Lara's Road Running Tips
Lara Tamsett is an accomplished athlete who has won the City2Surf twice and also came first in the female division of the 7km Sun Run event in 2016. Whether you’re training for a half marathon, seeking to beat your personal best or just wanting to challenge yourself in 2017, Lara’s tips will help you prepare for and execute your best performance.
Training: As every athlete knows, a successful race is always preceded with successful training. There is no such thing as “bluffing” or “cramming” when it comes to a deadline in running, so plan ahead and ensure you give yourself plenty of time to build up to the required training volume. As I always remind myself, “train hard, win easy”.
Tapering: You want to reach race day with fresh legs. This means tapering – my favourite word, as it refers to reducing your training load a week out from the race. Obviously, how you taper depends on your training program and how much running you have been doing each week. For example, I reduce my weekly mileage by a half when tapering for an important race. At the same time, you don’t want to do so little that you become lethargic and flat in the last week, so ensure you keep the running legs ticking over with light, short sessions and easy jogs.
Sleeping: Try to ensure you get plenty of quality sleep the week of the race, as tapering alone won’t eliminate fatigue. However, don’t stress if nerves get in the way of a good sleep the night before the event. It won’t affect you, as it has been proven that it is the sleep two nights before the race that counts.
Fuelling: In terms of food and drink, my main piece of advice is to stick to what you’re used to. Unless you’ve tried it out prior to race day, don’t drink or eat anything you’re not familiar with. If racing for 90 mins or less, there is no need for carbo-loading, so just ensure that you are well hydrated, and that you have had a good dinner, as well as an adequate breakfast a few hours before the gun (toast with banana and honey is my favourite pre-race meal)
Planning: Come race day, make sure you’re organised – give yourself plenty of time to get to the race and warm-up properly. You don’t want to waste energy with stress.
Pacing: Regardless of how prepared and organised you are, it really comes down to what you do once that gun goes. I always aim to be relatively comfortable and in control at half-way. Make sure you work out your target time and kilometre splits, and pace yourself accordingly. It’s always better to have energy in the tank toward the end and finish strongly.
Mentality: In addition to running smart, you also have to run tough. This is what you’ve been training for – it’s your opportunity to lay your body on the line and give it everything. The lingering disappointment of knowing that you didn’t give the race 100% far outweighs the temporary pain of running. As A.C. Green accurately stated: “tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”
But above all else, ENJOY the experience! Soak up the atmosphere and crowds, and be proud of all that you have achieved to not only make the start line, but also to reach the finish line in style!