Q I’ll finish faster if I skip walk breaks. Fact or fiction?
A Fiction: Walking gives your muscles, joints, and lungs a break. The energy you save will help you pass others – and avoid being passed – in the second half. You’ll go faster if you use the right walk-break strategy during training and in your race.
Q Joining a pace group – worth it?
A As long as you have trained adequately for a given goal, pace groups that target a specific time goal – for instance, 2:30 in the half-marathon – offer the support of other runners, with the leadership of an experienced pacer to keep you on track. But proceed with caution. Better to go with a group slightly slower than your goal and finish feeling strong than to try to hang on with a group that starts too fast.
Q Should I have a fuelling plan?
A Yes. While training, figure out which foods and drinks give you a boost without upsetting your stomach, and fuel the same way on race day. Runners going longer than an hour must eat mid-run, so try different energy chews, gels and sports drinks to determine what works best for you. If you’re running a 10K or further, eat a recovery meal within 20 minutes of finishing. It should have a carbs-to-protein ratio of 2:1 to kickstart muscle repair and restock spent glycogen stores.