Now that you have achieved your all-time Goal of completing a 10k, you are probably bitten by the adrenalin bug and wondering what’s possible?, whats’s next?. Remember one very important fact, regardless of how you “raise the bar” you’ll only have to give it “your all” the same as you had to do to get to 10k.
Getting all fired up by enthusiast sports mates over a few pints and signing up for Half Marathon, full Marathon or Adventure Race was the easy part. Now the real training begins and even the nip of the wintry Donegal air or the odd injury niggle will be overshadowed by the enormity of the challenge that you have commitment to and the ever looming start line that summons you in your minds horizon.
KEEP HEALTHY AND WELL
The first simple rule, you can’t train if your lethargic or ill and you want to avoid unnecessary injury. Make sure your suitably attired for the weather conditions, your muscles benefit from being kept warm during training and you want to avoid Flu’s and Colds.
A healthy balanced diet is essential in providing the extra energy you’ll need for training and bolstering your immune system. Because of the extra exposure many find it difficult to avoid the odd Flu / Virus so make sure your intake of vitamins is sufficient.
MANAGE YOUR TRAINING
Adopt a training plan that works for you and amount of time you can devote to training. It is important that you train consistently, week in week out as opposed to spurts of training which will be more injury prone. If you are introducing muscles that have been seldom used in the past then keep that part of training light initially to avoid injury.
Sometimes it just unavoidable, life as a habit of dictating the pace. Listen to your body and if your lethargic or have injury niggles then review your training plan / diet / lifestyle and adjust accordingly. Look back and celebrate how far you have come, don’t cling onto a training regime that’s not working, have a rethink and reschedule. Depending on where you are at in your training plan you could choose to still compete and drop your pace to a walk/run strategy or take extra breaks at transitions. Sometimes these races turn out to be the most enjoyable and race-day atmosphere will help get you through. Worst case scenario is there will always be another race coming along soon.
RACE DAY ON THE HORIZON
Tapering back your training before race day is essential and this varies but is mostly for a 2-3 week period. Cut out long training periods but continue with shorter, less frequent sessions. Your body will feel like it should be doing more but this period will help build a store of energy in your body for race-day. You may also feel like your losing your fitness level and inherited every niggle and pain possible, that OK, as those notions are all guaranteed to disappeared after race day.
Pre race nutrition for endurance events is as important as the training, make sure your body is properly fuelled and hydrated for the entire week leading up to race day. Get well rested during the week as your pre-race nerves will see to it that you only get a few hours sleep on the last night
ENJOY THE TRIP – REMEMBER, YOU GET TO DO IT – NOT – HAVE TO DO IT
TRAINING – Enjoy the whole process, make sure that your training regime is enduring but also enjoyable. Train with someone else as part of your weekly routine, even for just 1 day /week. Allow some variation / flexibility to suit moods or conditions on occasional days.
RACE-DAY – On race-day get your rest, nutrition and pace right and your guaranteed to enjoy the Event. If you go out too fast you’ll suffer and lose all enjoyment which is against every reason that you decided to sign up for the event in the first place.
THE NEW YOU
Now have a good look back and celebrate this major turnaround in your Health, wellbeing and general fitness that you have gained in this journey of a lifetime. You will probably go onto bigger and better achievement but the physiological and mental efforts and gains to get you here are the most important of your sporting career because if you hadn’t started you’d always have been a Couch Potato and unhealthy one at that.
SET YOUR GOALS
Depending on the individual, you may select goals that you identify as achievable or alternatively “push out the boat” which is good put not so far that you can’t achieve it. Extreme North events are structure to include all levels of fitness, which allows Adventure racers or Distance runners the opportunity to drop down a level, before race day, if training hasn’t gone to plan for one reason or another. Use your GOAL as your incentive, so set it and sign up TODAY which will help force you out training on those lazy days.
Best of Luck in your venture and make 2016 YOUR YEAR.