The game run is not only great for the soul, but it’s also beneficial to your health. You’ve probably heard it said that running exercise is medicine.
What is a fun run?
As the name suggests, fun run are designed for pleasure, but substantial fitness benefits are hot on its heels. Whether you need an excuse to spend the day with your girlfriends, want to test yourself, or fancy combining the two, fun runs are a great way to get active this summer.
By meaning, the fun run is a friendly race, usually geared towards raising money and awareness for a cause. But the philanthropic component is where the comparisons end, with each run claiming its own features and benefits.
Melbourne’s iconic heat run, the Sussan Women’s Fun Run, for instance, is exclusively a women’s race, which means the Alpha male strain of good fervour – elbow in the ribs, anyone? – is replaced by a sense of camaraderie.
“The camaraderie between women is different to other joy runs,” says Sussan Women’s Fun Run director David Hansen, attributing the nation in part to a span of ages and fitness levels, with entrants aged eight to 80.
Speed and Distance
The game run need entrants to nominate their preferred distance and level of proficiency or whether they wish to run or walk.
“Every person has a special logic for doing running” Hansen says. “About five to 10 per cent of the field are serious runners, but the rest are doing it for enjoyment.”
A choice of 5km and 10km courses, and options to run or walk, build the 26-year-old Sussan event ideal for beginners. Other fun runs have their own categories, but all cater to registrants with different aims and proficiencies.
“About 5 to 10 per cent of the field are serious runners, the rest are doing it for enjoyment.”
Get the game run ready
In spite of your chosen event, the real fitness benefits of fun runs may come from the commitment and training. Setting a specific goal, with a definite timeline, is a proven method of keeping motivation up and propelling you to push yourself.
While it’s not about winning or losing – many fun runs publish a list of members, regardless of placing – it is important to be prepared. Training for the race will not only enhance your operation, but minimise the risk of injury.
Seasoned fun run participant Angelina Cetin says her key to success is well-rounded health, with preparation comprising different fitness activities – not just pounding the pavement.
“Mix up indoor and outdoor running,” Cetin says, suggesting cracking running into indoor and al fresco streams, on the treadmill and footpath or road. To growth your fitness and build core muscles, Cetin also says running on different surfaces including sand, and stair mounting, work wonders (with the added bonus of mixing up the cardio).
“You need to make sure that you have a consistent weights plan as well to build lean muscle and stronger bone density,” says Cetin, who trains with a PT. “You need to be presenting out all parts of your body to condition your body completely for the run.”
Fuel for feet
A strong and well-balanced diet is essential to prepare your body, and to provide sustained energy over the event.
To prevent cramps and bloating, don’t overeat before the game run, but don’t skip breakfast, either. A light meal 60 to 90 minutes earlier the race is vital. Try something high in energy and easy to digest. Carbohydrates fuel exercise and are perfect for providing long-lasting energy.
Also ensure you drink plenty of water before, during and after the event. There are rest points and water places located throughout the game run, but it’s a good idea to carry your own bottle as well. If you can’t do water, fill it with your favourite sports drink.
Fun runs are a large way to get fit, achieve a goal and increase money for charity. Physical assistances can include toning up, losing weight and ultimately increasing your strength level. But as well as physical benefits, there are serious mental merits – you’ve heard of ‘racers’ high’, right? In 2008, the journal Cerebral Cortex reported that running elicits a flood of endorphins to the mind (enter ‘runners’ high’).
Fun runs are also a great way to develop confidence. Being involved in the game race is an success within itself and finishing the race is a bonus – the sense of achievement will offer your self-belief a kickstart.
It has also been proven that the game run helps to reduce stress and diminish despair, with outdoor activity earning extra mental health points.
Furthermore, fun runs encourage focus. Being part of a mission that requires you to achieve a goal is the ultimate way to zone in, as the race requires preparation and commitment. Your focus earlier and during the competition is what will get you past the finish line. And your focus on the race will also help you to eschew bad thoughts.
On the day
On event day, remember to stay calm and relaxed – it’s supposed to be enjoyable. To avoid unnecessary stress before the starting gun, arrive at the race site early. This is usually when you’ll choice up your race kit, if you haven’t picked it up before the big day.
When it comes to the race itself, diverse run categories will have different start times, so make sure you confirm yours in advance.
And in the name of warding off injuries, and improving your performance (not to mention the fun factor), don’t forget to do a soft warm-up before the race and warm down properly after the race. Even if you are on a runners’high.
Cetin’s fun run-ready running presentation
- Running on treadmill increasing speed by half every two minutes. Repeat for 16 minutes.
- Jump off treadmill for one-minute break.
- Running on treadmill (at your previous high speed), decreasing speed by half each two minutes. Repeat for 16 minutes.
- 10km run on treadmill, increasing speed gradually.
- 10km run on treadmill. Do 2km at an simple pace. Then 30 seconds of running, and jump off treadmill for a 30-second rest. Jump on for another 30 seconds, then jump off for 30-second rest. Repeat the run-rest cycle while increasing speed by half each minute. Run at a fast, comfortable pace for the rest of the run without a 30-second rest.
- Outdoor run 5km – 10km.
Each workout should be followed by a warm down: Five minute gentle walking and stretches. Also incorporate a weights program.
Remember weights plans alter from person to person so be sure to get a professional to prepare a personal weights performance just for you. Don’t forget to give yourself a couple of rest days!
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