It’s crucial to take proper steps to prepare for a run

This past Sunday, a small contingent of the Cayman Islands’ running community made the trek from Hurley’s parking lot in Grand Harbour lot to Rum Point, a mere 22.5 miles.

Many of the individuals who ran are training for the New York City Marathon on 6 November and have signed up as part of Nick Quinn’s Run For Horner.

Alexandra (Alex) Horner, a friend to many residents here on the island, passed away suddenly last New Year’s Eve. As a tribute to her, Nick and about a dozen other runners from the Island are running in this year’s event and raising funds for Asthma UK.

I am a big admirer of those who run for a purpose and wish them the best of luck with their race. I know they are all going to perform wonderfully and they will remember the experience always. I’d also like to thank Beth Schreader for organising the Rum Point Run.

As I made my preparations on Saturday night for the run, it occurred to me it might be a good idea to share with you my preparations for a long run (i.e., anything longer than 90 minutes) in order to share a little insight as you prepare for your long run/walk each Sunday in preparation for this year’s Intertrust Cayman Marathon.

The very first thing I do before embarking on a long run is to inspect my toe nails and it’s not to determine whether I require a manicure.

This odd task is vital for consistent running. Running/walking is a repetitive motion and a long toe nail can snag on the inside of the shoe or sock and if repeated can cause blisters and may even result in losing a toe nail, which is never fun or pretty when you live on an island where sandals are the norm. Therefore, I always make sure my toe nails are trimmed.

From there I move to protect my chest, or more specifically, my nipples from the constant rub of my shirt. For this, I use Plastique medical tape (available on island at most pharmacies). The tape will uphold through almost anything you can throw at it. When I ran the Sahara Desert last April, the tape stayed on for days. Please note, the tape can cause slight damage to your shirt over time but, in my opinion, it’s worth it.

Next I move onto lubricating possible friction areas. I do this after applying the tape because if you lube before trying to apply the tape you may have trouble getting it to stick.

Running/walking is a repetitive motion and, as such, your arms and legs are prone to chaffing if the proper prevention is not taken. I use a product called “Body Glide” (not available on Island) which is packaged like a deodorant stick and applied in the same manner. I apply it generously to my underarms and inner thighs – basically anywhere that friction may occur (use your imagination). Vaseline (available on Island) will provide similar protection.

The last physical preparation I make, if I know I’m going to be exposed to the sun, is the application of sun screen. I use spray bottles and pretty much cover myself from head to toe in it. After that, I’m good to get dressed.

With my running attire now on, I move onto fuelling and safety needs. I never leave the house, no matter the distance, without my hand-held water bottle filled. Some think it’s a hassle to carry water, but it’s an even bigger hassle to dehydrate.

My water bottle also serves a second purpose. Besides holding my hydration supply, my bottle also has an ICE (In Case of Emergency) tag with my personal information on it. I’ve never had to use it, but better safe than sorry, especially when dealing with the extreme heat and some of the aggressive drivers here in Cayman. ICE tags work, weigh almost nothing and have saved lives.

Fuelling on a long run is critical, especially here in Cayman. I normally have a gel pack (some types available on Island) or two in my water bottle. The human body can consume approximately 200 calories per hour while exercising and the calories consumed will go a long way in keeping your engine running at optimal performance.

You might want to start off at a level below 200 calories (i.e. 100 calories per hour) and find out what works for your body. I’ve known runners to use Accelerade drink powder (available on Island), gel packs, sweet potatoes and/or Gummi Bears during their long runs. What you eat is up to you, but I recommend you consume simple sugars or carbohydrates and not eat anything high in fat as it will divert blood away from the extremities (i.e., arms and legs) and into your stomach, which could have you running for the bushes instead of the finish line.

Once I’ve loaded up on my fuelling supplies, I throw on my shoes, watch, sun glasses (day time running) and my buff or crazy head covering, and head for the open road.

Your health is of the utmost importance and not to be neglected. Even though moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, is safe for most people, health experts suggest you talk to your doctor before starting any exercise programme. Until next week don’t stop running!

James Murray, who is training to run 100 miles around Grand Cayman as part of his “A Crazy Idea” campaign, provides weekly training tips for those who want to complete their first half marathon (13.1 miles).

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