WHAT started as a "con" is hoped to have a happy ending for one Launceston woman next week.
Megan Parsons is gearing up for her first Launceston Ten and will take on the five-kilometre challenge on Sunday.
The 23-year-old said she wasn't exactly planning to enter.
"I sort of got conned into it at work," Miss Parsons said.
"I think with my previous fitness I thought I could do it so it's a bit of a challenge for myself."
Miss Parsons said she was looking forward to seeing herself gain an improved fitness level and the skillset of long-distance running.
To help herself get there, she is running and walking daily and has made changes to her diet.
In the lead-up to the Launceston Ten, The Examiner, in its Monday edition, has been running an online training program with personal trainer Kate Pedley.
For more information or to register for the event, visit www.launcestonten.com.au.
Race day is now in sight and you will be feeling strong and enjoying the experience.
This is a unique race with unique conditions. It is set in the coldest state of Australia in winter, so you need to learn to train in the dark and perform in the cold.
Launceston athlete, Kate Pedley, knows all about training in our unique conditions. Kate has a long history of competition at all distances, from representing Australia in the 400m event a the World Junior Championships in Jamaica to running the Launceston 10 last year in under 35 minutes. Kate has partnered with us to bring you a 9 week training program, customized to Launceston conditions. Whether you just want to get to the finish line or run sub 45 minutes, these three programs will help you achieve your Launceston 10 goal.
Week Eight Top 10 Tips – Taper for Top Performance
You’re nearly there! The final two weeks are the most important in any distance training program. Here's everything you need to know and do leading up to race day.
Now is the time to taper. That means you run less and rest more. The primary aim of tapering is to minimize accumulated fatigue, rather than to attain additional fitness gains. In other words, it's time to chill.
For some people, the idea of backing off on their training just before the big race seems counterintuitive. You have done so well and are afraid of losing fitness if you don't train hard right up to race day. The truth is that you don't lose fitness in two weeks of tapering. Your aerobic capacity, the best gauge of fitness, doesn't change at all and it's the rest, more than the work, that makes you strong.
Research reveals a lot more than that. A review of 50 studies on tapering published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones--all depleted by high mileage--return to optimal ranges during a taper. The muscle damage that occurs during sustained training is also repaired. And if that isn't enough, immune function and muscle strength improve, as well, which reduces the odds you'll catch a cold or get injured just before the race.
So don't blow it after all those weeks of training. Your final mission is to ensure that your body is sufficiently fuelled, hydrated, refreshed, and recovered for the task ahead.
The following tips suggest how to manage the final leg of your training.
Last week should have been your highest-mileage week. This week, stick with the same basic running schedule you've been following, just decrease your total mileage from last week by about 20 percent. Your weekend long run should not be more than 10km. Any longer and your muscles may not be able to fully rebound before the race. Your pace should be the same pace - not faster - as the previous week's long run.
Almost all running this week should be at a relaxed pace (slower than goal race pace) unless your program includes a tempo run or effort session. Your shorter weekday runs shouldn't be much different than last week's, but shave down on harder midweek sessions. A small amount of goal-pace running is important because it physically and mentally reinforces the pace you want to run on race day. It's also fine to throw in a few 100-meter strides after one or two workouts just to help you stay smooth and loose.
3. Keep training simple
Avoid running extremely hilly routes or very strenuous speed workouts. This kind of training leads to muscle-tissue damage, which you need to minimize throughout your taper.
4. Stick with what you know
Don't try anything new. No new foods, drinks, or sports.
Your immune system could be literally "run-down". Rebuild your defences and possibly prevent a cold or flu by loading up nutritionally. Kiwi fruits, oranges, capsicums, broccoli, and strawberries are potent food sources. Stock up on lysine, an amino acid found mostly in meat and fish that will further help your immune functions.
6. Avoid the scales
Your mileage may be dwindling, but keep those kilojoules coming in as usual. Even though you're running less, your body needs to repair tissue damaged during your training build-up. This is no time to diet, so eat foods that are high in unsaturated fat, such as nuts or fish cooked in canola oil. However, do stick to the good oils (see week seven’s training tips) and steer away from foods that are high in saturated fat or trans fats, such as pizza and ice cream. A reasonable proportion of dietary fat is beneficial because it can be accessed as a backup energy source when stored carbs are used up. Fat reserves can therefore postpone or prevent a race-day collision with the notorious "wall."
7. Go over your race plan
Set multiple goals according to how you feel now, so you won't come away from the race empty-handed. Set three time goals - 'fantastic,' 'really good,' and 'I can live with that' finish times, separated by 5 to 15 minutes. Set general goals, such as not walking, finishing strong, or simply enjoying yourself. And…its’ Launceston! Conditions could be warm (unlikely), freezing, rainy, foggy or windy. Less-than-ideal conditions mean you have to adjust your time goals. Headwinds can slow your finish time considerably and cold by even more. Be prepared for all conditions with the right gear, so you will perform at your best.
8. Learn the course
Drive the course or run key sections to make it easier to visualize between now and race day.
9. Enjoy the feeling
Relax and enjoy knowing you have trained well.
Next week – tips for carb loading and final race day prep!
DISCLAIMER: Undertaking any of these programs is at your own risk. Should you have any health care related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified health care provider promptly. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program.
