Every runner is different and every run is unique, so here we’ve put together five dos and five don’ts when it comes to getting the best out of yourself as a runner, whether you’re a newbie or experienced.
Here, we kick off with five things you should do…
It can be pretty tempting to put on your trainers and hit the roads right away. But, failure to warm-up and stretch can lead to injury and ultimately you won’t be able to run.
Seasoned runners will spend between 15-30 minutes working up a sweat and flexing and stretching the key lower leg muscle groups to get everything in working order before running. Although this a good length of time to get you going ahead of your run, if you’re new to running, stick to a solid five-minute warm-up and loosen up your whole body.
Stretch your hamstrings, lunge side to side, pull-up your quads, rotate your hips and lower back and get your arms moving.
…INVEST IN A GOOD PAIR OF RUNNERS
This doesn’t mean you have to buy the biggest brand and most expensive shoe in the store, but make sure you know your size, foot type (a running gait analysis test in-store can help with this) and pick a pair with good stability and cushioning on the outer and inner sole.
…CREATE A TRAINING PROGRAMME
With so many performance-based applications and watches now to record your distances, times and monitor your heart rate, we are often overwhelmed with data. Whatever your end goal or objective, it’s good to use this information as part of a wider programme to enhance your running experience.
By having a schedule, it’s easy to document your weekly KMs, check your progress and see how you can move forward. The myth is that it has to be really in-depth but keep it plain and simple, record some notes on your phone and utilise various apps to help you out.
…MIX IT UP AND JOIN A RUNNING CLUB
Interval training and speedwork compliment long and steady runs very well, as does getting involved running in a group. While, of course, we all need to enjoy our individual runs where we can just zone out and relief some stress, running with others can really help your motivation levels. It’s also a great way to meet new friends and there are plenty of options available in the UAE.
When you stop running, the temptation is to just sit down, slouch and eat right away. But, to stop the onset of muscle soreness and build-up of lactic acid, keep walking for a short period after you finish and stretch out your muscles with some dynamic movements and foam rolling. It only take a few minutes, and coupled with rehydrating, will help keep you fresh and injury-free. Recovery is an aspect of running which shouldn’t be undervalued whatsoever. It’s better to be able to run than be on the sidelines with an injury, right?
…BUILD UP YOUR VOLUME TOO QUICKLY
It’s a common mistake made by plenty of runners out there who may run long run after long run, and while you might be feeling good, the body is in danger of breaking down when you increase mileage too quickly. It’s better to start off slow, introduce a training programme with weekly targets you want to run and gradually start stepping on the gas more week-by-week, with frequent rest days in-between and even a week off of running.
Running, particularly on hard surfaces, can takes its toll on your body so it’s vital you complete strength and conditioning work, with a mixture of upper and lower-body exercises on alternate days to your running. This will help to maintain your running form and ability to run bigger and better. Short, high-intensity workouts featuring exercises such as planks, pull-ups, weighted lunges, squats, mountain climbers and high and low kicks should form part of your training.
…EAT HEAVILY BEFORE RUNNING
An obvious one, but leave it at least two hours after food before you run. Eat light and keep hydrated with water and glycogen drinks, especially in hot and humid UAE conditions.
…FOCUS ON OTHERS
It’s great to get inspired by fellow runners and friends, but do what feels comfortable and good for you when it comes to training and performance in events. We are all different, work to varying training thresholds and some of our bodies can naturally take more pain and strain than others. Try and establish what is good for you rather than try and copy-cat what works for others.
…IGNORE YOUR BODY
If you feel tired and aren’t in the mood to run then take that as a sign from your body that it requires some rest. The more and more you exercise you’ll get a feel for how your energy levels are and how you feel physically. Running on tired legs and a tired mind can actually do more damage than good.
The winter season is short in Dubai so it’s best to make the most of the good running weather while we have it …
With the temperatures not set to rise significantly until at least April, we’ve picked out 10 running routes in the city, applicable to all running abilities and distances.
