Thursday, February 3, 2011

Learn as you run

It has been almost a year since I started considering running as a sport. As I embrace the sport, I began to adapt myself to the whole new running world. We learn and we grow as we train to improve ourselves. What better way to give it back but to share it to those just discovered running. Let me begin this year by listing some of the them :
  • It is OK to join an event even if you are alone. My first race in 2009 was with my officemates, but this year, most of them was being alone. Yes, you do miss the picture sessions and the carbo-loading thereafter, but never the less, it does not affect the actual race experience.
  • Sandals/Slippers are your bestfriend after any race. Walking around the venue after a gruelling run can be the most uncomfortable experience in the world. It is always a good thing to carry a slipper/sandal in your bag so that you could change into them after the run.
  • Hydration plan is very significant. During my first few races, i see to it that I stop at any hydration station. This has cost me minute/s from my time. Then I started coming up with a hydration plan to minimize my stops but still would not leave me dehydrated. Currently, I also have strategies on when to start drinking energy drinks and to take up power gels. 
  • Petroleum jelly are significant to runners. Ever heard of the term chaffing or blistering. You'll be amazed how these jellies work.
  • Never use anything new during the race. Dont ever dare using anything new during the race. You don't want any unforeseen discomforts that they may ruin your effort to run the race.
  • Never eat anything new before the race. Unless you are ready to race to the nearest portalet, never eat anything new to you before any race.
  • Enough sleep is important. A good night sleep 2 nights before the actual race is important if you want to perform better. In some of my experiences, the lack of complete sleep have affected my leg power during the race.
  • Be early on the actual race day. Aside from getting yourself to the location, taking care of your baggage and locating the starting point may consume time especially if it is your first time to run in a place. Being early gives you the time you need in case of some unforeseen events. Cramming before the race is not a good idea.
  • Blinkers or reflectorized shirts, a must for night runs. Safety is still our main concern, make sure you are seen while running at night.
  • Don't race every weekend and learn to choose races. With the rising cost of registration fees, it is not practical to join a race almost every week. Choose a race and spend your time training for it. You can join 1 race perhaps before the main event just to check your level of fitness and  on how much you have improved.
  • The term training is different from practice. When I was starting, I used to say "I'm practicing for a 5K run". This was composed  mainly of easy runs that cover the desired distance. It was just a sort of measure if you can run the distance. But as I learn new things, I began calling my preparations as "trainings" that composed of several types of run to improve your overall performance. 
  • Training plan is important if you want to improve. A marathoner once told me that one of the goal why we join races is to measure how much have we improved since the last race. Thus, running only when you feel the urge is not a good way to start. If we want to improved, have a plan and stick with it (if you can). By having a plan, we are somewhat compelled to follow it. There are a lot of  training plans for different distances  that can be used as a base, we can tweak it to fit our schedule and level of fitness.
  • Quality is better than quantity. Quality of training is much much more important that quantity. Thus, the intensity of every run is more important that the mileage we accumulate on every run. The right mix of intervals, hill repeats, tempo runs , long runs and LSDs must be incorporated to our training plans.
As we go along and grow with the sport, we gain knowledge along the way. It is but wise to share it :)

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