HOW TO GET READY FOR RACE DAY
No matter where your starting point may be, our goals are the same: to be better, faster and stronger. It is recommended by Singapore Health Hub to prepare 6 months before your upcoming run, and at least 8 – 12 months of preparation work for runners who are in the race for the first time. So, lace up and push through the miles to the finishing line with these running tips that will make the journey easier and enjoyable.
1. Training For Success
Eddie Chang, Certified Run Coach from Fitness First Capital Tower Sports Performance, recommended for beginners to start with low to moderate run conditioning for 3 hours per week. Aerobic Base Development and Endurance Base Development are training routines required to be carried out by first-time runners.
- Aerobic Base Development
An easy run with a low to moderate intensity with 60 – 70% Heart Rate Zone, 30 - 40 minutes for 2 – 3 times a week
- Endurance Base Development
A run with moderate to high intensity with 60 – 80% Heart Rate Zone, 60 – 120 minutes for 1 – 2 times a week
For Intermediate Runners
- Base and Strength Training
Speed workout for 100, 150 or 200 metres is to be carried out once a week and similarly, Hill Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds, is to be carried out once a week.
- Speed and Endurance Training
Runners can carry out tempo, interval and threshold training, once a week with the following combination which adds up to 40 to 60 minutes:
1 minute easy training + 1 minute hard training
2 minutes easy training + 2 minutes hard training
Additionally, runners are advised to carry out a Time Trial Run of 5km, once in every 2 months.
For Advanced Runners
- Race specific conditioning is required to be carried out over a distance of 5km, 10km and 21km, once in every 2 weeks.
In order to help release the stiffness and heavy muscles from the strenuous workout training, be sure to include recovery exercises such as foam rolling, swimming, cycling class and yoga, once a week in your plans.
Train together with run experts like Eddie and other running enthusiasts at the Sports Performance Run Club, where you share the love of running and improve your run performance in the weekly runs.
What To Eat Before Running
Carbohydrate is the primary source of fuel for the body and insufficient carbohydrate intake can result in fatigue which could reduce a runner’s ability to train and affect one’s immunity in the long run.
As recommended by Eddie, you should have your meals 4 hours before your next training, as the consumption of carbohydrates and milk protein replenishment in the next 60 minutes is helpful in lowering the chance of muscle fibre damage.
For endurance runner, a good balance of nutritional intake over 4 to 6 meals is as such: 40-50% Carb, 30% Fat, 20-30% Protein.
For those participating in a 21 to 42km run, carbohydrate loading is required 1 week before the race. By storing extra glycogen in our body, spare energy is allowed to support our body once the stores are used up and this helps runners to avoid the problem of energy depletion during the race.
As we undergo an intensive training regime, it is unavoidable for us to experience post muscle aches and soreness. To assist in the repair and recovery process, it is advised for us to consume more protein as it helps our muscle in restoring and regaining strength. Here are a few foods high in protein which you may consider adding into your diet: Fish, egg, seafood, meat, soy products, nuts and dairy products.
Keep in mind to hydrate yourself well before, after and during the training session, especially if you are training under a hot weather. By drinking up, it helps us in avoiding dehydration and heat stress problems.
2. Gear Up The Right Way
Thomas Allen – Senior Lecturer, Department of Engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University, mentioned that a running shoe should protect the foot and the runner from injury as it provides stabilisation of the foot and protects skin from damage. On top of that, the running shoes should also limit potentially harmful impact forces as the foot strikes the ground.
We can conclude that running shoes do play an important role in our run so here are some tips by ActiveSG on how you can choose a suitable pair of running shoes based on your feet’s arch type.
Individuals with neutral and high-arch feet are advised to look for shoes labelled “cushioning” as those shoes are customised to provide greater flexibility. The soft midsoles in the shoes also helps to absorb the shocks during a run.
