How to Prepare for the Best Running Event of the Year: Running Tips From an Olympian

By Dual Olympian and Run Crew founder, Ben St Lawerence

Running season is upon us and the next key events that myself and the Run Crew team will be signing up for are the Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10& 5K in July followed by the Sydney Marathon in September.

Both events are among my favourites and they certainly make for a great day out! So with that in mind, here are my top tips for helping you prepare for the best running events of the year.

Be consistent

Having an event to train for is a great way to help you get into the habit of prioritising training/ exercise. After all, an event means a set date that you need to be ready by, and therefore training should become a priority.

The truth is that one single session is not going to make a big difference to your results. Rather an accumulation of the work that you do over days, weeks and months in the lead up to the event is what will make the difference. That is why it is important to remain consistent. 

So if you are looking to train for a fun run, make a plan or sign up for a running group who you can train with. Book your sessions at the start of the week and keep them as you would any other appointment. 

Built up your kms gradually

If you haven’t run in a while, or if you are new to running, I would recommend that you build up your kms gradually rather than trying to run the full distance of the event from the start. By building up your kms gradually, your body can get used to the workload. This will greatly reduce your risk of injury or a strained muscle. That is why I recommend that you aim for “good” weeks of training instead of going all out on day one.

So for example, if you are preparing for a 10k, aim to run 3k on your first “long run” training session. Then next time aim for 3.5k and build up from there. 

Leave enough time for recovery

When it comes to any fitness gain, regardless of whether you are looking to improve your strength, run or muscle tone, your achievement will come down to adding stress to your body, letting your body recover and then letting your body adapt. 

Make sure you are warming up before every session, and starting after every session. If you are new to running, run every second or third day. Do strength training or yoga on the other days for a well-rounded program and make sure you have 1-2 recovery/ rest days per week. Get massages if you need to or use a massage gun. Recovery is as important as the training itself. 

Strength training

Running is an unbalanced sport because when we run, we are on one leg at a time, and often we have a dominant side that will take the brunt of the work. That is why strength training is important, specifically strength training where you isolate one leg at a time so they both need to work equally. For example, walking lunges, a one-leg deadlift, and a TRX one-leg squat are all great exercises as you need to work each leg individually.

Additionally, core strength and working on your postural muscles are also important. Running 10k+ is hard on the body and as you get tired you may find that you start to slouch. This can lead to aches, pains and imbalances. However, working on the strength of the necessary muscles can reduce the risk. 

Don’t forget about the basics

Diet, sleep hydration, wearing shoes that are already broken in and clothes that are comfortable are also key to helping you have a successful fun run. Get your 8 hours of sleep, sip water all day, replenish your body with lean protein, healthy carbs, fats and antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies. Running can be hard on the body, so you need to make sure you give back what you take from it.

Happy running!

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