Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the first Australian Running Convention in Melbourne. It was an expo at The Parks in Albert Park with various stalls, seminars, workshops and activities dedicated to running. The tickets cost $59.00, but I was able to get the tickets at an early bird special of $29.00.
My friend Sarah and I met early in the morning and headed off to Albert Park. We arrived at 10am and spent a little bit of time walking around some of the stalls. We then sat down for our first seminar - Coaching: Plan Your Running Year. This session discussed how to plan your running year and all of the goals that you want to achieve. As runner we need to understand that different goals will take different amounts of time. We cannot expect to go from running 5km fun runs to marathons in a couple of months. We must realise that our running goals can take years to achieve, however to help break it up it is good to add in some smaller goals. If your goal is to run a marathon, first you will need to have the goal of running 5km, then 10km, then a couple of half marathons and then the full marathon.
There were two really important pieces of information that I got out of this session. The first one is to make sure that in a week you stick to the number of kilometres that you are supposed to run. If your training schedule says to run 30km in the week, stick to it. If you are supposed to run 10km on Monday but you are too busy with work or family, break the run up into 2 - 5km in the morning and then 5km in the afternoon. The second most important thing that I learnt is that it is okay to walk during your training sessions. There is nothing wrong with walking. It doesn't mean that you have failed. Walking is just as important as running - from people learning to run to those training to run ultra marathons.
The second seminar was Sports Physiotherapy: Run Yourself Well. I could have really used this session when I first started running! This session was a question and answer session with a physiotherapist and a podiatrist. The main point that I learnt was that if something hurts then you need to stop. No more running. Rest and if it doesn't get better go see someone about it. I also learnt that people who run should have a minimum of two pairs of runners on rotation. This will firstly prolong the life of your runners as the foam in the sole will have time to recover and won't compress as easily. Secondly, it is good to have different runners for different runs i.e. a firmer runner for longer runs and a light runner for your speed sessions.
After the seminar Sarah and I met with with Carol, who is on the 12WBT Runners Connect Facebook page and a fellow blogger. We headed outside to go to a workshop on yoga and injury prevention. It was beautiful sitting outside in the sun. Melbourne had certainly put on a beautiful day! The yoga session was lovely! I'm not sure if my specialist would approve of me doing a gentile yoga session, but I felt that it was what my body needed. It felt amazing to stretch my legs out and my abs sort of enjoyed the core work (I have such sore abs today!!). The yoga session was presented by Rise Yoga and I so wish that they were closer to home as I would love to do their sessions!
We went for another wander around the stalls and picked up a few freebies and then we went back outside for the Strength Training for Runners. Due to my injury I decided to sit this one out, but I watched everyone do their squats, lunges, burpees, crunches etc. The purpose of the workshop was to show people the right technique and also to teach people that strength training is so important for running. We need to make sure that all of the muscles in our body are strong to prevent injury (I wish I knew that when I started running). We also had a little demonstration on what types of stretches we should to on a foam roller, which is also important for running.
Carol, Sarah and I then decided to go and grab some lunch - I had the Korma Lamb Curry with Rice from Dineamic, which was so delicious. I wish I had taken a photo. Thankfully their food is available in many supermarkets all over Australia. We then enjoyed our time in the sun and then went back inside to browse at more stalls. I then decided to call it a day as I was getting tired and I was starting to feel a little sore.
Overall, I thought it was a great convention, although it was a little smaller than I expected. That being said, it was the first convention. The seminars were really interesting and were really well presented. The workshops were awesome as everyone got to participate (it wasn't capped). Many of the seminars and workshops followed the theme of injury prevention, which I thought was great. So many runners out there keep getting injured, so we really need to be providing more advice. And, as I previously mentioned, being able to physically learn the steps to prevent injury was helpful - much better than just reading about it.
I hope that next year the convention is a little larger, however as long as the convention was successful I imagine this would happen. It would be great to see more sponsors get on board and to see more stalls.
The only negative thing is that I thought that the price was a little steep. I paid $29.00 as I got the early bird special and I had a code for a $10 discount. If I had paid $59.00 for my ticket then I probably would have been a little disappointed.
Let's cross our fingers that the day was successful and that there will be an Australian Running Convention in 2015!