Friday is a running feast for lovers of endurance events in the UAE. With the UTX50, a 50km race through Ras Al Khaimah’s mountainous and sandy terrain, and the Hatta Hills Running Festival, both taking place, last-minute preparation is very important given many runners are tackling new and challenging conditions for the first time.
We are now well into March, and as such, you should prepare accordingly for tough temperatures as you venture into the desert for some of the UAE’s best running experiences.
Whether you are participating in the 50km RAK race or completing the 5km/10km/half-marathon trek around the Hajar Mountains of Hatta, you need to keep well hydrated.
Carry plenty of fluids with you in a comfortable backpack and take advantage of every drink station available.
Plenty of water is the key but also have some isotonic drinks with you as they can help replenish carbohydrates quickly as your body will need to dip into these energy stores during the race. In races such as this, it’s always better to have too much water than too little, as you will find your body needing more to keep hydrated than just a normal, typical run in the UAE heat.
It is also highly recommended that you wear sun protection, a hat, sunglasses, take some sugar boosters and carry tape for any injuries.
And, to ensure that you are organised, make sure you pack your belongings the night before and have your race bib attached to your event t-shirt.
Given both races start early, this will save you valuable time rushing around on the morning of the events.
Expect bumpy and up and down ground throughout – so wear footwear you’ve worn in and feel confident with. Now is not the time to be experimenting with those brand new trainers you’ve just shelled out hundreds of dirhams on. Strong stability is crucial and you want to make sure your trainers have a solid outer sole and heel area, limiting the impact on lower leg joints.
It goes without saying, but a prolonged stretch and warm-up beforehand will help you burn up a bit of a sweat and prepare your muscles for what lies ahead.
One by one you should try and fire up the important muscle groups in your legs, such as the calves, glutes, IT bands, hamstrings and quadriceps as these will come in for their fair share of work. Normal stretching and limbering up exercises will do the job and I’d also recommend dynamic stretching, such as lunges and squats to warm up these big muscles too.
Whatever race or distance you’re competing in this weekend, enjoy the experience, relish the chance to see new scenery and meet fellow competitors along the way too.
Any excuse to prevent a workout from feeling like work, we’ve got to give kudos to InnerFight for last month launching a series of “club nights” at their funky fitness facility.
Thursday Therapy invites you to kick off the Dubai weekend with a DJ-led, buttkicking WOD in a party atmosphere. Come with an open mind and a willingness to sweat because you’ll be partying with the club’s craziest fitness fanatics.
“I have never been to anything like it, it doesn’t exist,” said InnerFight founder Marcus Smith, following the inaugural party. “I had a think about the idea, after it was suggested by a friend, and literally ten minutes later started planning it.”
For the first event, InnerFight went all out teaming up with Red Bull, decking the place out with strobe lights and loud music provided by a host of live DJs – all playing their part in pumping up the crowd of eager exercisers, who themselves came dressed in their flashiest fitness gear.
“It was unreal,” says Smith. “Red Bull put up some amazing lights and we had their truck DJ booth in the gym so the sound was pumping. We kicked off with an hour of display workouts by our coaches against some member teams, and then in the second hour all the members did a huge workout.
“We made a workout that was super inclusive so we had all abilities work out together in a nightclub feel. The energy was awesome.”
A big fan with CrossFit purists, InnerFight was once, to the outside eye, regarded as the no-nonsense go-to gym for those trying to make it to the Games or eyeing a PB in an endurance race; but over the years the brand has increasingly catered to the Average Joe and Jane hoping for a lifestyle overhaul through a variety of comprehensive programmes.
It’s become a real community initiative – a safe space for everyone from kids to obese adults to explore the outer limits of health and fitness.
Needless to say, in order to keep things fun, fresh and all-inclusive, they regularly host one-off events, challenges and activities. These include a ‘Climb the Burj Khalifa’ rope climbing challenge and last year’s Million Metres in May, which challenged running enthusiasts to clock 1,000,000m by the end of the month.
Like those, Thursday Therapy nights were designed to keep members coming back for more once they see how fun and inventive fitness can really be. Who needs nightclubs? There’s just as much energy, movement and adrenaline to be found right on the gym floor.
“We just want to offer people a different Thursday night out,” says Smith. “We wanted to create the feeling of a night club but combine it with fitness opposed to the notso-good things that people often put into their body in night clubs. “It was meant to be fun but we also know that when people work out the endorphins are a massive, natural high so we wanted to create that and we did.”
“We are planning one later on that we are going to open up to a wider audience and have a few more special display workouts, but also a bit more the guests themselves working out for longer. It was a great atmosphere and everyone just wanted to keep working out.”
What: InnerFight’s Thursday Therapy
Where: 4th Street, Al Quoz, behind Audi Dubai
Contact: Call 04 321 2899 or write to [email protected] for more details
Verdict: The endorphins will be flowing as you kick-off the weekend with this high-energy workout
It won’t happen overnight so don’t get too excited.
You’ll need to train three times a week for 6-8 weeks before you see any noticeable gains but stay patient with it… and before you know it you’ll be strutting around Dubai Marina with shoulders on you like Anthony Joshua.
Our top tips to help you achieve this:
1. If you are doing your upper body workout, then include at least three of these exercises
2. Do three sets of 10 repetitions
3. Take a break of 1 minute to 90 seconds.
Here are the exercises you can choose from to include in your programme:
1. Dumbbell shoulder press
3. Seated dumbbell side laterals
4. Lying rear deltoid raises
5. Barbell military press