To achieve success and reach the goals your set for yourself, you have to follow a plan and not go about it haphazardly. In formulating
this plan, there are a number of points to bear in mind. Those listed below are in no particular order.
Make sure that there is enough build-up time to your goal event, incorporating the following:
- build-up phase (as long as possible);
- hard training that is no longer than 8 – 10 weeks; and
- a short rest-up or taper period where distance is reduced.
- Vary the training as much as possible to avoid staleness and boredom.
This is often the most overlooked area of training. Training stimulus needs a period of recovery to build on the gains made. Rest therefore
forms part of the training regime.
For every kilometer raced, have a recovery period, e.g. 10 km – 1 week, 21.1 km – 3 weeks, 42.2 km – 6 weeks.
Although we all know the basics of good nutrition, we often fail to follow a healthy eating plan. Eat three meals per day and give attention
to your carbohydrate intake. Drink water before and especially after a work-out. Keep the drink handy and try to drink it within 30 minutes after
Check the wear on your shoes at least every two weeks. Serious athletes should have at least two pairs of shoes, which are alternated. On wet or
off-road days a third pair is a good idea. Clean the shoes regularly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines
During your training, make sure that you get 8 hours’ sleep. Aim to be in bed by 10 pm. You’ll be able to tell from your sleeping habits if you’re
training too much, with symptoms such as restlessness, inability to fall asleep, night sweats etc.
Above all, maintain a balance. Vary the work-outs, run different routes, train with someone slightly above your level every now and again –
Tips on how to increase carbohydrate intake:
- Eat carbohydrate-rich foods at every meal, ensuring that they make up two-thirds of your meal.
- Snack on foods high in carbohydrates but low in fat, such as dried fruit.
- Increase the daily number of meals and snacks.
- If you are carbo-loading include concentrated sources of carbohydrates such as dried fruit, sports drinks, and carbohydrate
powders and sports bars in your diet.
- Keep carbohydrates readily available at all times – dried fruit is ideal as it needs no preparation and is easily portable.
- Dried fruit contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron and potassium. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin,
which carries oxygen through the body. It also prevents anemia because it encourages the formation of red blood cells. Potassium,
however, helps to regulate high blood pressure and counteracts the effects of a high salt intake. This is because it is a natural
diuretic that encourages the body to excrete water and sodium, which in turn reduces fluid retention.
Dried fruit is:
- A good source of carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
- Rich in iron and fiber.
- Low in fat and sodium and contains no cholesterol.
- Free of colorants and artificial sweeteners.