health

How to make a fun run ACTUALLY fun. (Or at least less painful.)

So you’ve trained. Now what?

 

By NATALIA HAWK

Last weekend, I did the Color Run. And it was excellent. I had the most beautiful day in the sun, with my best friend, with heaps of laughs and a lot of colour thrown my way. And it was only a 5km course which is really an amazingly achievable distance.

The only problem: I did not prepare myself adequately. Due to a frantic week and a serious lack of sleep, I found myself standing in the middle of my room at 7:30am on the Sunday, throwing on any old clothes and grabbing a pair of old machine-washable joggers (coloured dust, and all that). I didn’t have time to eat, either. So I was hungry and uncomfortable throughout the race, and sore and injured after the race. Ahhh, isn’t hindsight a total bitch.

So with all the fun runs coming up (Blackmores Running Festival, anyone? Also, how fun does the Electric Run look?) I thought I’d put together the best way to prepare yourself for what should be a really fun, exciting day – not an ultimately annoying and painful one.

THE WEEKS BEFORE THE RACE…

– Train for the race. Obviously. Everyone’s training routine will be different, depending on what you’re actually trying to achieve – if you’re really stuck, there are some tips here. But in the week before you’re actually set to run, gear your training down a notch so that you minimise your risk of injury and so that your muscles are ready to perform at their best on the day.

– Invest in a decent running outfit for the big day. It really is about what works for you – but may I suggest nothing cotton (you need a moisture-wicking material designed for exercise), no pants with dodgy elastics that you’re constantly going to be hiking back up your butt, and no tight tops that you’re going to be constantly readjusting. Here’s the important part – once you have the outfit, ACTUALLY RUN IN IT. Ain’t nobody got time for itches/annoying tags/shirts that ride up.

The Color Run was awesome, but I did hurt myself. Sad face.

– Don’t forget that your undies need planning, too. You are not going to be able to readjust an uncomfortable g-string on the course. Too many people watching.

– Get yourself a decent pair of running shoes and break them in. I can’t emphasise this enough – the whole reason why I ended up limping for four days after the Color Run was because I wore an old pair of joggers that didn’t have nearly enough support in them.

Very silly. And of course, once you get that pair of shoes, make sure you break them in so you don’t blister yourself into the next century with one fun run.

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THE DAY BEFORE THE RACE…

– Lay out your clothes and everything else you’re going to need in the morning. Your outfit (including sports bra, socks, undies), your shoes, your race bib/number and safety pins, a hat and sunscreen and sunglasses, a watch, a bag, a water bottle, snacks, a jumper, someone to carry you home after the run…

– Have a good dinner. Some encourage carb-loading, and you do want carbs – but don’t go nuts and eat six bowls of pasta. You want the same amount that you usually eat, so as not to feel really full and sluggish in the morning. Additionally, now is not the time to experiment with that spicy Indian dish you’ve always wanted to try. Stick with what you know won’t upset your stomach. Nobody wants to be pooping in a bush because they can’t find a Port-a-loo.

– Don’t drink. Because nobody wants to run 14km with a hangover. Nobody.

This is not an excuse to eat 7kg of pasta.

– Plan your breakfast so that you’re not all panicky in the morning. Also figure out how you’re actually going to get to the event. Public transport is always a good option and many runs have public transport included in the entry price – but if that’s not possible, you may have to drive and potentially park several lightyears away.

– Rest up! This is an excellent excuse to go to bed at 7pm on a Saturday night and watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians until you drift off.

THE DAY OF THE RACE… 

– Give yourself plenty of time to get there and get settled. You might need to leave a bag somewhere, or you might need to sign up, or pick up a race pack. Whatever it is – you don’t want to be stressed out, so get up extra early.

– Eat a decent breakfast. Again, stick with what you know can digest easily in your system. Toast is delicious and also adds to your carb stockpile.

– Stretch or do some kind of warm up to prepare your body for what’s to come (i.e. pain).

– Drink water throughout the race. Coconut water is also a really good option for rehydrating post-race and healthier than sports/energy drinks.

Have I missed anything? What do you do to get ready for a big race?

The Athlete’s Foot want you to get out of the house and get involved in the 2013 running season. For the next fourteen weeks, you can Tweet or Instagram a picture/post/video of yourself pounding the pavement with the hashtag #IDIDIT for your chance to win a free fitting and pair of running shoes from The Athlete’s Foot. Oh, and don’t forget to tag @theathletesfootaustralia. Visit the website for more details. Happy running!

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