Willow blog

Top Tips for your next challenge

April 16, 2018

Each year we invite a number of our challenge participants to Arsenal’s training ground for our annual Top Tips session. Here they receive plenty of advice and tips ahead of their forthcoming races and challenges from Willow ambassador Gary Lewin, who spent 22 years at Arsenal as head physio.

Whether you’re about to embark on a race soon or have signed up for one later this year – such as the Willow 10K in October – here are some key points to consider:

1) Listen to your body. If you get any aches and pains, don’t ignore it. Do something about it now! The number one reason for not making it to the start line is because you’ve not listened to your body.

2) The biggest things that affect you on the day are dehydration or manutrition. Test energy bars / drinks and snacks to see what’s right for you whilst you train. Don’t leave it until the day.

3) Sip sip sip water. Keep sipping! Continually drink and practice drinking whilst running / cycling. It’s a skill you need to perfect before your event.

4) Moisture is the enemy. Moisture is what causes blisters. Give a spare pair of socks to a member of your family half way around the course so you can have fresh socks and reduce the chance of moisture.

5) Test your kit well before the event. It’s not a wedding – you don’t need a brand new outfit. New clothes can rub and cause discomfort. Have two pairs of trainers and alternate when training. That way, if one pair gets damaged or split, you have a spare pair already broken in.

6) Find out your average pace now and stick to it on the day. It’s easy to get caught up in the euphoria and excitement of an event, but if you peak too soon you’ll struggle and hit a wall. It’s better to stick to your average pace and if you feel good towards the end, then quicken your pace when you know you can sustain it until the end.

7) What’s the best dinner before a race? Plain pasta with olive oil and parmesan cheese. Don’t eat too late either – you need time to digest it.

8) What’s the best breakfast before a race? Cereal, toast, porridge – but not fried food. Also take snacks with you to eat during waiting time before the race.

For more details on the different challenges you can take part in with Willow in 2019, please click here.