Getting prepared for and after the race
Run Jericho brings together participants who have different goals and experience, so read below for some handy guides on training before the race, and some tips on post-race recovery.
Getting the right nutrients and keep hydrated
Two to three days before
Have you thought about a pre-race meals? You should start preparing your body for the race and eating plenty of carbohydrates two or three days before. “Carb-loading” won’t make you run faster, but it will allow you to run your best. Eat modest portions of high-protein with your carbs and don’t forget to keep hydrated.
Good sources of carbs and protein:
- Brown rice and quinoa
- Dark chocolate
- Peanut butter
- Butternut squash
- White bread
- Dry fruit
- Low fat dairy products
The night before
Your dinner the night before the race should be relatively small, but packed full of carbs. Try to eat earlier in the evening, as you want to wake up race day hungry and not full from the night before. And make sure you are well hydrated (avoid alcohol).
Race day breakfast – 2-3 hours before the race
Have your high-carb breakfast 2-3 hours before the race, but don’t stuff yourself! This breakfast is to help top up your stored energy as you have, of course, been carb loading 2/3 days before! Limit or avoid fat and fibre, as your body has to slow down to turn fat into energy.
If you tend to feel queasy on race morning, try liquid carbs such as smoothies, juices, and sports drinks.
Your race diet shouldn’t stop at the finish line. Try to eat 30-60 minutes after crossing the finish line and make sure you eat plenty of carbs and protein to help your muscle recovers. Don’t forget to re-hydrate, our brains can sometimes mislead us into thinking dehydration as hunger.
We wouldn’t want to discourage you from celebrating your achievement with a well-deserved drink, but wait for a couple of hours after a race, and after you are re-hydrated!
Is this your first 10K race?
Make sure to warm up before, and warm down after each run to help avoid injuries. Before your run, spend 10 to 15 minutes performing dynamic stretches, and after your run perform static stretches.
If you are training for your first ever race:
- Start little (just run and walk for a few minutes 2-3 times a week) and build up to running for 15-20 minutes
- Run at your own pace and stop when you need to without the stress of making a particular distance
- Rest between runs
- As you gain experience build in training goals:
- Practise sustaining a pace that feels comfortable to you
- Introduce intervals into your runs to add variety and increase strength.
Attempt to do one long run every week, and consider running a distance that is a little longer than the race to make it less daunting on the day. Do not worry about your pace on these long runs … this is practice for your legs to become familiar with the distance.
Don’t feel guilty if you need easy run days, or if you need to rest due to a niggle, listen to your body!
Finally, if you need a pre-defined plan, try couch to 5K, Need we say more?
Get your children running
Set up your child for success
Create a personal chart for your child:
- Determine manageable goals with your child, finishing on an end goal of running 1 mile
- After each goal, ask them to rate (using an emoticon scale) the following:
- How they felt of the distance
- How strong they felt
- Chart the progress over time, so they have a sense of commitment and can see their progression
- Don’t have a fitness watch? Not to worry, teach your child how to measure their heart rate and add the results to each goal. They will see how their heart rate changes the more quicker or further they run
- At the end of each goal achieved, celebrate and congratulate them on achieving it
Why not train together, and create a personal chart for you to compare.
Don’t rush to complete the final 1 mile goal, modulate their running effort … there is nothing wrong with walking when things get challenging!
Run with friends … and pets
If your child’s friends are also participating in Run Jericho or a similar event, or simply enjoy running, then run together as a group. This will make the time more fun and engaging, and also will help to spur each other on.
Do you own a dog and does your child take it for walks with you? They can run instead of walking.
Run with good form and breathing
The NHS has some fantastic information on how to run with good form and breathe rhythmically to improve performance and reduce injury risk. Teaching children to run with good form from an early age will develop good habits that will keep them in good stead in years to come.
Build in games for added fun
- Does your child play Pokémon Go? Create a route around your neighbourhood that goes past a number of poké stops, and see how many they can spin in a certain time
- How about running in pyjamas, or their favourite dressing up costume?
- Running in the evening with a torch is fun
- Create a scavenger hunt of local landmarks to “collect” while running
- Play simon says, with challenges along the way
Making running fun will help reduce their apprehension, and your children will more likely want to do it.
Add variety to your routes
Running the same route over and over can become uninspiring. Why not change your route from time to time; across Port Meadow, down the canal, around the University Parks, or further afield in Wytham Woods.
Need to go to your local shop?
Why not make your food shop an opportunity to add a little more running into your child’s day. Perhaps adding a small detour to increase the distance, aiming for 1 mile.
Dress to run
We know that children grow out of clothes and shoes fast, particularly at primary school age. But to reduce risk of injury and to make running more enjoyable, we do recommend purchasing a sensible pair of running trainers and good running socks (to avoid blisters). Uncomfortable and poor fitting trainers will soon put your child off running, particularly over longer distances.