Training Tips from Andrew Lloyd

Andrew Lloyd, Commonwealth Games Gold Medal athlete and winner of the first SMH Half Marathon

Andrew Lloyd, Commonwealth Games Gold Medal athlete and winner of the first SMH Half Marathon

Andrew Lloyd is one of those quintessential Aussie underdog stories, with his most memorable athletic performance being the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games where he came from behind on the last lap to take the 5000m gold medal.

While it was this performance that made a name for Andrew, the result didn’t come just out of the blue. Andrew had been on the running scene for some time, winning many prestigious Australia road races and representing Australia at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Like a lot of runners, Andrew’s main motivation for running is the love of it; something that is evident in the fact that some 25 years after winning the first-ever SMH Half Marathon, he still runs everyday, and will be joining us as a runner in 2016.

Who better to chat to for some running advice in the lead-up to this year’s race.

Andrew's Top Tips

  1. Hydration is key. Whether that’s in training or on race day this one thing can really make or break your performance. Hydrate prior and during.
  2. Run because you love it. I think this is the key to great performances – if you love what you do, you’ll do your best and the results will look after themselves.
  3. Consistency and commitment. Whether this is as a social runner or racing. You need to work out what your goals are and then be consistent with your commitment. You’ll never run a marathon if you do one run every other week; you’ll only run faster if you practice running faster.

The Ten Week Countdown - What should we be thinking about?

10 weeks - 7 weeks

  • You should be increasing your distance now with at least one long run per week. The focus should be ‘time on your feet’ as opposed to speed and distance covered for this one. It’s about prepping your body for the duration you’ll be racing.
  • During this period I’d also start adding in some semi-speed work, because lots of distance can make you a bit flat and you want to put some spring into your run. Try 6 x 1 minute surges, or 3 x 2 minute surges with a minute or two rest between during one of your regular weekly runs.
  • Now is a great time to really start testing your race nutrition and hydration. You can make tweaks as you go to really understand what works well for you.

7 weeks - 2 weeks

  • As well as your long run each week, now is the time to really amp up your distance with a second long run – make it about three quarters of what your long run is.
  • You’re also going to increase your surge distances too, to start getting your body prepared for race conditions. I like to do around 4 x 3 minutes surges with a rest inbetween each. The idea of these is to maintain the same speed for the entire 3 minutes. If you find you are starting fast and getting slower, then start slower so you have a consistent pace for the duration of the surge.
  • If you’re thinking about new shoes or other new running gear for race day (e.g. shorts, tights, singlet) then grab them now and make sure you break them in before race day.
  • Don’t forget nutrition and hydration trialling is key now. You want your body to know exactly what you’re planning to do to it on race day. No surprises!

2 weeks

  • During this week you’ll do your final long run and your final three-quarter run. All your other training stays the same, including your 3 minute surges.
  • If you do weight training as part of your regular routine, I’d suggest that this is the week to reduce it and use only light resistance or give it a break.

1 week

  • You’ve done the hard work and now is the time to reduce your training load to ensure you’re fresh for race day. No long runs, just your regular runs and bring your surges back to 1 minute too.
  • The day before your race rest completely (particularly if you’re feeling a little tired) or do a short and light jog.
  • It’s also important to start hydrating the day before the race – add some electrolytes to your water too.
  • For dinner stick to a carb based meal as opposed to protien heavy as the body will find this easier to breakdown and utilise. Plain pasta and rice dishes that aren’t heavy or spicey are a great option.

Race Day

  • Make sure you eat a light breakfast around two hours before the race start. Toast with banana is great, just steer clear of rich foods and dairy.
  • Remember hydration is key – pre-race is just as important as during the race. Add your electrolyte drink mix, or even consider an elecrolyte capsule before you race (this is expecially important if the weather is hot).
  • Warm up with some light jogging and try to stay warm in the lead-up to the race start.
  • Stick with your race plan. You have done the training and you know your pace. So many people get caught up in the rush of excitement at the startline, go out too hard and blow up. You want to get to the end – it’s not a 100m sprint!
  • Believe in yourself. You’ve done the training and you know you can do this. Enjoy the race vibe and have a blast.

Nutrition & Hydration - GU Energy Australia

Hello athletes!

Yes that’s you – if you’ve been training a few times a week and reading this in preparation for the race you’ve entered, make no mistake – you are an athlete and we’re talking to you.

We already know you’re running regularly and probably even have a training plan to get you to the start and finish line; so we wanted to make sure you also had the lowdown on the important role nutrition and hydration play in your training and race strategy.

Did you know that dehydration is the leading cause of fatigue during exercise? In fact, just a 2 percent loss in body weight from sweat can dramatically impact your perfomance – so it’s critical to ensure you support your training with the right fuel to maximise your performance.

Ideally you’ll have been tweaking your fuelling strategy through your training, but make sure you’re really starting to implement it from the day before your race by ensuring you drink plenty of water and stick with light carb-based meals that will keep your body fuelled, but not having it working too hard.

On race day be prepared for your body to be working harder than it has in training. A pre-race electolyte capsule or drink, particularly if the weather is warm, is ideal. It will help support your body by replacing what is lost through sweat. Keep this topped up during the race – everyone will have different hydration needs based on factors including weather, body size and sweat rate, but as a general baseline we recommend approximately 1L/hour of exercise.

Make sure your race day breakfast is light and eat this around two hours before the race. While everyone will have their own favourites, a combination like toast with banana is a great option.

To keep energy stores topped up during the race, portable gels or chews are an ideal solution. Take one approximately five minutes before race start and then keep your system topped up with one every 45 minutes. This timing is a recommendation, so if you feel you need something extra to keep you going, you can consume one before the 45 minute mark.