Hello January! January is my favourite month of the year. It is a completely new chapter, a white sheet awaiting text, a beginning. But as I'm preparing to run the Cambridge Half Marathon, it's also a challenging, intensive and hard moment, full of dreams, ambitions and promises.
This is how I am working toward two of my 365 goals of the year: finding the right fuel and flow to smash the Cambridge Half Marathon 2019 - CHM19.
1. Finding my fuel
First of all, picking up where we left off, mind and body needs to be perfectly connected to be harmonised and work together. Even more after the chaos of the holidays and the Christmas’ indulgences and temptations. The formula to get back on track after the winter break and to start tackling the Half Marathon nutrition and fuelling plan, is easier than it seems.
- Stick to healthy lifestyle and balanced nutritional plan
In order to get back into my usual, well-balanced and healthy routine, I make sure that each meal is various and filled with essential nutrients. This includes a lot of water and a mix of carbohydrates, high-quality protein, vegetables and fruits and also healthy fats. Eating regularly, often and in small portions allows me to avoid hunger, maximise training and provide my body enough fuel for training.
Yes, food is fuel, but we are not built on an assembly line. As the CHM19 is fast approaching, I also start tracking and recording my food intake and exercise. This helps me meet my goals but most importantly to find what types of foods, timing and portion works best for me.
- Pre-post workout nutrition
As food is the key to unlocking both energy and recovery, my running nutrition is broken down into two major chunks, pre-run nutrition and post-workout nutrition. Running on an empty stomach is not for me. My ideal pre-run snack contain a combo of nuts and dried fruit. This easily digestible and high energy snack is my key to tackling every workout, no matter how far or intense the run.
With that said, I also make sure to provide my body with the building blocks needed for the recovery process. This usually involves a snack within 15-30 minutes of finishing the exercise and a proper meal within two hours.
As you know, one of my golden rules is ‘treating yourself’. Eating correctly during the whole week, allowed me to treat myself once a week with a well-deserved chocolatey treat.
2. Finding my flow
As you know, music helps me to run to a place where I cannot be reached by anyone. It’s my motivational tool, my good company and my pace setter. This is how I can make sure to pick the perfect soundtrack for my training purpose and for my long journey, the CHM19.
- Picking tunes that match my tempo
By picking tunes that match the tempo I am running at, I naturally synchronise my movements with music, sliding into an easy rhythm without having to think about it. Beat-matched playlists are my key to find music at specific tempos.
I generally use songs around 90 beats per minutes. These allow me to hit the ground at the same time of each beat, making it the perfect tempo.
- Picking tunes that match my pace
Essential is picking the right song for the right workout depending on your own pace. I usually use online calculators to discover tracks that match my running pace or the pace I want to reach.
When putting my running playlist together, I also try to synchronise the tracks to the length of my workout. Usually, at the beginning of my workout I pick song that means something to me, a song that makes me feel good and motivated. While, the end of my playlist is full of songs that help me keep going, such as minimal and deep house tracks.
- Picking tunes that makes me feel good
This is where music can make a massive difference. The right music, at the right time of your workout can drastically boost performance. That’s why it is essential that every playlist we create has our personal touch and includes our favourite tracks and the tunes that make us feeling extraordinary and invincible!
It is also a good idea to occasionally prepare for race day where you are not allowed to wear headphones, do this by throwing in runs without music to your training plan. I would suggest when you are feeling particularly motivated and energetic.
To conclude, January’s Golden Rule: Experiment to find what works best for you.