Run Away From Trouble

If you haven’t been inspired to purchase a new grippy, rock-shield, cushioning, minimal, no-rise-low-rise, supportive, performance, semi-firm ride trail shoe by this point in the August edition of the Fix, there is pretty much no hope for you. But I shall continue, as by the end of this, you’ll be a runner.

Running, as my elderly Mother would call it, is a “drug.” Perhaps a slightly disparaging description of my endorphin-filled endeavour, but I vaguely see her point. Don’t get me wrong, she’s as supportive of my hobby as the fanciest motion-control running shoes on the market, yet she’s confused as to why I, for all intent and purposes, developed an addiction in my 30s.

I, too, wonder the same thing many a day. However, for those days where running brings the best highs, outstanding and deserving views, the most mind-clearing start, and the most couch-and-Netflix-deserving end to the day, running is for all intent and purposes, the most enticing drug out there. I’d say cheapest, but just you wait…

Any takers yet? Well read on, as whether you’re just embarking, are mid-training, increasing your mileage, or a little lost along the way, the following might help you run to the highest high out there this summer, and beyond…

Don’t know where to start?

Find a friend. Blame the whole nonsense on them. Whilst simultaneously enjoying every minute of your new found high.

Pre-Run

Pre-run prep is tough. As a predominantly post-work runner, I have approximately 10hrs of the day to talk myself out of running. A bad night’s sleep, too big a lunch, mentally tired from sitting at a desk, dark clouds rolling in, the lure of friend’s having post-work drinks, no one to run with and my subsequent fear of being mauled by wildlife. All of these preceding issues, however, can be shaken off within two strides of hitting the trails. Even the unrelenting fear of being eaten.

Fueling Right

Once you’re on the trail, keeping fuelled to be able to take yourself further and push yourself harder to a better end result, is really important. Base your fuel on what distance you’re going, the weather and the intensity of your workout. Being short on fuel is horrendous and makes tomorrow’s 10hr pre-run, opt-out period a whole lot more feasible.

If you’re prepping for racing, make sure you practice running with different fuel options. And more importantly, figure out the fuel that’s right for you. I run my longer races on pretty much sugar and caffeine, to the extent I have a furry tongue, toothache and no taste-buds for days after, whereas my husband has rewards cards to a number of expensive vegan fuelling websites. It’s a personal decision, but make sure you pick products you can stomach, and give them a good on-trail test well before you reach race day.

Fighting the Heat
It’s August and it’s hot. Which throws a whole other spanner in the works when it comes to stomaching fuel and ending your run in good shape, eager for the next one. Water and electrolytes are pivotal in the heat and shouldn’t be cut short. This again is very personal and so do your research and figure out what’s best for you. If you’re a heavy sweater take that into account on the advised electrolyte dosage, if you’re a light sweater, don’t overdo it. Again there are so many products on the market, from capsules to tablets you add to your water. Experiment and pick your weapon!

Gear
How best to carry your fuel and water on the trails? There are so many products on the market, from hand-held bottles to belts to backpacks. Personal preference again, but make sure you take what you need, plus a little bit extra. Plus if you’re running with your four-legged friend right now, there is little water to be found, so take enough for them too! P.S. Carry toilet paper, as all your culinary experimenting might lead to frightening consequences…

Post-Run
Taking good care of yourself post-run is as important as during. Even if you feel ravenous for something deliciously bad for you, resist the urge and match your output to your input. And if you’re sore, sit in the Elk River – it’s one of the few running related treatments that is quite literally priceless and will leave you ready for tomorrow!

Take it to Race Day

If your training is counting down to a specific race, or you’re following a specific training program, how do you take all you’ve learned along the way to race day? First up, don’t panic! Be meticulous in your preparation, make smart decisions pre and during your race, and enjoy the challenge. You’re ready for it and guaranteed it will be the first of many more to come…