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Top 10 rules of training

Tips for your Richmond Running Festival training

Before starting your Richmond Running Festival training, you need to be aware of the following top ten rules. Follow them and you'll get the most out of your training!

Rest

It may seem strange to start this list with rest, but if you don't get this element of your training right then you will not make any progress. While you don't want the whole of your programme to consist of rest, it's essential to listen to your body and take time off regularly.

Train according to how you feel

If you're having a bad day and feel that another training session would be detrimental, then don't do it. Training when you're feeling unwell or having a stressful time at work, for example, is counterproductive. This is not to be confused with that 'I can't be bothered because I feel tired' feeling!

Have a plan

Training without a plan can be demoralising. If you're training for the Richmond Running Festival then you'll need to follow a plan or you could find you are literally going around in circles. A plan will give you short-, medium- and long-term targets – and you can tick these off as you achieve them.

Stick to your plan

Once you have your Richmond Running Festival training plan, then stick to it. Don't be tempted to deviate from it just because you're having a particularly good day. The plan will have been put together with all of the principles of training in mind, such as the need for progression.

Build up slowly

Don't be tempted to do too much too soon. Even though you might feel that you just want to get into your training in a big way from day one, make sure that you stick to your plan and start slowly. If you don't then you are very likely to get injured.

Get into a routine

Build your Richmond Running Festival training into your way of life, just like you go to work and have dinner when you get back. What we don't mean is do the same distance session all the time. If you do that then you won't make any progress.

Go your own way

Training with a partner suits some people more than others. There are advantages but there are also disadvantages. You may well find it better to do your own thing, especially in the early days. One of the problems of training with others is that you lose heart if you can't keep up or don't make as much progress as they do.

Don't waiver

Believe in yourself and don't give up. There will be plenty of times when you doubt your ability to follow your plan and achieve your goals. Don't lose sight of your Richmond Running Festival goal and keep at it. We all have bad days but don't let them affect your overall programme.

The right fuel

Training regularly places additional demands on the body, and that includes nutritional demands. The food you eat when you are particularly active is of utmost importance. You need to fuel your body with the right, nutritious and balanced diet to provide it with all the essential nutrients it requires to enable you to perform at your best. This will in turn help you to get more out of your training programme. Additionally it will increase your energy levels and let you train harder and for longer.

Anything letting you down?

If you're aware there is something letting you down then work on it. Don't let a weakness bring down your Richmond Running Festival training. Deal with it as soon as you identify it.

 

Warming up, stretching, and cooling down

When planning a running or other exercise session, we are all often culprits of concentrating solely on the specific training portion and neglecting our warm-up and cool-down sessions. But like it or not, your training sessions should always begin with warming up and stretching the body, and conclude with a cool-down.

Here are our tips for what to do in your running and other exercise sessions when training for the Richmond Running Festival.

Warming up

Deep down everyone knows they should warm up before they run, but this vital aspect our training is often given just a brief thought and then skipped. 'I'm short of time' or 'I'm already quite warm' are frequent affirmations we mutter to ourselves as we launch straight into our training. But dropping cold into an intensive session could not only inhibit what you actually get from your training, but could also put you at real risk of injury.

The aim of a warm-up is to prepare your body physically and mentally for the training ahead. And we are really not talking about long sessions here, so the 'lack of time' excuse is a poor one! A typical example of an adequate warm-up would be to start by gently mobilising the major joints of the body, then continue by walking for 60 to 90 seconds, building up the pace every ten seconds or so. When you start to get warm, you can then break into a gentle jog for half a mile, before stopping and going on to your stretching routine.

Stretching

Although your stretches should include all your major muscle groups, you don't need to embark on an extensive flexibility session when you're training. Instead, find a suitable place to stop when you're out running, and then begin by stretching the legs and back. After this, focus on the smaller muscle groups. Your muscles should always be stretched slowly and the stretches held for at least ten to 15 seconds. And remember: absolutely no bouncing is allowed (or recommended)! Bouncing is a common mistake, and doing it can pull or tear the muscle you're trying to ease.

Cooling down

Cooling down is just as important as warming up and stretching. Once your running distance is complete, you should not come to a complete stop immediately, as this encourages the muscles to contract too quickly and could cause an injury. They should instead be eased down and stretched out gently. Correct form once your run is finished is to drop your speed down to a jog for 30 to 60 seconds before slowing down to a brisk walk, reducing the speed every ten seconds or so.

Finally, end your cool-down with a stretching session of all the major muscle groups before you get cold – but this time, stretches should be held for around 15 to 20 seconds. Longer stretches allow muscle tension to fall and the muscles can be stretched further when they have been in use – but remember, no bouncing!

Warming up, stretching and cooling down are essential components of your Richmond Running Festival training – so do not neglect them! By just taking a few minutes to effectively prepare your body for exercise and allowing it cool down appropriately, you will get the best from your training as well as minimise your risk of injury.

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