- Before we start any form of running training, we must first ensure that our body and mind are prepared as this will help prevent running-related injuries.
- Identifying your maximum heart rate will provide you with a clear individual picture of your exercise capabilities. This also helps prevent overtraining, which can have dangerous effects.
- You should be drinking around 200-400 ml of water about 30 minutes before running or exercising, and liquids should also be taken on in small sips while exercising to avoid dehydration.
As we enter the cool season and the weather becomes a lot more comfortable, making it a time suited to marathon running in Thailand, you may notice that no small number of running enthusiasts will eagerly and easily take to the task of training to get ready for a future race. However, what about those of us who are new to running? What should we be doing to ensure that we’re ready for an upcoming race?
Building a firm fitness foundation
- The warm-up: Warming up our bodies before we exercise should include around 10-15 minutes of dynamic stretching exercises, such as running with high knees and sidestep jogging, as well as a period of about 10-15 minutes of slow jogging at a low intensity. You’ll start to notice your muscles warming in temperature as you do this, which will prepare both your muscles and your vital organs to help support your body as it exercises. Moreover, the stretching routine will ensure that your muscles are not strained during exercise, thereby preventing exercise-related injuries.
- Identifying your exercise capabilities: This can be done by finding out your maximum heart rate, which will ensure that you exercise at the correct intensity and reduce the risk of overtraining. The easiest way to calculate your maximum heart rate can be done by simply taking your age away from 220. For example, a person aged 30 would have a maximum heart rate of 190 beats per minute (BPM). This is the maximum heart rate which their body can endure for a certain amount of time.
- Endurance training: Generally, endurance capabilities can be increased by managing your heart rate so that it falls within 60-70% of its maximum while running, meaning that you can still breathe comfortably and that blood is being circulated to the muscles efficiently, thereby increasing your endurance. Such training should last for around 15-30 minutes.
- Cool down: This can be done through static stretching exercises. Cooling down refers to stretching in a way that does not rely on constant movement of muscles, but on static stretches. The time spent cooling down should be equal to the time spent warming up, with the heart rate gradually decreasing until you are able to breathe comfortably once again. Each stretch should be held for at least 10-20 seconds, as this will ensure that the muscle cells are stretched effectively.
- Recovery: An aspect that is often overlooked and therefore a major cause of injury, recovery refers to giving your body enough time to repair damaged cells, while also helping to strengthen muscles. Recovery includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy, balanced diet, and drinking sufficient amounts of water.
When training for an event, you should definitely have a clearly-outlined training plan in place. Not only will this ensure your body is ready to race, but the regularity of such a plan will also make it easier to achieve your objectives.
- A running workout can be undertaken 3-4 times a week, with days off in-between each session. The training should include one long run per week to increase efficiency and endurance.
- Rest days and cross-training may be undertaken on the days when you’re not running. This means that you get sufficient amounts of rest which could also include strength training through various other forms of exercise, such as swimming, cycling or yoga.
A healthy diet is more than half the battle
Eating a healthy diet consisting of food that provides you with sufficient energy and drinking enough water 30-60 minutes before training will ensure that you have enough energy to exercise, while also effectively reducing stress and muscle fatigue.
- Water: Drink at least 1-2 liters of water a day and ensure that you consume around 200-400 ml of water about 30 minutes before you exercise, especially when training at high intensity. Moreover, try to sip small amounts of water while you exercise to avoid dehydration.
- Yogurt: These contain essential proteins and amino acids. Natural flavor is preferred and be careful to avoid overconsumption.
- Fruit: Avoid those which are overly sweet, with berries being particularly useful due to the high levels of vitamin C which can keep you feeling refreshed while also reducing fatigue. Bananas are also a great choice. They provide energy as well as potassium, a mineral which can reduce muscle tightness.
Running alongside weight training: The perfect fitness combination
Undertaking regular weight training alongside your run training is seen as a great combination that can increase muscle mass and strength. Cardio or run training should make up the main body of your training plan, while weight training should be undertaken in a supplementary manner. You may even train in both formats during the same day. Just make sure that you give your muscles enough time to recover in-between sessions.
Whether your goal is to run a half or full marathon, training and preparing your body is of the utmost importance as this will mean you are physically and mentally ready to race, while also reducing the risk of injury. With these key points in mind, all your races can be relaxing, fun and inspiring, with no event seeming too great a challenge!
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