Triathlon coach Ani de Leon-Brown shares her foolproof tips to getting run-ready for the KOTR
With this year’s adidas King of the Road (KOTR) coming up this September 30, it’s time to begin your preparations for the run.
If this is your first running event and it actually took you a while to finally gather the courage to join, then keeping that motivation alive is your number one priority. You may follow the dozen or so helpful tips online, but without the proper motivation, all your preparations are for naught.
Set Your Goals. “Preparing for a race is like preparing for an exam—you have to study the specific subject so you will not be shocked and will have the answers on race day. It pays to have a plan for whatever distance you are aiming for,” said Coach Ani de Leon-Brown, Filipina Ironwoman, triathlete, race director and proud mom.
When asked what she usually does to keep her motivation intact, she answered, “I visualize the excitement of race day.” She adds, “Visualize that you are going through the race already, and finishing it happily. It is great to have certain goals in your mind in terms of time, effort level, pacing, etc. If you have already planned these things ahead it will be much easier to actually execute them.”
Eat Right. Now is not the time to obsess over that bag of chips in your cupboard or that triple chocolate-flavoured ice cream in the fridge. When preparing for a race, a balanced diet is vital. If you’re training for a light to moderate session, Coach Ani advises not to eat too much before the run. “Maybe a banana or a slice of bread with peanut butter, or a small bowl of oatmeal will do,” she suggests.
“If you are doing a very long session you can plan to eat a much more solid meal at least two hours beforehand,” she adds. After your workout, she recommends, “focus on taking in some lean protein along with carbs for optimal recovery.”
Hydrate. Aside from your food intake, always remember to hydrate. Coach Ani advised, “During short runs, only water is necessary. For runs longer than an hour, some sports drinks or gels can help.”
Use the right gear. It may not be wise to start buying new gear. Stick with what you have. According to Coach Ani, “all you need is your favorite pair of running shoes.”If you have nothing to wear yet, test out your gear before the race and make sure you break in your new shoes. You don’t want to commit the common mistake of ending the race with blisters on your feet or, worse, dropping out of the race before crossing the finish line because of extreme pain.
Always take comfort into consideration. You may want to wear light running shoes to increase your speed and lessen stress on your leg muscles or heavier, but flexible, shoes that move with your feet to reduce the risk of injuries. “I choose the most responsive models which also offer good support and stability from adidas,” said Coach Ani.
Plan a training routine and stick to it. If you’re a beginner and only signed up for shorter 3K or 5K distances, Coach Ani recommends a very basic regimen of running at least three times a week, with one 45-minute session, even if you have to walk part of it, and two 30-minute sessions. For advanced runners, she suggests, “more than just aiming to finish the required minutes or distances, they have to train at their target race pace. So some sessions would have to have some speed involved.”
You may want to join a running group such as the adiNation of Runners Philippines, which provides another great approach to sticking to a routine. They have set schedules every week around Metro Manila and registration is free. It’s also a good way to meet new running buddies to train with you for the 2012 King of the Road. If this will be your first time to run, it would be a great venue to get tips and recipes for the proper diet for runners like you. Having running buddies also means surrounding yourself with like-minded people who can surely motivate you when you needed a nudge towards the right direction.
Signing up for the 2012 King of the Road is just the tip of the iceberg. Being physically and mentally prepared is what will separate you from the others and allow you to win that race. “It is an icon of a running race, one of the best and the oldest in the country. Consider yourself lucky to be part of this wonderful event, and savour every moment,” said Coach Ani, a KOTR regular.