PURE RUNNING Q & A
Pure Fitness is proud to be Official Fitness Sponsor again for Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2010. As a Pure Fitness client, you can utilise our cutting-edge sports specific programmes for ultimate all-round marathon training.
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To further help you prepare for the big race, some invaluable insight from our Training Manager David Menhennett to ensure that you're running right...
1. Is distance running for everybody?
This is a vital question to be addressed before any training commences. One of the things I ask people first up is, "Did you run at school, and if so did you prefer long or short distances?" For those who answer yes to short distances (sprinters), I generally ask them why they want to run distance. The number of people I've seen over the years (since coming to HK, mainly on Bowen Rd) - with awkward running styles, pained and unhappy faces, propelled by some mistaken belief that running is good for everyone - are too numerous to mention. These people are not designed to run.
I've always been a naturally gifted distance runner, and this has to do with genetics. For an extreme example of genetics and running, just look at the winners of the world's marathons, who are usually of African descent. The London Marathon winner this year was African and completed the 42-km race in 2 hours and 5 mins - that's an average speed of just over 20 km/h!
2. OK, so I have some natural ability with distance running. How long do I need to prepare for a race if I've never done one before?
A 12-week (3-month), minimum preparation period is highly recommended for a novice runner. We break training down into 3 phases - stability, strength and power phases. Phase 1 is crucial as the following areas are addressed:
• Movement Assessments / Gait Analysis
This involves walking/running on a treadmill to identify problems like feet that turn out, knees that collapse in, low backs that arch too much, hips that have no stability and move around too much, shoulders and heads that sit forward.
These will inhibit your ability to run and potentially cause injuries. That's why many people need correctional exercise as a lead-up to events like the Standard Chartered Marathon.
It allows the fitness professional to design a programme specific to the runner's needs and abilities.
- Tight muscles are stretched (optimal flexibility)
- Weak muscles are activated (core and joint stability)
- Running mechanics are corrected, energy leaks are plugged
- Base cardiovascular fitness is addressed
Note: The first 4 of the above points need to be dealt with first before people start putting in the miles with running - the more you run incorrectly, the harder it is to correct. It is necessary to enlist the services of a qualified health and fitness professional.
Also recommended is a 10-km race to start with for beginners, progressing up to a full marathon in time if all goes well and you desire longer distances.
3. How often should I be training?
Three times per week is a great place to start - any less and it's hard to make the necessary gains. Training more than 3 times per week is even better, but you must make sure you're getting enough recovery time in between sessions.
4. Do I need special shoes?
The right pair of shoes is essential and can make a huge difference. For example, people whose feet flatten need a shoe with more arch support, while people with a naturally high arch often need more cushioning on the heel. Whether narrow or wide, all feet need a properly fitted shoe so shop at a store that specialises in running.
5. Any other areas that people overlook?
Proper hydration and breathing. Being properly hydrated is a must for anyone with athletic pursuits. De-hydration is one of the fastest ways to lose performance, especially in hotter climates. Last but certainly not least is the way we breathe. A good running coach will teach what's called "belly breathing". This ensures that you are pulling breath right down into the lungs, so that more oxygen can reach the working muscles. An obvious but vital factor.