Race your best

Men's Fitness - - Features -

DON’T PANIC

Your legs are bound to feel wob­bly in the early go­ing, but it won’t last – you’ll set­tle into your stride af­ter a kilo­me­tre or so. In the mean­time, keep a slightly short stride, look for­wards and check your­self to make sure you aren’t hold­ing un­nec­es­sary ten­sion in your face, neck, arms or shoul­ders – you should be able to hold a gel in your hand with­out squeez­ing it. If it helps, smile: stud­ies sug­gest it helps some ath­letes re­duce their per­cep­tion of ef­fort.

BREAK IT UP

Mul­ti­ple Iron­man world champ Chrissie Welling­ton breaks her run into four 10km seg­ments; your mileage may vary. “You might want to con­cen­trate on land­marks, aid sta­tions or just who­ever’s in front of you,” says Rooke. “Fo­cus on peo­ple in your age group – and as you pass an ath­lete dur­ing a race, open up the gap and aim to catch the next per­son in front. Stay in the mo­ment and don’t think too far ahead.”

FIN­ISH STEADY

You should give it ev­ery­thing be­fore you go over the line, so don’t leave it too late. “Avoid sprint­ing the last 100m,” says Rooke. “Spread your en­ergy more evenly within the last 400-800m of the race. This will keep a re­serve if you need to kick on for a three-hour fin­ish time.” Have an at­tain­able time in mind. If you’re likely to achieve it with a slightly in­creased ef­fort, you’ll be able to push harder than you would oth­er­wise.

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