By Wanita Nicol
It’s totally doable – promise!
Want to run like the wind and crush your time? These surprising tips will help you score that PB you’ve been training so hard for.
1. Splash out on socks
You know all about shoes, but did you know the socks you wear them with can make a huge difference? Look for specialised running socks made of synthetic fabric that’ll wick away moisture. You want a snug fit, but it shouldn’t feel cramped. And don’t worry too much about padding – you’ll get that from your shoes. To avoid your shoe eating your sock, check that the arch isn’t too far forward, and minimise chafing by going seamless. As for length, whatever feels best. Just be sure to test them out before race day!
2. Learn to tie your shoelaces
According to Australian mathematician Burkard Polster, there are literally millions of ways to tie a shoe with seven eyelets. So why stick to the one you learnt as a kid? For high arches, lace the traditional way through the first three or four pairs of eyelets, starting at the toes. Then, instead of crossing over, lace through the next pair on the same side. Crisscross the rest of the way and tie normally at the top. Tightness around the toes? Use two laces: start one lace two eyelets from the toes, lace it up firmly toward your ankle, and tie a bow. Then start a shorter one in those second-to-last eyelets and lace gently right to your toes. Tie and you’re done.
3. Don’t feel like you need to run the whole way
Caroline Wöstmann, winner of both the Old Mutual Two Oceans and Comrades ultra-marathons last year, was criticised by some for walking part of the way (haters gonna hate!). But her coach, Lindsey Parry, says it was strategic: he told her to run the race like she ran in practice – even if that meant walking a bit. Turned out to be a winner.
4. Warm up your arms
A lot of people neglect their arms and shoulders, but you need to swing them to give you power, says pro-runner Mapaseka Makhanya. Loosen up your shoulders with arm circles and stretch your chest and triceps. Try this full-body warm-up routine.
5. Jog to the jams in your head
Earphones are a no-no on race day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your favourite tune for motivation. Choose a running song with a BPM that fits your pace and when you feel ready to give up and sit on the pavement, make it the mantra that carries you through.