Training for Sparky’s Challenge Run

Want to prepare to run in Sparky’s Challenge Run or have another race you’d like to join? Not sure where to start or looking for some pointers to improve your running game? Here are some tips to help you train so you can perform at your best!

  • Invest in some quality running shoes

Wearing running shoes that support your arches is important to keep your feet healthy and happy as you train. Make sure that they are comfortable, too. To get the best shoes for you, go to a shop that specialises in running shoes, such as Road Runner Sports in Tempe Marketplace.

  • Think sustainability

If you don’t have the running habit already, it is best to do a combination of running and walking at first during your training sessions. Using this technique, you can increase your stamina till you’re at a point where you can run for longer and longer. If you’re just starting your training, you can run for 10 seconds every minute and then walk for the rest and continue this switch every minute for the entirety of your daily training session. As you progress, you can do 30 seconds for running and walking per minute, or move on to running 2 minutes straight followed by 2 minutes of walking. The more you train, the more running you’ll be able to do and the less walking you’ll need to do. 

Listen to your body to know how far to push yourself. If you’re a beginner, it is likely that you don’t know how to tell what pace you should be doing. This can result in pushing too hard, which can lead to injury and burn out. A comfortable pace is one you can sustain. Don’t worry about speed, as that will come with more experience. It is better to go a little slower and be able to complete your goals than go so fast that you injure or exhaust yourself. Your body will let you know what a comfortable pace is, so just listen to your breathing. If you can talk and aren’t gasping for air, then you are at a good sustainable pace.

  • Practice good form

Be sure to keep best practices in mind from the beginning of a training session to the end. This means beginning with a dynamic warm up, practicing good form while running, and finishing out with a healthy post run routine.

What goes into a good warm up? The answer is dynamic stretching that gets the blood pumping. What are dynamic stretches? They are stretches like butt kicks, walking lunges and high knees. They’ll stretch your muscles and help get you warmed up. By including these, it will help prevent running injuries and increase your flexibility. Try walking briskly for at least 5 minutes after the dynamic stretches, then increase your pace to a jog or run.

Next to consider is your form while you are jogging or running. When you’re running, are you running with a straight posture or are you leaning forwards? Leaning could put strain on your joints over time, so do your best to keep a straight posture. Another running form tip is to keep your eyes on the horizon instead of on your shoes—this, too, will give you good posture and will help boost your running game. 

After you’re done running, the cool down is just as important as the warm up to prevent injuries and increase flexibility. Your cool down should include static stretches of the leg’s major muscle groups. This includes the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, hip flexors and back. Because of your run, your muscles will be very warm, so ease yourself slowly into each stretch so as to not over extend your muscles and cause injury. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on what feels good.

Want to join a race with your fellow Sun Devils? Register now for Sparky’s Challenge to run/walk in a 10k, 5k or 1 mile race!