Training Tips for Chariots of Fire Teams

With Chariots of Fire fast approaching, most training preparations are underway but there is still time until the big day on the 22nd September to get ready. 

The unique 1.7 mile course follows the scenic route through the streets and colleges of Cambridge. Starting at Queens’ Green the route sets off down Silver Street, along Kings Parade, passing Kings College, and then snakes through the tight corners past Gonville and Caius College. The route continues through Trinity College, along the Backs, through Clare College and then besides Kings College Chapel. Crossing over the River Cam the route leads onto The Backs, finishing on Queens’ Green where runners hand over batons to waiting team members. All the while, along the entire route, runners are cheered on by spectators and event marshals. 

One team manager at Chariots this year is Matthew Neave, a Tax Manager at Hewitsons, who has taken part in Chariots over eight times. Being a keen sports person Matthew has approached the race by adding some short distance runs into his weekly regime, even taking his running shoes on holiday with him - showing his true dedication to the cause!   Matthew’s top tips for the event, which anyone can follow, are; Get up early and have a good breakfastKeep hydrated before the race, no caffeine.Pace yourself – the route is longer than you thinkSoak in the atmosphere and crowd support, especially at the finish lineDrink plenty afterwards, warm down, stretch out, and Enjoy it!   

For those who are attempting Chariots of Fire for the first time this year, here are some further hints and tips to help you prepare for this unique relay race, and may even motivate you into becoming a regular runner. Preparation. Don’t run at least 48 hours before the event. This gives your body time to rest. 

Also, Autumn in England could bring with it any weather – so be prepared by making sure you are dressed appropriately.Look after your feet. This might sound unusual, but many a runner suffers from blisters, pins and needles and other problems with their feet. Blisters are a pain, but sometimes something as simple as wearing two pairs of thin socks can reduce the friction. Pain, pins and needles and even bruised toes are normally caused by ill-fitting footwear. 

 Running shoes should fit bigger than most shoes and they should be loosely tied up – you should just be able to pull it off when done up.Pain CAN be without gain. Don’t be tempted to run through an injury thinking it will do you good. Stop, and seek medical advice as you may make it worse, you don’t want to get injured and end up watching the event from the sidelinesWarm down and stretch. 

A warm down could be a leisurely jog back home or even a walk, just to wind down the body and help you recover. Follow this with some gentle stretches. This is important for training runs but also for race day as well.Will it be crowded? This is a big event with lots of teams, people and supporters, if you want to avoid the main crowd, try going as the 6th and last runner that way the other teams will be nicely spaced along the course and you can also bask in the finishing-line glory!

Have fun. There will be some serious runners out there, but most participants are there to raise money for Papworth Trust and have a great time – that’s what makes Chariots of Fire an enjoyable and successful event year after year.