We are very excited to be attending the St Davids Day Run on the 28th February, and in the run up to the day we are going to be providing you with interesting insights, tips and training tools to help you smash that personal best.
To start our race prep we thought it would be a good idea to sit down with current Welsh 5km Champion and 13.59 5km runner Ieuan Thomas to see if we can get some helpful tips for race day! Our Q+A with Ieuan can be found below:
Will you be running one of the St Davids Day races this year?
I will indeed. I will already be there on the day with SPORTTAPE helping runners prepare and recover and thought that it would be a great opportunity to take part in a fantastic event. I actually won the race the last time i ran it back in 2012 so I would love to do the same again. I will be running to support Cancer Research Wales, the same charity that SPORTTAPE is there supporting. I have been involved with this fantastic Welsh charity for a little while, volunteering and attending their events - I even did a skydive in their aid a few months back.
What will your preparation be like on the day? What should a good pre-race morning look like?
Well I'm going to be there quite early to set up with SPORTTAPE but typically on a race day I find it helpful to work backwards from the race start time. So depending on what race everyone is running work backwards from 10am or noon. I then know how many hours before the race I'd ideally want to eat, so a hearty breakfast to fuel you for the run is a good idea. Nothing that's too hard to digest - porridge is good, some banana, my personal favourite is a bagel with peanut butter.
Hydration is key too. You want to be drinking water from the moment you wake up really, and hydration the day before is just as essential. I'll typically drink a hydration mix called SOS rather than water so I don't have to take on quite as much liquid on the day. And then COFFEE! Embrace the powers of the double espresso. For me i tend to find about 40 minutes before is best, but this will be an individual thing.
Any helpful tips for warming up?
The question says it all really. The most important thing is warming up, preparing the muscles to run quickly! Personally I like to jog for 10-12 minutes and then do 15 minutes of so of dynamic drills, 3-4 fast strides and then I'm good to go! It all helps to prep the body for what you want from it. The jog starts to warm the muscles, the drills mimic the running motion and start activating the muscle groups for greater power output and then the strides get the body used to running a little quicker.
Put in a good warm up and it could be the difference between getting a P.B or having to wait until next time.
What about when we get tired, because that will happen. Have you got any psychological tricks to get the runners through?
When it starts hurting, just remember why you are running. So many runners out there on the day will be running for fantastic causes, so just think about that and that will push you through. Talk to yourself with positive statements - "I can do it" and specific running thoughts - I often tell myself to keep my legs moving quickly, keep working the arms, stay tall, and before you know it...sprint finish time!
What about therapy? Do you see anyone regularly?
Absolutely. I have a great team of people that I see on a weekly basis that I absolutely credit with keeping me in one piece. I have a weekly physio and massage session and then try and see a chiropractor every month to stay in tip top shape. There are so many fantastic therapists in Cardiff that you can find someone who will really understand any injury from any perspective. A sports massage isn't necessarily fun, but it is necessary!
Any other essential tips, especially for beginner runners?
I'll give you my top 3!
1) Running shoes. They are the most important part of your toolkit, so make sure they're right. Get them fitted at a specialist running store and pick a pair that feel comfortable and that make you motivated to put on and run. You're not going to get hooked on running in the wrong pair of shoes!
2) Pacing. It's so easy to get carried away with crowds when everyone goes sprinting off at the beginning. But pace yourself, run your own race. If you have a GPS watch even better because then you can break down your pace and try and run even splits!
3) Join a group. Running is so much easier when it is with other people. There are quite a few social running groups in Cardiff who are more than welcoming to beginner runners. There's always anxiety running with new people, but trust me you won't regret it!
If you have any other questions for Ieuan then feel free to leave a comment and we'll put forward your questions to him!
More information on the St Davids Day run can be found at www.stdavidsdayrun.com.
More information on Ieuan's charity of choice Cancer Research Wales can be found at https://www.cancerresearchwales.co.uk