Program One - Week Eight. Get me to the finish line!
Notes: This is a walk run program, designed to see you finish the Launceston Ten injury free. Technology has conditioned us to expect results now. Your body doesn't work that way. Don't try to do more, even if you feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the program too strenuous, just stretch it out. Don't feel pressured to continue faster than you're able. Repeat weeks if needed and move ahead only when you feel you're ready. Always run easy at a pace comfortable enough for you to chat to your running partner.
Monday: 5 min walk. Dynamic stretching (see training tips below). 5 x 3 minute efforts with 90 seconds recovery. Finish with 5 minutes walking cool down. Stretch.
Tuesday: Cross Training 45 - 60 mins (see cross training notes below).
Wednesday: 5 min walk. Dynamic stretching (see training tips below). 40 minutes run. Finish with 5 minutes walking cool down. Stretch.
Thursday: Rest Day (training notes below).
Friday: 5 min walk. Dynamic stretching (see training tips below). 5 x 3 minute efforts with 90 seconds recovery. Finish with 5 minutes walking cool down. Stretch.
Saturday: 5 min walk. Dynamic stretching (see training tips below). 35 minutes run. Finish with 5 minutes walking cool down. Stretch.
Sunday: Rest Day (Grab a relaxing massage or a soak in a tub with bath salts)
Program 2 - Week Eight. Break The Hour!
Notes: To break the hour you will need to be running 6 minute kilometres by the end of the nine weeks. Be sure to achieve this pace slowly in order to finish the Launceston Ten injury free. Technology has conditioned us to expect results now. Your body doesn't work that way. Don't try to do more, even if you feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the program too strenuous, just stretch it out. Don't feel pressured to continue faster than you're able. Repeat weeks if needed and move ahead only when you feel you're ready. Always run easy at a pace comfortable enough for you to chat to your running partner. Your effort sessions should now be beginning to challenge you.
Monday: 10 min walk/ jog warm up. Dynamic stretching (see training tips below). 40 – 50 min run at a consistent comfortable pace. Finish with 5 mins walking cool down. Stretch.
Tuesday: Cross Training 45 - 60 mins. (see training tips below)
Wednesday: 10 min walk/ jog warm up. Dynamic stretching (see training tips below). 40 – 50 min run at a consistent comfortable pace. Finish with 5 mins walking cool down. Stretch.
Thursday: Cross training 45 - 60 mins
Friday: Rest day (see training tips below)
Saturday: 15 min warm up, hill session (8x45 seconds minute). 15 min cool down and stretch. Finish with 5 mins walking cool down. Stretch.
Sunday: Rest Day (Grab a relaxing massage or a soak in a tub with bath salts)
Program 3 – Week Eight. Go for it! (break 45 mins)
Notes: This program is only suitable for experienced runners who already have a sound level of running fitness. To begin, you will need to be able to run sub 4minute kms. Weights are an excellent cross training choice. Recovery means stop and walk to allow your heart and muscles to recover before the next effort.
Monday: 15 min warm up. 12x1 minute effort 80% with 1 min recovery. Cool down and stretch
Tuesday: 6 km warm-up. Strength training. Cool down and stretch
Wednesday: 15 min warm up, hill session (8x45 seconds). 15 min cool down and stretch.
Thursday: Cross Training
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 20 min warm up, 30 min tempo run, cool down and stretch
Sunday: 9 km run at easy pace
Program training tips. Not matter which program you are following, always apply these training tips:
Cross training refers to other wonderful exercises that become an important part of your program. This includes swimming, bike-riding, hiking, Pilates, Yoga, walking the dog. The beauty of cross training is that it helps increasing your fitness level while giving your running-muscles a break.
Always Warm up and cool down
As our days become cooler, it is vital to warm up and cool down. Warming up is an excellent way to send your body a clear message that you’re about to become physically active. This way, your heart and legs could adjust properly. To warn up, start with a brisk walk followed by easy running for couple of minutes or so. Then enjoy a few gentle stretches (never stretch cold muscles) and begin your program.
When you finish your running, take a few of minutes to cool down by running very slowly and walking in the last minutes of your workout. Finish with a stretch.
Maintaining warm-ups and cool downs greatly helps in reducing muscle pains which, in turn, improves your overall recovery process.
Many runners keep seeing the same running injuries popping up, and they are usually avoidable. Excess tightness in certain running muscles, the glutes especially, leads to the body to move in inefficient patterns, and injuries can often happen as a result of this compensation. Find dynamic stretches for each that you love for your hamstrings, quads, claves, glutes and back. Never stretch or hold to the point of pain. Stretches should make your muscles are loose and your body able to function the way it was meant to when you run.
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate!
An easy trap to fall into in cool conditions is to forget to hydrate. Even in cold weather we use water to sweat, lubricate joints, tendons, and ligaments, and to carry blood efficiently to major organs. Dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which lowers your body's ability to transfer heat and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for your body to meet aerobic demands. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Drink early and often--every day.
Take your rest days seriously
If you don't take time for proper R&R, your body won't adapt to the stress of your training—you won't get stronger or faster. Neglect recovery, and you will start to lose strength and speed. It is so easy to get carried away with the wonderful feeling of your new fitness – but if you don’t rest you will sink into the awful black hole known as overtraining.