For many Wings for Life World Runners, the idea of covering 5k or 10k is a challenge, so when the top runners lay down 50km, 60km, nearly 80km -- distances many would think twice about driving in a day -- you have to wonder what they do to train.
Check out the 8 top tips from top runners, ambassadors and the Wings for Life World Run Catcher Car drivers to help every runner -- from beginner to pro.
1. Belgium Catcher Car driver Fremke Herygers, who does like a little run when she's not chasing thousands of others, loves running with an app on her phone to motivate her to get out there in the first place, and keep doing it time and again.
2. Frida Södermark ran in Kalmar, Sweden, and reckons stripping off a bit can really help matters.
“Run barefoot in the grass for ten minutes after the running session to improve your running style. Also do five minutes of core exercises every day.”
Here she is moments before removing her shoes and socks after becoming Sweden's winning female.
3. South African ultrarunner Ryan Sandes also stands by daily core training. He has an almost endless list of suggestions for anyone wanting to buff up their six-pack:
“… mountain climbers, side bridges with glute activation, rocking on all fours, rocking over your toes, get ups …”
Australia’s Emily Hames adds “Definitely pistol squats (single-leg squats) and squat jumps.”
4. Cristina Mitre, who covered 25.22km in Aranjuez-Madrid in Spain, also swears by building her core
“It is very important to build your strength. Twice a week, I do a HIIT (High Intensity interval training) programme.”
HIIT training is where you switch between very high-energy bouts and less-intense periods of exercise, so, maybe, 30 seconds of all-out sprinting, then 60 seconds of gentle jogging. There are all sorts of ways of doing HIIT that you can do alone, but it’s extremely popular in gyms and clubs as well.
Do some core work, and you, too, can feel like Spain’s winner Chema Martinez
5. Slovenia’s airman extraordinaire Matjaz Klemencic went 15.36km before the Catcher Car chased him down in Ljublijana. More used to gliding than running, he knows well how the majority of new runners feel – but he advises pushing through when you feel like giving up:
“When you’re new to running, you feel fatigue very quickly. Don't let it touch you too much, it'll be gone after a km or so.”
6. Chris Kouri from the Netherlands ran in the heat of Dubai and believes it’s all about stretching:
“Pilates, body strength exercises (available in many parks for free nowadays), bodylastics...”
Back in the day, we were told to stretch before warming up, but sports science proves the best time to stretch before a run is at the end of the last run. So Frederik Van Lierde of Belgium recommends “Stretching after a short warm up”
They really took a gentle bit of stretching seriously in Madrid in 2015.
7. Reinaldo Vergara took to the streets of Brasilia on May 3, 2015 and went 50.89km, so he clearly took his own advice
“I would advise runners to train across different terrains and in different conditions. In the Wings for Life World Run, you have to run fast and run far, so use short and quick steps when going up and wider and slower steps when going down. That also makes runners alternate between breathing and muscle strength along the way.”
8. Joke van de Velde, former Miss Belgium, covered 23.18km in Ieper and is among the many who love a bit of hot yoga – or bikram yoga – which allows the muscles to relax further than they do in normal circumstances: “I do hot yoga. It's great for stretching and prolonging muscles.”
Mix it up in training for May 8, 2016, and you, too, could be pushing past boundaries you never thought you'd go near. Register for the Wings for Life World Run 3 in a location near you or somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, or run your own track with the Selfie Run.