x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 14 December 2017

Countdown to the Dubai Marathon 2018: staying safe on the streets and the four-week itch

As we rapidly approach the holiday season, we need to ensure we prioritise our training

So this is it: we are four weeks into the 12-week training plan. How are we doing? Do we feel strong? Are we still focused? Hopefully by now, we should have established how our training sessions are being implemented into our daily routines. Is it working? Yes? Great, then keep going. If it hasn’t quite settled yet, it’s time to have a look back and identify the aspects that are not working.

But before you totally throw the towel in – you need to realise you’re not the only person feeling this way; even some of the top professionals have their issues, but they learn to compromise on things to try and make it work. If you really want to succeed, you will find a way.

But as the cooler weather approaches, so do the shorter days of sunlight. So, whether you are an early bird or a night owl, we will be heading out the door in the dark. As those runs start to evolve into longer distances, I have a few tips for to make sure we stay safe throughout.

Always wear a bright, reflective kit

Try not to wear dark colours, and make sure you can be visible to any passing traffic and other runners in a bright, reflective kit. I know if you’re wearing black, you feel like a secret agent running the streets, but you are totally invisible in the glare of bright headlights.

Run against traffic flow

Even if you’re on the sidewalk, running against the traffic will allow you to see if any cars are turning and this will allow you to move or stop. Stay safe. Running with the traffic approaching from behind will put you at risk.

Always carry ID

It sounds grim, but if anything was to happen or you get injured, your ID shows your name, nationality, the languages you speak and so on. So any emergency services can use these details to help immediately. Even having the number of a friend or partner on your phone is handy if someone needs to call if anything has happened.

Carry money

Always keep a small amount of money on you. This can help in a number of ways; it will allow you to buy water or other fuel on your run if your body needs it, or, if anything happens on the run – a muscle strain or injury – you will be able to get a taxi home.

Music mantra

If you are a runner who likes to listen to music, try not to have the Rocky theme tune at full blast. Try leaving one earbud out, to allow you to listen for any oncoming traffic, runners or cyclists.

Prioritise

Lastly, as we come into the holiday season, this is when we all tend have a wobble around when we can train. With the social calendar never having been so full, we really need to prioritise things. Be strong and focused on the goal; if you’re heading back to see friends, maybe give them a heads-up about your training, and try and recruit them for a run to give you a support base. Then, speak to your family, and show them what this goal means to you and ask for help. We all need help once and while, even if it’s a gentle nudge from your partner to make sure you get up after pressing snooze for the third time.

Lee Ryan is the captain of Adidas Runner Dubai, a professional athlete, record-breaking endurance runner, and also a personal trainer, working with the likes of Arsenal F C. Not only has he set four Guinness World Records, he’s a keen marathon runner – his fastest time being an indomitable two hours and 58 minutes, set at the Berlin Marathon in September

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Do you have a question for Lee about the Dubai Marathon? Send it to astewart@thenational.ae for Lee to answer in the next instalment.

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What is the right time for marathon training for kids? My daughter is 5 and is good athlete in her school so far - we would like to encourage and train her accordingly. I'm looking for guidance and training details in Dubai to start off.

This is a subject many have a point of view on, and the way the world is, everyone is looking for the next superstar before they are even born. My opinion is “training” kids so young can be tricky, as their body and mind is still developing and will do so up until puberty - so 5 is very, very young. The key for kids is to keep them enthused by making everything fun, encourage them to try new things, and take the word training out of it. It's fantastic to hear your daughter is a gifted runner, but maybe you should progress her through sports, or take her on some fun runs with mum and dad. Kids are great imitators, so show your kids how to lead a healthy life by personal example. Aiming for a marathon is a huge challenge for an adult with years of experience, so for a 5-year-old, it is completely out of the question.

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Read more from Lee:

Lifestyle hacks when it comes to training

Getting started for the Dubai Marathon

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