“Every journey starts with a single step, and every great fun run starts with a single training session.”
My name is Luke Heath, and I’m a running and fitness coach for beginner to advanced athletes. I’m also a mentor to some of Australia’s elite distance runners such as Josh Harris (2017 London World Championships Marathon runner).
In the blog below, I’m going to map out every step of the way to crossing the finish line at this year’s Bridge to Brisbane Day. I will show you the best single training sessions to make that start, help you set realistic, awesome and achievable goals, show you the huge benefits of morning training sessions, and set some sessions so you can share the whole journey with your friends and family to make it the best fun run you’ve ever done!
Where should I start my training?
That’s a great question, and one that is very often asked by the athletes I work with. My typical response is, “Tell me what kind of sessions you most enjoy doing?” Whatever your answer is, start with this. A session that you are comfortable with and enjoy is the first small step towards your big Bridge to Brisbane Day goal!
If you’re a runner and have a favourite ‘go-to’ route around the city, on the trails, or even a set of stairs or hills to get the legs going, start here. If you’re a cyclist, swimmer or ball sport player, a run will provide a great cross-training fitness effect if this isn’t your usual training session, and it will also improve your fitness for your sport. If you’re a ’gym junkie,’ start with a legs and core strength session specifically for runners, then progress into some lighter runs early to make a start. If you love yoga, start with a stretching session the day before your first run to keep your body in check and injury-free.
For some people, purchasing that new pair of shoes and training gear is enough to inspire the first sessions, and Brooks will certainly help you out for this year’s Bridge to Brisbane Day training.
My point is, there is no wrong start! Just make that start today, and as you progress through your running journey, start pointing everything you do towards your goals.
Ok, so I’ve made the decision to start training…what should my goals be?
Let me walk you through three key considerations to help you set the most realistic, awesome and achievable goals for yourself and make this year’s run super fun.
1. Choose your course.
Do you want to experience running down the middle of the main road without cars or distractions, across three of Brisbane’s most iconic bridges in the most scenic 10km fun run you’ll ever compete in? Or would you prefer a faster, shorter dash across the Story Bridge, including a race to the finish line in South Bank for one of the fastest 5km races you’ll ever run? Make your selection…and once you’ve chosen your race day distance, move on to the next step of your goal setting.
2. When’s the race day?
Race day is Sunday 27th August, 2017, so you have around 10 weeks of training to complete. This is the perfect time frame for you to achieve some big goals. Maybe you competed in the 5km dash last year and would like to take on the endurance challenge of competing a more scenic and iconic 10km run this year. Maybe last year was your first fun run and you’d like to beat last year’s time on either course? Ten weeks gives you enough time to get into a good training program, enabling you to complete a couple of four-week training blocks, where you focus on increasing your fitness. I’d even suggest going to a few Parkrun sessions for ‘competition practice’ on the easy week between training blocks. This will help you gauge how your training is progressing.
Are you reading this article with only one month to go before race day? That is a-okay – nothing is too little too late! Sure, maybe you won’t achieve the big race time goals you originally had in mind, but four weeks of running training will definitely get the kilometers into your legs, helping you to build your fitness, strength and endurance. Keeping your training consistent in the lead-up to race day will help you to make the distance and have a fun, enjoyable running experience, while taking in the iconic scenery.
What is a realistic pace and time for me?
My handy ‘Pace Guide’ table below is one that I use for all my athletes, from beginners to those who are more advanced. This helps them to guide their training and race day times with realistic, awesome and achievable goals.
*Note: this a general male/female pace guide. On the race day, you will have marked ‘pace setters’ running to help you stay on track.
When is the best time to train?
I’m a big believer in morning training sessions! I know what you’re thinking… “But I’m not a morning person Luke!” Yes, I understand there are a lot people who are not morning people, but let me reassure you, a few morning training sessions each week will change your whole day, week and life. You may not start your run at a cracking pace, but once you’ve finished your warm up, you’ll be awake and cranking it through your session.
One of the big wins of morning training sessions is that they leave you with your metabolism firing for the rest of the day… great for fat burning! An AM session will leave you feeling revitalised, full of energy and ready for whatever life throws at you during the day. By completing a few morning sessions across the week, you’re achieving your fitness goals early in the day, combating the ever-looming procrastination of afternoon sessions.
I’m also a big believer in practicing for your race day conditions. I do this with all my athletes, whether they’re training for a fun run or world competition.
Bridge to Brisbane Day starts at 6am for the 10km race and 9:20am for the 5km race, so morning training sessions will help you get used to the temperature and conditions to achieve your race day goals. So come on! Get up and into it…what have you got to lose? And let’s be honest, our river city is pretty spectacular…does Brisbane ever really have a bad morning to wake up and work out to?
Who should I train with?
Training with a friend comes with huge benefits; physically, socially and mentally. Running is technically an individual sport, but everyone loves to train with a friend and share these experiences together. The training benefits go far beyond just the social aspects. If you and your friend run at about the same pace, then that’s perfect – you can push each other, and motivate each other towards achieving your training goals with a little friendly competition every session.
The warm up and cool down chats can become very therapeutic, even if you find yourself training with friends way out of your pace league. From my experience, these ‘training chats’ with others may not have fixed any world problems, but the chat, laughter and general conversation about the small things in life really do make a world of difference to your day!
These benefits go far beyond the training too. The experiences you share with a friend on race day, even if you’re not racing together, will give you memories for a lifetime with Bridge to Brisbane Day becoming an experience that you can chat about for weeks or even years, to come.
So, go on, pull your friends together for this life-changing experience! Remember, you can run with a pram on race day so the whole family can join in the fun. Registrations are open now at: http://bridgetobrisbaneday.com.au/, so get your runners on!
Luke Heath, running and fitness coach with over 30 years experience in athletics. Founder and creator of Luke Heath Fitness, motivating and inspiring you to become healthier, fitter and leaner, through his efficient and effective workout programs and meal plans. Check out his 10 weeks to Fun Run programs and read all about Luke over at www.lukeheathfitness.com.au