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15 tips for training success

Man warms up at the Broadwater Parklands

Words: Pat Carroll

Three-time Australian Commonwealth Games representative Pat Carroll has won the Gold Coast Marathon a record four times and has held the Australian half marathon all-comers record since 1994. So, you could say, he knows a thing or two about running. Here are Pat’s top 15 training tips to help you reach the start line of the Gold Coast Marathon in top shape, ready for personal glory:

 1. Set a realistic goal

Lock in a goal that aligns with your fitness level and preparation time. Count backwards from your race date and work out an achievable outcome for race weekend.

2. Recruit your partner, friends and family to ‘Team You’

Make sure your loved ones are aware of your goals and training program. Having accountability partners will enhance your training and help you on those days when you’re scratching around for excuses. Plus, everyone loves a good support crew.

3. Leave your goal on the fridge

Remind yourself, your housemates, your family and your guests with a strategically placed Post-It note displaying your goal.  You won’t forget what you’re trying to achieve when there’s a daily visual reminder, plus your support crew will be regularly prompted to keep you honest.

4. Look good, feel good

Invest in some brand-name quality shoes and apparel that fit well, are comfortable and made of colours you enjoy wearing. Your training will progress if you’re in the right gear and you’re happy wearing it.

5. Employ the buddy system

Find a training partner of a similar ability who you enjoy running with. Motivate each other as you share the journey to the start line. No one springs to mind? Join a running group and you’ll have a regular running mate in no time.

Finding a running buddy is a great way to catch up with friends while training for your race at the Gold Coast Marathon

6. This time it’s personal

Utilise a personalised training program which is tailored to your age, fitness level and goal. Resist following a program designed for someone else, or a plan with a one-size-fits-all approach. You’ll be grateful for your specialised schedule when you’re standing on the start line in top shape.

7. Go to your happy place

Head to your favourite park, lake or beach and steer clear of less aesthetic locations. Running in an area you like will keep you motivated and enable you to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Don’t rule out driving or taking public transport to your starting point.

8. What’s the story? Morning glory!

Run in the morning. Start the day with a bang then enjoy post-training bliss for the rest of your waking hours. If you plan your training session for the afternoon or evening, there’s a higher risk of you skipping it, especially after a long and busy day.

9. Run like clockwork

Train at the same time on the same days, three to four times per week. By forming this habit early in your program, you’re more likely to reach your goal and less likely to miss a session.

10. Participation in precipitation

When you’re shopping for your running gear, pick up some wet weather attire so you don’t have to miss a run when it’s raining. Also, make sure you have some layers for cooler temperatures and you’ll be covered for all conditions.

Female pace runner running in Surfers Paradise

It’s recommended that you utilise a personalised program suited to your age, fitness level and goal while training for the Gold Coast Marathon

11. Don’t be a sore loser

When you’re sore or injured, replacing a run with a rest day or two is better than limping through a training session and risk being sidelined for weeks. Listen to your body and you’ll be thankful.

12. Power up with a power nap

Recharge your batteries at the end of your training week with a nana nap. Restore your energy levels as you reflect on the training week with some quality time on the couch.

13. H20 to go

Ensure you’re adequately hydrated before, during and after your run. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty before you reach for the drink bottle.

14. Eat and run

If your training program includes a weekly long run, experiment with your nutritional intake in the lead up, on the morning of, during and immediately after your session. This will help you when it comes to planning your race day diet.

15. Ooh you’re so tense

Treat yourself to a massage every two weeks. This will go a long way towards keeping niggles at bay, as well as force you to make some time to relax.

About Pat Carroll

Pat is a four-time winner of the Gold Coast Marathon (1983, 1984, 1988 & 1997) and an event ambassador. He is the Australian half marathon all-comers record holder (1:01:11) and three-time Commonwealth Games Australian marathon representative. The retired athlete resides in Brisbane where he operates his business Pat Carroll Online and Onland. Pat offers people of all ages and abilities specialised training programs across all distances.

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