> Logistics: every minute counts…
Not many lunch breaks are longer than 60 minutes. It’s therefore vital to use every available second to boost your training and stick to your planned programme. But make sure you don’t get back to work late. It might be worth setting an alarm one hour and then half an hour before the start of your break so that you’re not caught out by a last-minute phone call or unexpected email.
Make sure your sports bag has all of your kit in it. There’s nothing worse than psyching yourself up to go for a run and then realising at the last minute that you’ve forgotten your shorts or shoes! Give yourself five minutes to get changed beforehand and figure out – or, if necessary, do a test run – how long you need afterwards to get back and ready for work. If there aren’t any showers at your work and you can’t use the facilities at a nearby gym, it might be worth bringing some soap and a sponge (or even some deodorant and wet wipes) so that you can clean yourself up in the toilets before putting your work clothes back on.
> Food: don’t set off on an empty stomach!
If you plan on running sometime between midday and 2pm, make sure you eat a balanced breakfast that includes carbohydrates. For example, two slices of bread with a bit of jam and honey, or a generous bowl of cereal like muesli mixed with plain yoghurt (or soy yoghurt if you’re lactose intolerant) is a good choice.
– Don’t drink too much coffee.
– Drink water regularly throughout the morning. You need to keep your water reserves topped up.
– Have some fresh fruit or a cereal bar as a snack around 11. Don’t forget that you’ll be running for about 45 minutes, followed by an afternoon at work…
And above all, get your lunch ready so you can eat it straight after your run. An energy drink, banana, apple and two or three slices of wholemeal bread with some cheese spread gives you a quick meal that is easy to eat in front of your computer screen.
> Training: vary your programme
45 minutes of exercise gives you time to vary the intensity quite a lot. Always begin with a warm-up. This should gradually become more dynamic and last around 20 minutes. Next, run at your preferred pace.
Here are a few example sessions:
– Warm-up (20 mins) + 15 mins at 10 km or half marathon pace + 10 mins of slow jogging.
– Warm-up (20 mins) + 15 x 30-30 (30 seconds of fast running, 30 seconds jogging) + 10 mins of fast walking or general physical preparedness exercises.
– Warm-up (20 mins) + 4 x 3 mins fast running interspersed with 90 secs of recovery + 10 mins of warming down.
A study published 10 years ago in Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise found that physical activity improves productivity, the quality of our work and our ability to meet to deadlines.
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