Disclaimer – I am no fancy running expert. Things I share are all out of my experiences training myself. Also, I have been using Unived Sports products for many years now, so you will find many examples as you read along.
It is the time of the year when loads of folks in India are prepping up for various races over the next few months. I really do hope all of you are well into training for the various distances you are running. I am going to share a few pointers that will hopefully help you all have a fun experience with your chosen races.
Do knees get busted?
Well, this is not true. Definitely, if you are running too much, running with the wrong form, etc. your chances of getting injured will be high. But sitting around long hours is way worse for your spine, hips etc. compared to running for your knees.
Warming up, stretching and cooling down correctly are fundamental, yet often overlooked parts of any training program.
Doing too much
We all want more & more and we want it fast. But in distance running the best results come when we take things slow and build gradually. Many people I speak to will tell me they have just done their first 10k, and have signed up for their first Half-marathon or may be going from the Half to the Full Marathon or maybe 5k to the 21 Half. While there is nothing really wrong with that, the point is they are building millage too quickly and will just be more prone to getting injured. Many of us have a very sedentary lifestyle and building too much distance too quick will get you injured and keep you on the sidelines.
Build gradually; spend months building base fitness, gradually increasing the distance you run weekly. You could add strides before and after the runs, or maybe small hill reps. After 2-3 months of this you can then add some interval training and sharpening yourself for your goal race.
This will help in your prep up better to tackle the distance, have a smooth race and even enjoy it. Also graduate slowly between various race distances, the body takes a little time to adapt.
Hydration and Fueling
Always keep yourself hydrated, drink water as much as you comfortably can.
This is extremely important even if you run a 5k and gets even more important as the distance increases. Our bodies are well-oiled machines but for the machine to work well, it needs to be fueled well. To move we burn energy and to stay cool we sweat. Now if we do not get the right fuel we will have a hard time on the runs. Drinking water is not enough when you sweat you also lose a lot of salts, so getting in the salts is as important as water.
I use @univedsports RRUNN During to fuel myself during training and racing
The longer distances need a little more than just water and salts etc. carbs are also essential to keep fueling the engine that is where having a Gel, Bars, UltraButters etc. plays a role. Gels are easy to consume and get absorbed quickly; these provide the required calories fast.
Things like the RRUNN During also have some amount of carbs along with the salts, so these work great for fueling as well. Bars and UltraButter are great for folks running over four odd hours, where you tend to feel hungry.
When it comes to racing it is crucial to remember to not sprint at the start, it is very important to pace yourself. That is where training is important. Ex. if you’re running your first half, it is important to have done at least 15km in training that will give you an idea of your fitness and how to prepare your pacing strategy for the race day.
While there is lots of hype around going barefoot and running the way we used to hundreds and hundreds of years ago, the fact is that we don’t live that kind of lifestyle anymore. Most folks have been in some kind of footwear from the time they were born.
While there are benefits of running barefoot like form, landing softly, strengthening of the arch, I feel it is best done as a warm up and cool down jog on a soft surface.
Running with Injury
While it is known that distance running is 90% mental and remaining 10% is also mental, it is important to know when to push and keep working hard. If you are injured you need to rest, pushing past it is not going to help, and you’re going to just get sidelined.
IF YOU ARE HURT, STOP RUNNING
There is a difference between hurting and being hurt. It’s essential to listen to and learn from your body throughout your training.
Now this is also something people tend to obsess over too much. We need it all. The Fats, the carbs, the salts, protein, sugars all of it. What is important is the source of it all. Eating a packet of biscuit and getting in the carbs and sugars is not helping. Eating clean food that you cook at home, fruits, and veggies you get during the season is all great. I feel we need to have a balanced diet and need eat it all. A good race depends on more than just your training.
The aim of good nutrition for a runner is not to help you run faster, but it is to help you stay healthy which will allow you to train consistently.
There are countless diets for runners and you need to find what works for you. Here is how I go about my daily diet.
I love to cook my own food and have started to really enjoy this. Breakfast is usually around 9 am which is late, but it is only after I am done with my morning run. It is usually something quick. I have @univedsports RRUNN Post first thing after a run. I start with making some nut milk, which take like 2 min. A small smoothie, with various fruits and veggies I have lying around and also some oats or dalia.
Though I have started to enjoy cooking, I am a little lazy and so I cook the same thing for lunch and dinner. Whenever I visit the local market (Which is often), I pick up all sorts of vegetables available. So lunch and dinner is usually stir fry veggies, with dal (play around with different kinds of dal) and rice (I play around with Red rice, brown rice etc.). I often throw in different kinds of gram like Chickpea etc. in the vegetables.
Dinner is usually early by about 1930hrs. About an hour before heading to bed I usually have @univedsports Lean Protein, with some fruits and veggies thrown in. I don’t usually eat anything before a run, but sometimes especially before a long run I do have a fruit.
What you eat, how often you eat and when you eat should always be aligned with your training and personal goals. To improve your speed and performance, you also need to consider what you are putting into your body. Proper training and nutrition can boost your running performance tremendously. Plus, you will reduce the risk of injury and illness.
Now Log Off, Shut Down and go RUN!
Author: Kieren D’souza
Kieren D’Souza is an Indian ultramarathon runner and endurance athlete. As of October 2016, he is the only Indian to qualify for and finish the Spartathlon in Greece. You can easily bump into him in Manali where he lives and trains for his races.