The countdown for the Be More Race is in full swing. Already we are now down to 79 days, left. Have you started your preparations? The race is for the swift to win like that adage an early bird catches the worm. So if you haven’t taken to the tracks yet, now is the time.
Later on in this series, we are going to talk to the winners of last year’s race in order to obtain useful insights for you as you prepare. For now, we can start with the basics:
- Run, my brother run. Run, my sister run.
The best advice I ever got on anything was when I was preparing to hike Kilimanjaro was that practice is the best teacher. If you will hike, the best you can do is hike often. So it goes that if you are going to run a half marathon, the best you can do is run a couple of half marathons. That is 21.2 km of fun and grit in the administration capital, Lilongwe.
Give it a try as soon as possible, and then collect the data to analyse. Are you generally weak? Are you having problems breathing? Are you too heavy? Or perhaps too light? Though I doubt if that would be a problem, but then you never know. Are you too slow? This one will be important if you want to finish among the top 10 or top 50, whichever is comfortable to you.
- Watch for general fitness
Some skills are required for specific type of sports, but fortunately, some are generally generic across the board. One such skill is the ability to be in a state of general fitness. This means you can be able to run, walk, jump, swim, bend, stretch, twist without attracting any groans. Whatever your plans for the race may be, I would suggest you start working towards gaining this level of fitness. A visit to the gym at least twice a week, or a walk three times a week, or a run over the weekend, will push you towards this state.
It’s time to give up a bit of couch potato rights and start getting active. It doesn’t have to be excessive for now. Just a little bit every day will give you some decent results. After all, when you are generally fit, it is easier to avoid physical injuries.
- Visualise the challenge
Maybe this one should have been the first thing to do. Do you have an idea how long is 5 km, 10km or 21 km? Get on a familiar road and measure this distance. These days it is not difficult to achieve this. You can use a number of apps on iPhone or any Android phone. You can also use the odometer in your car. Drive the distance, then walk the distance. You can even run the distance later. Have a mental picture of the distance you will cover on the day of the race. That will help you build stamina against the challenge.
Gone are the days when it was a macho thing to walk for a month without taking a glass of water. You need to train yourself to take water regularly. Start doing that now, so that by the time to race comes, you’d have conditioned yourself to maintain healthy levels of hydration. You’ll need it.
So forget about studying the camel for now. On that day, you’ll be like the hippo. Not, the shape of course, but the love for water. You will have taken a lot of water the previous day, and on the day of the race, there will be more bottles waiting for you.
- Sleep, and sleep some more
How much do you sleep these days? To be a great athlete you must learn to rest the body. And sleep, in large quantities, achieves that better than any other method of resting. Start working towards sleeping normal hours so that by the date of the race, you would have trained your body to rest, relax and be in primal condition for a day of fun and endurance.
I wonder if sleep could be adopted as a hobby. I know most of us could use more sleep everyday.
- Take it easy
This will seem to contradict the first point. As much as it is important to jog often, it doesn’t have to be a daily activity. You will have to pace yourself. Listen to your body and give yourself frequent breaks. Maybe between the long runs, you could have days for sprinting very short distances. You might also push between the runs, a visit to the gym or a walk in the park.
The point is that don’t try to be gazelle, cheetah, and elephant all rolled into one within 79 days. Take it easy. Do the best you can, and avoid injury.
- Tell a friend
It’s great to win. It’s even greater to win among friends. Anyone who will participate will gain something because with Be More Race, everyone is a winner. Build a local team by inviting friends to join the race. And this is the best time to gel with your team members. Plan to do weekly runs together. The more the merrier.
Well, now that you have basic tools, it’s time for you to put them to use. Wishing you great preparations as we are all looking forward to that great race, which is among Malawi’s greatest races. Remember, it is 79 days to go.
See you soon!