Al's Five Top Tips
Al Carter is our resident Sports Development Officer at Chailey Heritage Foundation (that's Al in the middle of the photo!) . He plays a crucial part in ensuring young people with complex disabilities can take part in physical activity, be that wheelchair football, table cricket or boccia. In his free time, he is an avid runner who knows a thing or two about hilly trail runs like the Focus 10k. Here is his advice for anyone new to a challenge like this.
The Focus 10k is a fantastic, varied and challenging course. Very different from your typical flat road 10k race, this course will keep you on your toes. The course is very undulating and the change in incline can sting if you’re not prepared. No one particularly likes running hills, but the benefits are undeniable, making you as a runner stronger both physically and mentally.
- Include at least one hill session into your weekly routine. If you have never run hills in a structured way, the best way to get started is to run lots of short ones, perhaps 10 or 12 times for 30 seconds up a gradient that is not too steep, jogging or walking back down in between.
- To effectively prepare for a hilly race situation don’t stop when you get to the top of the hill. Keep going! Run strongly off the brow of a hill during a training run for another 20 seconds or so. If you’re feeling especially keen even try a little sprint at the top of the hill, raising your anaerobic threshold.
- What goes up must come down, and the uphill running is just one challenge of the Focus 10k. You have to come down the hill too! When you run down a hill remember to relax, avoid jarring, and keep your legs moving quickly. Try not to land on your heels.
- Another vital piece of training advice is to include some trail/ off road running into your training. With the Focus 10k being completely off road the terrain can be unstable underfoot and strengthening your ankles and Achilles muscles by running on grass or footpaths will prepare you well. Include at least one off road run into your schedule leading up to the race.
- But mostly just enjoy the race! During the Cross Country season I love hitting the mud and hills to keep racing interesting, and the Focus 10k simulates a cross country course very well but (hopefully) in the summer sun! Best of both worlds!