Training for a long distance event can be tedious at the best of times. During winter, it can prove difficult to even drag ourselves out of bed in the pitch dark mornings never mind find the motivation for endurance training! With thanks to Spatone Apple who teamed up with Olympic marathon runner Liz Yelling, these top ten tips might help to keep you on the right track.
1. The right running shoes
Probably the most important thing a runner needs. Don’t run in a shoe designed for any other sport. Your shoe should be comfortable and functional for your personal needs. There should be no irritations or pressure points when trying on in store as these will affect you more as you run longer distances. Visit a specialist running shop who can assess your running style and history and advise on the correct shoe for you. Buy two pairs of a shoe you like and rotate them.
2. A sports watch or phone app
If you are embarking on a training programme you will want to monitor your progress. Speed and distance monitors allow you to upload your route, store your lap times and adapt your training plan. Monitoring patterns in your training can help you learn and improve. Knowing your times over specific distances also helps you understand your pace.
3. A running vest
Super breathable vests are ideal for long distance training. Made of a high performance, microfibre fabric it draws sweat away from the body to keep runners cool and comfortable. Ensure your running kit is comfortable so you can concentrate more on the running. For long cold winter runs, layer up with technical clothing to stay warm but remember to dress for how you will feel half way round your run to ensure you don’t over dress.
4. A running bra
For ladies, a good sportsbra is essential to battle the irreversible affects of gravity as you run. No matter what size you are you need to get a high-impact bra to minimise movement and consider buying two of the same make and model once you’ve found one which fits, supports and doesn’t chafe.
Iron is necessary for production of haemoglobin in red blood cells. Haemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. If iron stores are low, normal haemoglobin production slows down, which means the transport of oxygen around the body decreases, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue and tiredness. Runners especially need to ensure appropriate iron intake due to a combination of footstrike haemolysis (repeated pounding of the feet on hard surfaces which can damage red blood cells), and iron loss through sweat and natural wastage, as well as menstrual blood loss for those female runners. If diet alone is not providing all your additional iron requirement then Spatone Apple is a great way to maintain healthy iron levels. Spatone Apple contains Spatone spa water sourced from the Welsh mountains of Snowdonia National Park – which can help top up your iron levels whilst causing fewer of the unpleasant side effects often experienced with conventional iron food supplements[i]. The additional Vitamin C in Spatone Apple can help increase iron absorption to help ensure sufficient dietary intake of iron for active people.
6. A Comfortable Drinks Carrier
It’s important to drink to thirst during exercise. The longer you are running for, the more important it is to monitor your thirst status. Start your runs adequately hydrated and on those longer runs (more than 90min or less if it’s hot) carry a drink with you. There are lots of ways to carry water on your run but it is important to choose a method which compliments your running style. A hand held bottle is convenient but it does not hold much liquid. Other options are belt bottles or backpack style ‘bladders’. The key is comfort and accessibility.
7. Energy foods and drinks
The longer you run for the more important it is that you have energy to carry you the distance. That energy comes from the food you eat. Well balanced, non processed, healthy, nutritious eating habits promote a strong body on which to train and exercise. Be fuelled for your runs and if you’re out for a long time (2hrs or more) you might like to take some energy with you. Your choice for this might be sports drinks, sports fuel products or natural foods. Try it in training first to find out what works for you to keep you feeling energised.
8. Arnicare® Arnica Cooling Gel
Many injuries can be avoided by warming up and doing stretches immediately before and after your training session. Help ease muscle aches by rubbing Nelsons Arnicare Arnica Cooling Gel into your limbs after exercising. Specially formulated to refresh and revitalise, it combines the invaluable natural properties of arnica with the benefits of grapefruit and menthol to prompt cooling to soothe and revive aching and tired limbs.
9. A Lightweight Jacket
You’ll probably be out training in some very unpredictable weather. Get a good quality lightweight jacket which has plenty of vents and choose a bright colour or reflective material to stay visible and safe.
Be it music or podcasts you’ll most likely want a playlist to keep you motivated and on pace during your race. Plan well in advance so you have enough material to boost your morale.
[i] McKenna D, Spence D, Haggan SE, McCrum E, Dornan JC, Lappin TR. (2003) CLINICAL AND LABORATORY HAEMATOLOGY 25; 99-103