1. Have a goal! Either a time or distance. 30min? 60min? 5km? 10km?
2. Make an awesome playlist that matches both the pace you run at & the distance you want to reach – e.g I have a 60min playlist to match the 11km run durarion, all tracks match a pace between 11-13km/ph. I use Spotify, and love making new playlists at the beginning of each week. They also have running playlists you can follow if your search, “running music” for those of you who don’t have the time or care to build your own.
3. Practice running on the fronts of your feet rather then heel striking. (Good read: “Born to Run”) and imagine your energy lifting out of your feet (& crown of head), rather then sinking heavy in through the ground as you strike down… think about running with as little force and impact in the floor as possible.
4. Run on an empty stomach, or with very little to eat before your big run. I usually just have 1/2 apple, a boiled egg, or a small salad. Steer clear from heavy foods like bread, rice, meat & large portions.
5. Plan for shorter and longer runs throughout the week. I currently do shorter fast paced 6-8km days and 11-12km slower paced days. I save the longer runs for my days off where I have plenty of time to not feel rushed (aka so I have no excuse to get off the treadmill early)…
6. Start off well hydrated and make sure you are getting enough fresh air flow coming your way!! Lack of fresh air will make you feel tired and want to stop sooner, not to mention feel hot and bothered.
7. Focus on your out breath rather then your in breath, particularly if you are running at pace or if you are prone to stitches.
8. Drop your shoulders when you breathe out. I lengthen my out breathe 3:1 of in.
9. Take note of how much movement your arms and shoulders make when you run. Someone once pointed this out to me and I found it helpful – the less unnecessary extra energy you are expending through throwing your arms around the better.
10. Relax and don’t pressure yourself – whenever I start out, I always have a little no pressure chat with myself – sounds silly, but I find the more relaxed and the less “worked up” I am, the longer I last.
Running is when I embrace letting my mind run free… I get a lot of inspiration out of my long runs, often it’s the perfect processing tool, where I can reflect and mull over issues, ideas and thoughts that have been swishing around in my mind past their expiry date, the energy & pace of running helps to shift it, and clear it out – making room for fresh new insights, and of course, the incredible endorphin rush post run is priceless and incredibly addictive!