Run training made easy: an interview with fitness trainer and nutrition coach Julia Rittner, part 1

Julia Rittner_PortraitMany ENERGETIX dis­trib­u­tors already know Julia Rit­tner from the 2013 start-of-year event in Will­in­gen, where the slo­gan was „Fit for the new decade“ and she moti­vat­ed every­one present to greater sport­ing activ­i­ty. Julia will once again pro­vide run­ning sup­port for the ENERGETIX team in 2014. A licensed fit­ness and per­son­al train­er and pas­sion­ate triath­lete, she is mak­ing a moti­vat­ed group of run­ners in Bin­gen fit for the Novo Nordisk Guten­berg Marathon Mainz, for which they have entered. She is also run­ning a week­ly train­ing ses­sion for ENERGETIX staff mem­bers – one that is tai­lored to their wish­es and require­ments – under the slo­gan „Fit through the lunch break“.

A few weeks before the Guten­berg (Half) Marathon we asked Julia for advice that trained long dis­tance run­ners can still fol­low to improve their form and arrive at the start line well pre­pared and in top con­di­tion on 11 May.

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FROGBLOG: It’s fan­tas­tic, over 130 peo­ple have reg­is­tered for the ENERGETIX run­ning team in the 2014 Guten­berg Marathon! Julia, you ran in the „frog team“ last year – as did Joey Kel­ly among oth­ers. What mem­o­ries and expec­ta­tions will you have as you go to the start line in Mainz on 11 May?

Julia Rit­tner: The Mainz Marathon is a region­al event whose major attrac­tions are its friend­ly atmos­phere and a beau­ti­ful route. On every sec­tion the atmos­phere car­ries the run­ners on to the next kilo­me­tre and they are cheered along towards the fin­ish­ing line. As was the case last year, the run­ning expe­ri­ence will cer­tain­ly be marked by the strength of the ENERGETIX team – the large num­ber of entries means that the hap­py excite­ment before the start and the proud feel­ing of relief at the fin­ish will be a great shared event!

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FROGBLOG: What can a run­ner who is in train­ing do to opti­mize their form and well-being in the last few weeks before the run?

Julia Rit­tner: It is impor­tant to main­tain an opti­mal bal­ance between tar­get­ed train­ing loads and recov­ery phas­es in the last few weeks before the race. A few more long runs of up to 18 or even 19 km will cer­tain­ly be planned dur­ing this peri­od. At the same time, the expe­ri­enced run­ners are also already in a phase where they are improv­ing their race fit­ness and basic speed with inter­val and tem­po train­ing. All runs and par­tic­u­lar­ly the more inten­sive units should be car­ried out in a relaxed man­ner; and if the body gives any indi­ca­tion that it would be bet­ter to take a rest day, this is what should be done. It is not our „weak­er self“ speak­ing, the body is ask­ing for rest. Ade­quate sleep, a
nat­ur­al and bal­anced diet and reg­u­lar stretch­ing ensure regen­er­a­tion – often „less is more“ in the last few weeks. There are no more major leaps in per­for­mance dur­ing the final month of prepa­ra­tion, but the lev­el of Per­for­mance reached must be main­tained.

FROGBLOG: And what is best a few days before the run? Should „non-pro­fes­sion­als“ go easy and save their ener­gy or should they pre­pare their body for the run ahead with gen­tle train­ing?

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Julia Rit­tner: The expe­ri­enced run­ners will cer­tain­ly run some addi­tion­al longer dis­tances even dur­ing the week­end before 11 May, where­as new­com­ers to the half marathon dis­tance are best advised to do their last long run two weeks before the race. The last week before the race should be tak­en up with qui­et short­er runs. It all depends on the train­ing con­di­tion, of course, so it is dif­fi­cult to make a gen­er­al state­ment. Usu­al­ly each indi­vid­ual run­ner can feel how much rest is need­ed before race day. Two or three full con­sec­u­tive days of rest are a good idea. Rest is impor­tant, but too much rest before the event leaves the mus­cles real­ly „lame“ and deprives us of the nec­es­sary ten­sion. This is why many run­ners make a point of doing a mini-train­ing ses­sion the day before the race to tone up the mind and the mus­cles – a short 10-minute warm-up run fol­lowed by 3–5 crisp uphill runs and a com­fort­able 10-minute wind-down run.

FROGBLOG: And what of the „weak­er self“? How do you moti­vate your­self and how do you spur on your run­ners? Do you use spe­cial tricks that you’d like to reveal here?

Julia Rit­tner: If sport is char­ac­ter­ized by enthu­si­asm and enjoy­ment, no spe­cial moti­va­tion is need­ed. The chal­lenge starts when we reach our lim­its while train­ing, are sur­prised by lack of form on the day or have to call on our final reserves of ener­gy in a race. We must then make greater demands on our men­tal strength and call up pow­er­ful images – it can be a won­der­ful run­ning expe­ri­ence or a mag­ic moment in nature, or we see our­selves arriv­ing at the fin­ish­ing line! Dur­ing run train­ing my ath­letes know that I always refer to the nature around us as a force field and a dis­trac­tion. So if I name the
plants around us too often or dis­cov­er the beau­ti­ful view sev­er­al times, I get smiled at – but that’s okay, you run bet­ter if you are laugh­ing!

Read fur­ther advice from Julia Rit­tner in the next few days.

You can find more infor­ma­tion from and about Julia Rit­tner at