Depending on your enthusiasm for the sport of running, the term fun run may seem very much like an oxymoron. Nevertheless, chances are you’ve signed up for one, perhaps in a bout of self-loathing after a particularly spectacular food blowout, as a way of trying to motivate yourself to improve your fitness, or thinking solely of the celebrations at the finish line. Whatever the reason, we’re here to help with five foolproof training tips designed to get you across the finish line (impressive finishing time not guaranteed).
1. Embrace carb-loading. Most fun runs are short, friendly little things but that doesn’t mean you need deprive yourself of the best part of any endurance training regime. 48 hours before you find yourself at the start line you should indulge in creamy pastas, cheesy risottos and delicious French toast. Sure, your pants might be tight but your energy stores will be full so go on, knock yourself out.
2. Taper like nobody’s business. The last week before the run you should lay off the training, even if your training has been mediocre at best. You’re far better off being mildly unfit than over-trained to the point of injury and you should make sure you tell your friends this when they question what may seem like an ill-timed Netflix binge. After all, not everyone can be as educated as you in the sport of fun running.
3. Trust your body. If your fun run is longer than your longest training run by a few kilometres, don’t stress. Your body was born to run and your ancestors have been doing it for millennia. Think of it like a fast walk and if you’re worried about slowing down at any point, imagine there’s a slice of pizza waiting for you around every bend. If that fails, think of the after party.
4. Say no to pacing. Everyone will tell you pace is an integral part of any successful distance event: go out too hard and you’re unlikely to finish, go out too slow and you’ll put yourself out of the running for a good time. But you know what? Sprinting past a couple of hundred fellow competitors in the first few minutes of the race feels utterly glorious, even if they do pass you a few minutes later while you struggle to walk up the first hill. Sprinting through the finish line brings a similar sense of glory, even if you find yourself finishing the race alongside grandpa and a collection of mums with prams. Think of that finish line photo of you, mid stride like a pro with the wind whistling through your hair.
5. Rely on the crowd. The good news about fun runs is that they are actually fun, or at least 10 times more enjoyable than your standard Saturday morning jog. You get to traverse streets that are usually full of traffic, you’re running alongside thousands of others and parts of the route are usually lined with morale-boosting spectators, most of whom love cheering anyone who acknowledges them as they go past. You’ll be surprised how much get-go a friendly yell can give you, even on an unfairly slanted hill. Handy hint: spectators love a costume so throw all sensibility to the wind and choose to run the race dressed as a giant cactus.