Thinking of supporting the Crisis Centre and signing up for the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, but worried about how to start training or what to do on the big day? Personal trainer, former competitive runner, and Crisis Centre volunteer, Ian McWalter has some tips to get you ready and excited for the big day:
Have fun – it can’t be stressed enough. One way to ensure that during the race you have more fun and less pain, whether you’re doing the 5K or the half-marathon, is to train consistently. “Race day will be an accumulation of your training, that extra 10 minutes or hour you put in now will make a world of difference on the day.” Another is to make sure you are well organized for the day by laying out all your gear the night before, knowing the route to take to the start line, and getting a good rest the entire week before. This can help you avoid getting your heart rate up from stress before the starting bell even goes!
Extra tip: If you’re afraid of missing out on social events because of training try joining a running club like Sarah, last year.
When you begin training you should try to increase your distances progressively over time until the day of the race. If you are planning on doing the half-marathon try to increase the distance of your runs by about 10% every week. Some weeks will feel easier than others, but again, remain consistent. You can try intervals to increase your fitness level and speed by doing a half kilometre every second kilometre at a faster pace. If you’re signed up for the 5K you can find lots of apps such as “Couch to 5K” that will help get you started. These can help guide you through intervals of walking and running until you can run the entire 5K!
You also want to vary your routes so that you can practice running different terrains, such as hills. This will prepare you for the various terrains you may experience on race day. If you can, it’s also great to run through the route or parts of it so you know what to expect on the big day.
Now that you’ve done your training and the race is approaching it’s time to make sure all that hard work doesn’t go to waste because of a pesky blister or an upset stomach. To avoid any surprises on the big day make sure you don’t try anything new the day of the race.
“People always think ‘great I’ve got these new shoes’ and wear them for the first time the day of the race, or try gels for the first time, but then they get blisters and are uncomfortable the entire time.”
It’s important that if you’re going to try any new gear to do some test runs. The same goes for food. Make sure you stick to your regular breakfast that you’ve been training with to avoid making a mad dash for the loo instead of the finish line! If you’re running the half-marathon you may want to consider something more carb-heavy, such as fruits, cereals, toast or even pancakes (but don’t have too many)!
Stretch, stretch, and stretch some more. A good stretch post-run can limit injuries and aching muscles so take a few minutes once you’ve crossed that finish line to thank your muscles with a cool down, then you can continue to celebrate your achievement and the fact that you supported a great cause!
Have some more fun and be mindful of why you’re doing this. While you’re running, “it’s going to hurt”, as Ian puts it bluntly, but just take a minute to think of why you’re running, how hard you trained, and take a look at all the people supporting you who are right there with you in this endeavour. All that hard work will be worth it when you cross the finish line!
“You’re supporting one of the best organizations that serve the local community. As a volunteer [on the Distress Line] for the past five years I’ve personally seen how many people the Crisis Centre has helped.”
Sign up here to get involved.