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Ace Your First Running Race With Tips From This Comrades 2016 Winner

Posted on: by Amy Hopkins
Two women running on a dirt path

By Amy Hopkins; Photography by Freepik

Thinking about running your first half or full marathon? Read on for some advice from ultra-running champion Charné Bosman.

Running season is far from over!

There are plenty half, full and ultra marathons coming up… And then there are all the trails too. In fact, running is much more pleasant now that it’s not so hot! And don’t let the rain or cold be a deterrent – check out our July issue for all the coolest cover-ups! In fact, now is the perfect time to commit to your first big race in the Spring or Summer. You can easily train for a half marathon in three months, then aim for your first full marathon next year.

READ MORE: Beginner’s Guide: How To Lose Weight With Running

Comrades 2016 female winner and three-time SA marathon champ Charné Bosman (41 years old) says it’s all about getting enough sleep, eating well and training consistently. We caught up with her for some training and race-day advice:

READ MORE: I Lost Over 20kgs Because I Fell In Love With Running

1. Recover properly.

“Most South African athletes run too hard on their recovery runs. If it’s a recovery day, you need to actually recover.”

2. Eat natural foods.

“I don’t like to eat any takeaways. I eat fish and veggies and a lot of fruit. I also do a lot of juices. My favourite is a beetroot juice with ginger, lemon, carrot and apple. I’ll drink that every morning. Leading up to a race I will eat a little bit more, including good carbs. Rather eat good, natural food, because if you want to run far, you need the good food to take you that far.”

Charné eats before each training session. “Every morning I eat my Futurelife Smartfood with two big spoons of macadamia nutbutter.” And on race day she eats bananas and apples throughout the run. “I don’t eat any gels.”

3. Get enough sleep.

“I’m a believer of sleeping quite early in the evenings, around 8 to 8:30pm. Get at least eight to nine hours of sleep per night.”

4. Pace yourself.

On race day, “Start slower and stick to a time goal. Check pacing sheets. Try to always run a negative split. The faster you go out in the beginning of a race, the more you will lose at the end, so start slowly.”

5. Have fun.

“Remember to enjoy it. I try to stay as relaxed as possible, but even in the last 10 to 15km [of an ultra marathon], you get tired and you need to focus and get to the finish line. It’s important to stay relaxed because if you get tense, you use more energy.”

Comrades 1,3km to go

A post shared by @charnebosman on

READ MORE: 10 Things you Should Know Before Running Your First Marathon

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