Now, one of the things that makes a race (or so we thought) was a finish line. That flimsy little stand that means SO MUCH, as you push through your pain barriers, that blister on your toe and the need to just stop and have an ice-cream. However, if this weekend’s Wings For Life race is anything to go by, it seems that finish lines are a little overrated.
Raising money for Spinal Cord Reasearch, the Wings For Life run is held in Melbourne this weekend (7th May), but if you’re not on AFL hallowed grounds, don’t worry you can run it yourself here in Sydney with a bunch of mates and a free downloadable app (from iTunes and Google Play). In fact, the charity run for this non-for-profit is held simultaneously in numerous locations around the world, which is why in Australia the race starts at 9pm. Past our normal bed time…
So how do you know if you’ve finished the race? Well, in Melbourne (and on the app) there is a pace car which follows the runners and when that pace car overtakes you (albeit very safely and slowly!) your race is over. So the goal is to beat the car at all costs. It’s a totally new concept that will test even the most experienced of runners. To work out how on earth you win such a race, we spoke to local legend Sydneysider, BUF girls instructor and fitness expert Cassey Maynard for her top tips…
Cassey, help! What’s the best way to prepare for a race that has no finish line?
Training for the Wings for Life race is all about endurance and speed. You want to include a combination of long runs, strength training and high intensity interval training to ensure the best results for the race. Glutes that fire and a strong core will help you be the best runner possible. My favourite moves are Single Leg Deadlifts and Single leg Hip Raises, Bicycle Crunches and Plank holds.
So, what are your best three tips for a great run on the day?
1) Dynamic stretches: Prior to the race make sure you warm up your body dynamically, start with a jog then some leg circles, butt kicks, leg swings, elbow to knee twists, lateral and reverse lunges. Then move on to exercises that get the heart rate up a little, like high knees, single and double leg hops and torso twists. This will help prevent any injuries and get the body warm and ready to go!
2) Eat smart: Eat a healthy, balanced meal as you normally would the night before the race. Include carbs, a little protein and some healthy fats. Most importantly, do not eat anything new on race day! You don’t want your body reacting in any strange ways…! Consume a meal two hours prior to your race and keep it pretty simple, with some quality protein and a few slow burning carbs. A few options are a small serve of oats with berries and a couple of almonds or a protein shake with some almond butter and a frozen banana blended in. Anything that’s got a few carbs and a little protein and is not too hard to digest works well. A cheeky Red Bull 30 minutes prior to the race will give you the wings (pun intended) you need to move faster!
3) Hydrate: Consume adequate fluids in the days leading up to the race but don’t overdo it. On the day itself, sip on 150-300ml every 15-20 minutes up until about 45-60 minutes before the start gun, leaving plenty of time for a toilet stop before you get moving.
What are some things that people do wrong when they train for a long-distance running race?
They stop training a few days in the lead up to the race! When your body gets used to moving every day in the lead up to event like this, stopping altogether can make your muscles tighten up. Make sure you keep your body moving, a walk or jog will make all the difference on race day.
What is the best meal to have after the race?
Try and get a piece of fruit, some coconut water or another kind of electrolyte drink into you immediately after you finish the run, to avoid being sick and dizzy due to low blood glucose. Make sure you drink plenty of water! Consume a healthy meal containing carbs and protein within about an hour of finishing your run.
Is there anything else we should know about this race?
Find a buddy to run with and enjoy the experience. Remember, why you are doing it (hint: for charity and to challenge yourself!) and check in with your own personal goals along the way. Most importantly have fun!