performance (a good all-round read), Performance Nutrition for Runners (great easy-to-read dietary advice) and Paula Radcliffe’s autobiography ‘My Story So Far’ (for a bit of inspiration!).
If anyone has any questions or you wanna comment/chat/whatever, you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again Jemma for letting me ramble away on your blog!!