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Marathonman's advice

Did you enrol for the ABSoluut Gent 10 Mijl? Be sure to arrive well prepared!

Luckily, many runners these days make sure they train well, be it to achieve an impressive finish time or to tackle the challenge to comfortably complete the 10 Miles on D-Day. The latter is just as important. A step-by-step preparation also reduces the chances of injury.

However, the impact of physical exercise still is underestimated, especially when a body is not used to regular work-outs. Take the 5 Miles for instance, a distance which normally takes less than one hour to finish. Anyone, even without much preparation, should be able to do this, not taking into account the speed factor. But when your body for years has not been used to that level of exercise, it requires time to adjust. That’s a step people tend to forget, with all possible consequences.

To the question of how to best start training for a 10-mile run, I would suggest to plan for 3 months if you already run 10 kilometres comfortably. If this is not the case or doing so still is hard for you, count on 6 months training.

Before you start training though, you best check your running shoes. Are they still ok? Are the soles worn? Do they still offer sufficient support and cushioning for more intense use? Do these checks. Be critical. When in doubt, visit a specialist running shoes shop, where they’ll screen your feet and establish your running pattern. That screening serves as the selection criterion for running shoes customised to your running pattern. Trust me, a good pair of running shoes is the best investment – if you have to choose: go for the shoes rather than an expensive outfit.

A rule of thumb is to first focus your training on distance, then on intensity. First you clock up more kilometres and longer runs, then you try and complete a certain distance in a faster time or run more kilometres in the same timeframe. Once you have a solid basis, you can build towards high-intensity tempo or interval training sessions, alternated with low-intensity endurance training. Endurance training is meant to train your body to use fat as a fuel, whereas interval training increases your carbohydrate metabolic capacities. A tip: during endurance training, do not cross the intensity beyond the point of not being able to have a chat whilst running. Hey, the proof is in the pudding, so why not ask a running buddy to join you?

Good luck!

Stefaan Engels,

Marathon Man