Thursday, 7 June 2018

Food for thoughtIn the last weeks/days before the Half on the Head there is still a lot to consider in order to get the most out of your race. Research shows that adding more complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and vegetables to your diet will give you the fuel you will need to get your through your race.
A general rule of thumb is not to eat too large a meal before running and to leave a gap of at least 2 hours to avoid symptoms such as cramps and nausea.
After training our body needs both protein and Carbohydrates. Carbs as your stores will be depleted after a workout and protein to help repair and grow muscle.   The sooner we eat the better it is for us and it should ideally happen within 20 to 30 minutes as your body needs the nutrients to kick start the growth and repair process.
Hydration is also really important but not just during your training or on race day.  Being even slightly dehydrated can leave you feeling sluggish, so make sure you're getting plenty of fluids on the days leading up to your race. It's a good idea to keep a water bottle with you during the day so you can drink frequently. During training runs and race day we recommend drinking water every 20-30 minutes or more often as needed.
Some runners are fans of sports drinks but personally we are not. We run to try to stay fit and healthy and while the extra sugar, calories and additives in sports drinks may give you a quick boost they are not a healthy choice. Gels are also an option. We only tend to take them for runs of longer than ten miles. If you do decide to carry gels or take sports drink make sure that you test them out during a long run as they can play havoc with the stomach. Our advice is to stick to water.  

Tip of the week:
Don't experiment:  it is important have a long run routine that you also implement on race day. Don't try new foods no matter what you read or hear. Find out what works for you and stick to it. We tend to have whole grain cereal and toast on the morning of a long run as these are slow release carbs as mentioned above.

Next week we will be giving you our advice on the best way to tackle the route for the Half on the Head. Our mile by mile guide will help you get the best out of your run. 

Many of us first encounter cross training when forced to find an alternative exercise due to injury. However, there are many benefits to introducing cross training to your schedule.  Cross-training helps to improve overall fitness, promote recovery, enhance motivation, and rejuvenate the mind and body.
Injury Prevention
Research shows that adding other types of exercise such as weights, spinning or yoga to your routine will greatly reduce your risk of injury. In the case of a running related injury it will also give you the chance to heal, as it gives your running muscles a chance to recover while still getting in a workout.  
Variety is the spice of life
Lets’ face it, running can be repetitive. The same old route and routine can sometimes drive you to distraction. Introducing a circuit class or swimming once a week will keep you fit, motivated and keen and looking forward to that next run.
Greater overall fitness
Other forms of exercise will strengthen muscles not used when running and increase you overall power, stamina and efficiency while helping to reduce fatigue. Core strength training is important as it develops the muscles of the stomach, back, and hips and will keep your pelvis aligned properly. This in turn will improve your running economy resulting in faster times.
The Furman Institute of Scientific Training and Recovery (FIRST)  led the way in developing training programs to help runners to improve their race finish times by Running Less to Run Faster.  This alternative approach to training produced some astonishing results. Not only were finish times faster but runners experienced less injuries. One of the pioneers of the FIRST program is still competing in half marathons and is now in his 80s. The theory behind this type of training is to run three times a week and cross train on alternative days with 2 recovery days in between.  The runs themselves also vary in that there is one long run, one tempo run and one speed run.  For our last marathon we adopted the FIRST program, we found it to work extremely well and particularly enjoyed the variety it offered.
Tip of the week:
Choose wisely.  Cross-training will seem much easier if you choose an exercise that you enjoy. Join a class or get involved in a team sport as it will bring out your competitive instincts while introducing you to like minded people.