For individuals with low-arched feet, shoes labelled “stability” would be recommended as the midsoles which are harder, helps to prevent your arch from collapsing and rolling inwards. For flat-footers, do look out for shoes labelled “motion control” to help maintain your stability during a run.
In addition, before purchasing your running shoes, keep in mind to try them on to ensure that they fit comfortably on the arch and on both sides of the feet. This simple yet essential act helps in preventing discomfort, ingrown toenails and muscle imbalance which might possibly lead to injuries.
3. Sleep Well
Associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon, William O. Roberts, M.D stated that sleep plays a critical role in restoring the body, especially after bouts of exercise. He also added that a person training for a race generally requires more sleep and a lack of sleep could compromise the immune system, which is already vulnerable during the training.
Here are a couple of suggestions by Singapore triathlete and long-distance runner, Mok Ying Ren, on how you can improve on your sleep condition:
- Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine
Though sipping on a glass of alcohol might be our ideal way of relaxing after a long day, it is recommended for us to avoid alcohol and caffeine when it is close to bedtime as the excessive stimulants present in the drink might keep us awake.
Instead, substitute alcohol with drinks such as Chamomile Tea which is known to be a natural remedy to reduce inflammation, anxiety and treat insomnia. Lavender Tea is also effective in improving our sleep quality as it helps in settling our nerves and decreasing our anxiety.
- Unplug In The Right Environment
The environment we are sleeping in plays a crucial role in determining our sleep quality. SHAPE revealed that exposure to bright light at night could trick our mind into thinking that it is still daytime, thus causing us to be more awake and alert.In order to sleep well at night, it is recommended for our room to be dark, cool and low in ambient noises. Before sleep, we should also limit our exposure to electronic devices such as smartphones as they emit “blue light” which keeps us awake.
- Drink Up Two Hours Before Bedtime
In order to avoid disrupting our sleep with the frequent toilet trips in the middle of the night, Mok suggested that we should hydrate ourselves well two hours before bedtime. This way, we will have sufficient time to empty our bladder before we sleep.
4. Best Fit For Your Beat
Jasmin Hutchinson, Ph.D said in an article by Runner's World, that music can help you run longer, faster, and easier as you match your stride to a particular beat which helps you in regulating your pace. Hutchinson also mentioned that songs with an average of 120 to 130 BPM are the ideal tempo for a fast and powerful run. On top of that, music with motivating lyrics also pushes and empowers you to go beyond your limits for greater results.
Here are some music apps you can download to plug in and pump up your next run:
Available on Android and iOS, Spotify's got you covered with a myriad of the best workout playlists to fuel your body with overflowing energy for your runs and workouts. Simply find the workout playlist category under the search bar in the app for a good sweat.
If you are looking for inspiring examples to motivate yourself to go further, Runtastic is the ideal app for you.Runtastic differs from your usual running app as it takes you through a wide selection of running stories across different genres such as inspirational, sci-fi, travel and coaching. Tune in to the app and be inspired to achieve better results!
In conclusion, completing a race might be a milestone for some of us as it requires months of effort and time in preparing just for this day. It is normal for us to feel the stress and anxiety before the run, but with sufficient preparation, completing the run might not be a goal too difficult to achieve as confidence comes from preparation and success comes from hard work.
Allen, T. (2019). Running shoes: how science can help you to run faster and more efficiently. [online] The Conversation. Available at: http://theconversation.com/running-shoes-how-science-can-help-you-to-run-faster-and-more-efficiently-127634 [Accessed 26 Feb. 2020].
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Spencer, A. (2014). Getting Quality Sleep During Your Marathon Training. [online] Marathon Training Academy. Available at: https://www.marathontrainingacademy.com/sleep[Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].
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Dalton, S. (2016). 5 Recovery Tips to Prevent Muscle Soreness. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/5-recovery-tips-prevent-muscle-soreness#liquid-lunch [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].
Runner's World. (2020). How Much Does Music Help You During a Run?. [online] Available at: https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a23471165/how-much-does-music-help-during-a-run/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2020].