Whether you’e a seasoned strider or a running rookie, we can all benefit from a few tips from the pros, right? Cue Andrew ‘Pap’ Papadopoulos, an elite endurance athlete and owner of Battle Fit Australia, who is passionate about ‘fighting his limits’, which he truly has put to the test. Having undertaken several gruelling physical challenges including The North Face 100km Run and the 250KM Big Red Run in the Simpson Desert, he knows more than most what it’s really like to push through pain and exhaustion! So when it came getting the lowdown on long distance running, we thought who better to go to? Check out his 5 top tips for long distance running!
Whether you’ve started training well in advance or have left it to the last minute, the most important thing to remember is to train smart. A holistic approach will not only safeguard you from injury, but it will also ensure your training program maintains longevity, particularly for long distance running. If you’re training for a marathon, don’t run like a bull at a gate. You WILL burn out. Build up your kilometers, because truth be told, it’s not even necessary for you to run the full distance in training – depending on your experience and fitness level, start with a 30 or 60 minute run. Running for time, not distance at the start of a program will ensure that you’re not going too quickly.
MIX IT UP
Just because you’re training for a running event doesn’t mean that you should skimp on the weights! If you’re planning on running a long distance, you may want to consider working on not only increasing strength but muscular endurance, particularly focusing on running specific movements that will develop major muscle groups relevant to running. For example lunges, step-ups (both concentric & eccentric movement). Both front and back squats, box jumps, sled etc.
EAT FOR ENDURANCE
Nutrition is so important for someone running an endurance race. If you don’t have your nutrition and supplementation sorted, you may get dehydrated mid race, or find that you are having fluctuations in your energy levels and in some cases, you may get cramps or stitches. Make sure you consume the right types of foods including protein, wholegrain carbohydrates, fats and vegetables to assist recovery and provide energy. Your goal when running longer distances is to maintain constant energy levels throughout the event, so the types of food that you consume both on the day and in the lead up to the event are very important.
STICK TO YOUR OWN PACE
If you are running to complete, then it is important to remember to stick to your own pace as sprinting ahead to keep up with the leaders in the early stages may result in a quick depletion of energy and subsequently a blow out. There are a few ways to learn what your best pace is; track your heart rate throughout your training runs, you’ll learn what beats per minute you can sustain over ‘x’ amount of distance. Another way is to know your average pace for each kilometer and stick too it, sometimes our competitive drive or adrenaline can be our worst enemy.
ENLIST A FRIEND
If you are a first time runner, try getting a friend involved- it can be a great way to motivate yourself. You can set training dates, you can go pre- race shopping and you can get excited about the run together. Exercise is an awesome way to socialize amongst a positive and motivating environment.
Andrew ‘Pap’ Papadopoulos is an elite endurance athlete, the owner/ operator of Battle Fit Australia, the IsoWhey® Sports Ambassador and he was the star of search4hurt Season 2. Andrew’s passion to ‘fight his limits’ has led him to compete in physically grueling challenges including; The North Face 100km Run, GEO Quest 48hr Adventure Race and 24hr True Grit Obstacle Race.