All of the following locations are open 24-7 and free-to-use:
One of the most scenic places to run in the city and the beauty of it is you can actually follow a designated, soft-surface running track with markings.
Starting at Umm Suqeim Beach (Sunset Beach) under the gaze of the iconic Burj Al Arab, the 7km stretch takes you past Kite Beach and all the way down to Jumeirah 1. If you then turn around and go back, you’ll clock up 14km.
It’s never overly busy and it’s easy to stop for a drink or stretch mid-run too. In addition, it has a really fun vibe at the weekend.
DUBAI WATER CANAL
One of the newest running routes around when it was completed in late 2016, take in 6.4km of the waterfront and mix it up with as many as five pedestrian bridges.
A stunning view of the Downtown skyline will accompany you and it is also easy to link-up with the Jumeirah beaches via Al Maktoum Bridge. The best access to the canal is from Business Bay and Al Habtoor City if you’re coming from Sheikh Zayed Road.
AL BARSHA POND PARK
A short and sharp 1.4km running track that surrounds the pond and is marked every 100m. Perfect for speed work or interval training rather than the long run. Busier in the evenings with plenty of people working out.
Without doubt one of Dubai’s best known places, the soft (and knee-friendly) Palm Jumeirah boardwalk is a fantastic place to run and is typically quiet too.
Starting off opposite the Atlantis, The Palm, running to either the end of the East or West Crescent and back is roughly 10km, and if you do both, you would comfortably clock up a half-marathon distance (21.1km). A perfect run to zone out, have a bit of time to yourself and soak up the sea views.
Congrats to everyone for your incredible #BerlinMarathon achievements today 👏👏👏, many people I know from home 🇬🇧 and Dubai-based runners ran and were simply magnificent. Big up to everyone even if I don’t know all of you Dubai runners individually 🙂🇦🇪 who competed in that great city. It gave me goosebumps seeing and reading about your inspiring stories. • It got me thinking…Three weeks today I’ll be running my fourth international marathon of the year at #AmsterdamMarathon 🏃🏻with my running brother @calumdrummond89 – feeling blessed to have this opportunity. • Focus is always on preparing as best as I can and being grateful for the chance to run. Never take it for granted. • Tonight – the run that clears my head the most is the full Palm Jumeirah Crescent from East to West 👍. A chance to reflect and think 🙏. • #UnderArmour #marathon #marathons #marathonrunner #runner #marathontraining #workout #runningman #instafitness #WhyIRunDubai #run #runner #runforlife #nevergivein #motivation #fitnessindxb #dxbfitness #coreworkout #corestrength #fitnessaddict #mydubai #workoutmotivation #instafit #workouttime #instarunners #workouttime #fitnessmotivation #fitnesslifestyle
AL ITTIHAD PARK
Sticking with the Palm, the park area next to the Golden Mile Galleria has a lovely 2.7km track loop interspersed with workout stations and is a good way to work up an evening sweat if you’re short on time.
The 9km loop is perhaps the location to run in Dubai (particularly if you live in the populous Jumeirah Lake Towers or JBR) and has fantastic views to match.
The Marina boasts a completely flat surface with a few short inclines (steps) as you cross two bridges on the full route, with one of them being close to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai and then the other next to the unmissable Cayan Tower.
There are also four other bridges linked up with the Marina which means it is possible to run short distances, or repeats, giving flexibility to tweak your volume.
In the early morning and daytime, the venue is pretty much empty but is a lot busier in the evening with running groups meeting at Dubai Marina Mall often.
A great option if you fancy a change of scenery but the best thing is it’s easy to get to with its picture perfect location next to Dubai Water Canal and overlooking the city’s biggest skyscrapers. Plenty of green space to run and then chill afterwards with friends.
DUBAI CREEK PARK
Another brilliant spot to take in some of Dubai’s richest and oldest culture – and away from some of the bright lights of the city that can sometimes get a bit all too much. The park itself commands just a Dh1 entry free, and from there, you can actually make your way out and to the Creek itself, taking in the old Souq and plenty more.
