Are you training for a marathon?
Running the gruelling 42.195 kilometre distance isn’t for the faint-hearted and you need to be well-prepared to tackle one of the ultimate endurance tests.
With lots of upcoming races in the UAE – including the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon taking place on January 20 2017 – it is time to make sure you are ready to run!
And to help you get the most out of your running experience – here’s our top 12 tips for marathon runners:
1. Try to follow a structured training plan. The two key sessions per week should be your long run and a shorter, faster-paced run or an interval session.
2. Don’t try to ‘race’ your longer runs. Keep them controlled and run within your capabilities. That way you will build up your endurance steadily as you progress rather than burning out too soon in the run and ending up walking the last few km’s.
3. If you feel too tired to run on a training day, just walk, cycle or swim. Any activity is better than nothing.
4. Don’t forget to stretch after each training session or run. Recover gently and don’t force your muscles into over-stretching. The key groups to work are your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and gluteals – as well as your back, hips and shoulders.
5. Schedule a regular massage session into your training plan. This helps to prevent injury and clear any lactic acid from the muscles. Just remember not to have your massage too close to race day otherwise your legs will feel tired and heavy.
6. Work on core strength. Running requires a strong core as you need to keep good upright form throughout the race. As you fatigue, the tendency is to “slouch” which leads to fatigue and compromises breathing patterns.
7. When running, try to “run relaxed”. Cup your hands loosely and don’t clench fists. Relax your shoulders. A common mistake for novice runners is to hold tension on their body as they get tired but this will further deplete your energy and can cause neck and shoulder tightness.
8. Stay well hydrated – before, during and after your runs, especially longer runs.
9. Follow a sensible, balanced diet. Unless you are an experienced, competitive athlete with a specific goal target, then you need not stress too much about a specific diet. Just try to avoid junk foods and fried foods and focus instead on fresh ingredients. Complex carbs, protein and good fats are essential together with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
10. After a long run, eat a snack of easily digested carbohydrates to help re-fuel muscles quickly. Fruit, yogurt, bagel with honey are all good and easy to access.
11. Use your training weeks to get familiar with what foods you digest easily before a run, then stick to these. NEVER try any new food or drinks on race day, despite what others may advise or tell you.
12. Also, NEVER wear new clothing, socks or shoes on race day. This can be a disaster. Wear lightweight, breathable clothing that has been washed a few times and shoes that are ‘broken in’. This avoids chaffing and bad blisters on race day. Many athletes forget that socks can be a major cause of blisters. Look for lightweight running socks and avoid the heavier cotton varieties that hold moisture.
The Sofitel’s 24-7 So FIT facility boasts state-of-the-art equipment and a unique training environment that caters for all your fitness needs.
I was put through my paces by personal trainer Nash, one of several expert fitness instructors who are available at various times throughout the day between 6am and 10pm.
To kick things off, I increased my heart rate levels and got the blood pumping using a first-class piece of kit, the SKILLMILL Connect.
The machine features a conveyor belt-style running surface – in which you adjust the speed by lengthening your stride pattern and making sure your feet land at the top of the arch point of the track (see main article picture).
There is also a pace adjuster on top of the data tracking function to tweak the speed but I started off at a walking pace to get used to balancing on the machine.
It was actually tough initially to keep your stride pattern in check and frame upright without holding onto the handle rails, but as the pace increased and I went into a short, intensive jog – it became easier.
The exercise is very much designed to work cardiovascular fitness and get you fully warmed-up – and it ticked both of those boxes.
Click here for more full details of the resort’s membership offerings for non-hotel guests.
I then ran at my top speed for two timed ten-second bursts, leaving me gasping for breath.
Overall, the SKILLMILL is a real handy bit of equipment and is the perfect way to work on your speed or endurance. And, get this, a 10-15 minute stint on the machine is more or less the equivalent to a 30-45 minute run at quick pace on a treadmill.
For the main segment of the session, we worked on the TRX Suspension apparatus – with the excellent Nash guiding me through a range of punishing exercises, working muscles groups ranging from my abdominals to hamstrings to biceps.
I’d definitely recommend the implementation of TRX into your training – and the Sofitel gym is the ideal venue to make sure you include this strength system into your routine.
You effectively work against your body weight using the suspension trainer and control the level of traction against your body with your feet positioning.
We finished off the workout with some pad work boxing drills, designed to focus on my upper-body strength and cardiovascular fitness, before a thorough stretching routine.
Afterwards, I then relaxed in the sauna and steam room, which are available separately in both male and female changing areas.
But, if gym’s not your thing – you can swim and play tennis (multi-purpose court pictured above). There are also a range of other non-sporting activities available, click here for more details.
If you want to chill out completely and are not booked in to stay at the hotel – get a day pass to access their impressive private beach and outdoor pool facility, which is one of the very best on the Palm Jumeirah. Click here for more details.
Get in touch with the 24-hour fitness centre via email on [email protected] or phone: +971 44 55 54 37.