The more experienced runners will know when I talk about ‘the wall’, a point in the race where you’ll be running, and it becomes extremely difficult to maintain the pace that you’ll try to maintain throughout the race. You’ll often experience cramps, muscle fatigue, and a general slowing down in pace from your running. This is due to a lack of glycogen in your body from the effort that you’ve exerted thus far. This can be frustrating for runners as it will affect your finish times, and make the last part of your race, less enjoyable that you’d like.
Hitting the wall often happens in longer races and runs but can also happen with a new or amateur runner as they may not be fully prepared for this distance as of yet.
Here are a few things that you can do during your training, and on the day, to ensure you don’t hit the wall. And if you do, you’ll be fully prepared for it.
- If you have music, try listening to an upbeat track which will change the tempo of your run, and will leave you feeling unstoppable. I’d recommend
- Carboload before a big event to stifle the lack of muscle-glycogen. A mixture of eating a diet filled with carbohydrates, and taking a break from exercise a week before the event will boost your performance as you’ll have a nice amount of carbohydrates and glycogen to call on.
- Keep your mind guessing – switch up your workouts and exercise to ensure your workouts don’t get stale. The worst thing you want is your body to become used to your workouts. Mixing it up will keep challenging your body to change and improve, so that it’s ready for anything.
- Scale back the pace – running to beat your PB doesn’t always mean you need to be working at 100% constantly, if you experience the wall, slow down your pace slightly and see if a few minutes off allows you to push on.
- Ensure you eat after every bit of exercise. Re-filling your depleted energy stores is crucial for muscle repair, development and whilst you’re training, doing this will prepare you for hitting, and breaking the wall.
- Run on similar terrains to your race – even the subtlest change in terrain can affect your performance, if you’ve ever run on sand after usually running on grass; you’ll know what I mean. Different terrain will exercise different muscles, especially if it is cross-terrain, or changes in elevation. Preparing your body for the terrain that you’ll be racing on, will ensure the correct muscles are used, and trained beforehand.
- Mix up the pace – Similar to the ‘keep your mind guessing’ advice, mix up the pace of training with speeds. Even though you’ll want to set a similar pace for runs such as the 10k. Running at different paces in your training will prepare your body in a number of ways. Training at faster speeds will better prepare you for a slower pace, it will improve your heart and cardiovascular performance as it is more prepared for a variety of exercises.
If you’re a more experienced runner, do you have any advice for the new runners in the Admiral Swansea Bay 10k?
From your friendly neighbourhood runner
This post is also available in: Welsh