In the build up to the Hospice 2 Hospice Half Marathon, we will be supported by the brilliant Rik De Louche from the Rock n Road Run Co based in Liberty Wharf.
Here are his training tips to keep everyone motivated and fit in the build up to the big day.
- Establish a training plan. Whether it’s one you create yourself, copy off a friend or borrow from the internet, you’re more likely to be consistent with your running if you have some form of written schedule. Successful and enjoyable races are built off being consistently good rather than occasionally great. Rik at Rock n Road Run Co will happily look over your plan for you for free. Whatever plan you follow, make sure you start with a volume of running which is suitable for you as an individual and which builds slowly from week to week.
- Stress + Rest = Growth. Plan sufficient rest days during the week as well as cut back weeks where you reduce overall load by 25-50% every couple of weeks. We only adapt to a training stimulus when we are recovering. You’re better getting to the start line undertrained than slightly over trained so err on the side of caution and plan those rest periods!
- Most running should feel easy! Most of your sessions (70-90%) should be run at an easy, chatty effort. Easy means you could hold a full conversation with someone whilst running, even if it feels very slightly strained. If you can’t, it’s too fast.
- Train where you’re at now. If you plan on completing any quality sessions (e.g. speed, tempo, fartlek) make sure these are completed at your current level of ability, not where you would like to be or where you were several months or years ago. Running too hard too often will often leave you overly fatigued and could result in injury or burnout.
- Your training should be fun! If it starts to feel like a grind that it might be worth revisiting your plan and reducing the intensity, number of the sessions or add some variety in terms of paces, terrain or cross-training.
- Run with pals! Long runs can be the hardest sessions during a half marathon build. Running in a group is much more fun and time just flows by quicker. Plus, there’s the possibility of well-earned coffee and cake at the end. Rock n Road have a weekly Sunday road run of max 90mins which has a lead runner and tail walker meaning any and all abilities are welcome.
- Eat, drink, sleep, repeat. Fuelling and hydration are key in half marathon training. If you are running over an hour, then it is advisable to bring water, electrolytes and carbohydrates with you and practice using them. For harder and longer sessions, it is important to also fuel and hydrate pre and post-run. Post-run should contain some carbs and protein for glycogen replenishment and muscle repair.
- Injuries are preventable. Most injuries are caused by increasing run volume and/or intensity too quickly. Plan in recovery days and build up slowly. If you feel a niggle starting to arise, stop running and assess what it is. Our advice is to visit a sports physio for diagnosis and treatment. If you are able to, switch to a non-weight bearing form of cardiovascular exercise until your running-related pain has been addressed. This way you won’t lose any fitness.
- Don’t neglect the taper. We usually prescribe a 2 week taper which consists of a slow reduction in training volume as you approach race day. This reduction allows your fitness to shine through on race day. Feel free to keep your higher intensity workouts in, but just reduce their overall duration. Please don’t panic and try to cram in extra training in the final couple of weeks. You can fill the running void with non-cardio pastimes!
- Sleep like a beast. In the final week before your race, try to increase the amount of sleep you can get in and relax as much as possible. Going into race day stressed and sleep deprived will only hinder your performance.
- Nothing new on race day. The night before your race, eat as you would normally. Avoid the temptation to ‘carb-load’ as this can often make you feel bloated and heavy the following day. On race day, try and wake up early enough so you can get some food in, even if it’s just a banana or a little porridge. Stick to your race day fuelling plan and please please please, don’t try anything new on race day.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Sort of. The key to a good race is pacing. Avoid the temptation to ‘bank time’ by running faster than you’re capable at the start of the race. This often results in losing more time than you gained in the second half of the race. Start out slightly slower then incrementally build up to your race pace or effort. Not only does smart pacing allow you to finish faster but it enables you to finish strong and have a much more enjoyable time!
Anyone signed up to the half marathon can reach out to Rik for advice. Rik runs a free coaching clinic on a Thursday lunchtime and their Rock n Road Runners run club has 4 runs during the week if you’re looking for some training buddies. For more information visit www.rocknroad.je/events.
And there's still time to get involved! Registration for the Hospice 2 Hospice half marathon is £27 for individuals and £45 for a two-person relay. Runners can sign up at www.jerseyhospicecare.com/events. The marathon starts at the charity’s fundraising shop in St Ouen, loops around the stunning country lanes nearby before heading through St John to the finish at Hospice, Mont Cochon.