Many 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.
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!
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?
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 www.julia-rittner-sports.de