Running Advice and Red Bull Wings For Life Run

On Sunday, 7 May I am running alongside my colleagues and friends in the 'Wings For Life World Run' an incredibly innovative charity event sponsored by Red Bull (where I currently serve as Human Performance Coach to the Formula One Racing Team). The run is unique in the sense that every participant will finish the race. Why? Because there is no finish line! Oh, and there's also a car that chases all participants down to decide the winner.

I have to say, I'm excited because in previous years everyone has pushed themselves to the max and it's always great fun running alongside a couple of famous faces! The event is ideally aligned with my overall training philosophy: everyone comes to exercise from different starting points and it's about taking action and doing what is achievable for you.

I've been gearing up for this event for some time with my friends and co-workers and I thought I'd share a message I sent to Red Bull employees on Monday to prep them for race day.

If you're taking part good luck!

Here's the email I sent on Monday, enjoy and leave any questions in the comments below:

Wings For Life Run

It’s less than a week to go until race day and typically in the build up to a big event there is a huge amount of confusion over what to do or not to do. So before you head out for that one last big run, (again!) or load up on bowl after bowl of pasta, or simply wrap yourself in cotton wool and wait for Sunday to arrive, here are my top tips to get you through this week and really enjoy the race on Sunday…

Don’t Worry!

The biggest problem I see with so many runners, no matter how experienced they are is a fear of not finishing. The good news is this doesn’t apply with the wings for life event as there is no finish line and with it being such a positive charity event that so many of you from the factory have signed up to (125 and counting!) it’s an opportunity to just get out and enjoy a great event with so many great people. So put those fears aside and have fun.

Eat what works for you.

Please don’t start googling “pre run event meal suggestions” to try out new carb loading meals this week. We are all very different athletes and therefore what works for one may have a very bad effect on someone else. Loading up on very high carbohydrate based meals this week will give some of you a bit of a boost but may upset the stomachs of others! Just stick to whatever has worked for you in the past.

I would also recommend that rather than devouring a gigantic bowl of pasta the night before the race, which will probably sit very heavily on your and upset your digestion, try eating carbs in small increments throughout the day before the race.

With regards to your pre-race preparation, I would again advise that you don’t eat anything too heavy within two hours of the race. Have a good early morning breakfast and then my pre-race choice would be a smoothie containing fruit and yogurt as it gives a good balance of carbs and protein but not too much fibre.

Get ready the night before.

Make the whole day an enjoyable experience, don’t be stressing at the last minute. Make sure you lay out all of your race kit the night before and aim to get as close to eight hours of sleep as possible.

Don’t do anything new

The week of a race, or even race day itself isn’t the time to be trying out new trainers! Likewise with compression tights or any other fancy new training gear. No matter how cool you make look at the start line if you haven’t tried these things out in several previous runs, don’t try it on Sunday. Just stick to the routine that works for you.

Guarantee success

Remember this is a great charity event and therefore you want to make sure you have a positive experience. So I would advise that you set at least two goals for race day. Set one goal for a perfect race and another as a back-up, in case the weather has a big impact, you pick up an unexpected injury or it’s simply not your day.

Having spoken to a few of the guys that ran last year on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year, all of them fell short of their distance goal and as a result they left the event feeling a bit disappointed. If something makes your first goal impossible halfway through the race, you’ll need another goal to motivate you to finish strong.

Start slow, and stay even. 

One final piece of advice, I would strongly advise that if you’re relatively new to big race events then you should run the first 10 percent of the race a fraction slower than you normally would, with the idea that you’ll finish strong.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the event and pace yourself alongside other runners that head off a lot faster than your normal race pace. If you do this, you risk burning out early. Try to keep an even pace throughout the race, and save your extra energy for later on in the race.

I hope these little tips will allow you to relax, look after yourself this week and thoroughly enjoy yourself on Sunday.

I’ll follow up on Monday with some post-race tips to reduce any of those aches and pains and ensure you have a speedy recovery!