Whether runners are taking part in Mud Race as individuals or as part of a team, a regular training regime in the build-up to the event will help them perform better on the day – and avoid unwanted injuries.
Unless you are already a keen cross country runner with relevant experience, planning your own training schedule can be a daunting task. That’s why we asked some qualified coaches to offer some words of advice.
“There are two points I believe are most important for completing an obstacle run on muddy terrain,” says Ho Hoi-to, the teacher in charge of the distance running team at Cheung Sha Wan Catholic Secondary School. “The first is to find the correct pace so you can perform your best and complete the course. The second is to avoid wasting strength and stamina unnecessarily in tackling the various obstacles.”
Ho explains that finding a good rhythm and maintaining a consistent pace is critical for an event like this and can really boost a runner’s performance. He notes too that rushing through obstacles - or forcing yourself to complete any which are beyond you - simply adds to the strain you can expect to feel towards the end of the race.
Ho is currently training some students from his school’s cross country team to compete over the tough 6km Mud Race course. The training schedule he has devised for the team includes two after-school runs a week plus one morning session. The latter is something of a school tradition and is open to every student, in the belief that it builds the fitness and stamina needed for every kind of sport.
Lo Mo-ling, extra-curricular activities master at S.T.F.A. Lee Shau Kee College, says his school takes a similar approach to training.
“Every student takes part in a run that follows the streets of the Kwai Shing Circuit,” says Lo, who has been training junior runners for more than 35 years. “It started as part of our physical education classes, but has become a school tradition and a great way to find students with good potential for cross country.”
He believes that building up stamina is the most important part of any training regime. To this end, new team members typically start off on flat ground, gradually running longer distances and tackling hills as they improve. Once they can easily complete the usual race distance, Lo starts working on their technique, including form and posture. The cross country team also trains on courses similar those used in competition when a big race is approaching.
They are now preparing for Mud Race’s 6km event, and Lo hopes it will provide valuable experience for everyone in the team.