AL SUFOUH ROAD
Part of the annual usual Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon route, a run from the One & Only Royal Mirage Dubai to the Madinat Jumeriah and back is 10km. While there isn’t a designated track to follow as such, it’s best to run on the pavement on Dubai College side as a) the pavement is wider and more stable with signs for cyclists; b) there are less small road openings to cross and c) it is easier to watch oncoming traffic and stay alert, with the roads being busy if events are on at various hotels and tourist places close by.
A popular spot for an outdoor session in the evenings, JLT has a spongy blue running track and free-to-use upper-body and core workout machines. The green bowl and attached parks are also good for a kick around or a few overs of cricket!
This is a kind 10km loop, starting at the Greens and running back around until you’re finished at Emirates Hill. On the route you’ll take in Jebel Ali Racecourse and part of First Al Khail Street (behind JLT) on your way to knocking off the top distance.
Paleo is nothing new. There has been no big rock or movie star endorsing it in Hollywood and it is not taking the world by storm. It has way more substance than that. It is a style of eating that originated over 2.5 million years ago. It is simple, free from modern day food industry additives and preservatives, and it is unprocessed. This means that the food is easy for your body to digest and promotes healthy living on all levels.
Here are 10 reasons to go paleo:
It is super simple: You will eat meat, chicken or fish, fruit, vegetables and nuts and seeds in their purest form. This means that not only your food preparation is easier, but also your shopping becomes fast and simple.
Less chemicals: Because the food is pure and free from additives and preservatives, you are not subject to the chemicals that many foods in the market today contain. It is these chemicals that often promote diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Improved digestion: Natural food in its purest form is the food your body was designed to consume. Therefore, you will have improved digestion on a paleo diet.
Increased mental focus: Un-pure foods can alter the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, which can lead to headaches, dizziness and worse. When you feed your body you are also feeding your brain, so this pure food is going to give you all the mental focus that you need.
Reduced inflammation: Natural food helps to naturally reduce inflammation in the body caused by the stresses of life as well as physical exercise. You will feel less swelling around your joints and less bloating in your gut. All positives here.
It is sustainable: The fresh ingredients that go into paleo recipes will always be around. Couple that with the simplicity of preparing a paleo meal and it’s easy to see how the diet is a good long-term eating solution. Also, it’s super tasty so you won’t want to quit after a few days!
You will look better: Less bloating, less chemicals in your body, less sugar and less general badness! All of this inevitably leads to one thing: a body that looks great carrying less unwanted fat around. Remember what our ancestors looked like? Lean and mean!
You will perform better: Food is the petrol of the body. Put in dirty fuel and your body will perform poorly – just the same as if you put poor fuel in a car. We all need to perform well in life on so many levels, so let’s make sure we use the best fuel possible.
You will feel better: Headaches? Gone. Digestive issues? Gone. Inflammation? Gone. Fat? Gone. Tiredness? Gone. It’s pretty easy to see how much better you are going to feel once these things are removed from your life isn’t it?
Overall happiness: Just reread and think about the above nine points one more time. Come on, you have to agree that they will make you a happier person!
What is Smith St Paleo?
Smith St Paleo is a Dubai-based Paleo food brand and consultancy company. Established in 2015 by Holly Smith, the brand has a vision of helping people to continue their love affair with food whilst promoting optimal health.
Paleo is a style of eating, which follows the way our ancestors ate thousands of years ago. It’s a simple case of design; our bodies are not designed to digest the highly processed, sugar-laden, grain-heavy foods that are commonplace today.
Through Smith St Paleo, Holly has developed over 100 of her own Paleo-compliant recipes for all tastes buds and occasions, many of which are part of the Smith St Paleo meal plan delivery service. She also has a range of products available for sale in the UAE.
For more information, head over to www.smithstpaleo.com where you will find an extensive library of recipes and content on the practical and effective Paleo lifestyle.