Training for a race – whether it is a 5k, a 10k or a marathon – can be intimidating. However, it can also be incredibly easy and even fun! (I’m being mostly serious here…) I’ve compiled a few tips to help you get race-ready so that you can feel prepared to run your best race possible.
Creating a plan is two-fold. The first step is to figure out when you have time to train. Do you run best in the mornings before work? Do you have a mid-morning time that you can run because your job is more flexible? Find out when you can run and when you will actually do the miles. Then, plan your mileage.
If you don’t have somebody working with you to plan your mileage, I would recommend using the Nike running app. It’s on your phone and is a super easy way to track how far you are running. There are built-in mileage plans in the app so that all you have to do is enter your race information and it will provide you with a race plan. Then, write your mileage into your calendar or put it into your iCloud calendar so that you know when you are running and how far you are running each week before you make the rest of your plans.
Once you create your plan, one of the things that most people forget to say that is crucial to not burning out is that you need to stick to your plan. Even on the days where you’re feeling great – like you could run another few miles – it is important that you stick to your training plan. You aren’t always going to be pushing yourself as hard as you possibly can. Part of training for a race is building your endurance and stamina – and part of training for that is maintenance. If you push yourself to your limit every day, you’ll exhaust your body before your race rolls around.
Take a break every once in awhile to cross train. Better yet, include cross-training into your race plans. From weight lifting to spinning to kayaking – any workout that you do other than running is going to help your overall performance drastically. Switching things up is important in your training.
Music, podcasts, audio books… you can even run in silence if you want to be more in tune with your body, but knowing what you like to listen to and planning ahead to have that stuff downloaded onto your phone is crucial to maximizing your efforts once you’re out on the running path.
Staying hydrated throughout the day and week is so vital to your overall success. Your body needs water to maintain its proper hydration levels and when you run, you sweat out a lot of that. Be sure you’re also consuming enough electrolytes. I recommend using products like Nuun during or after really long runs to make sure that you’re giving back to your body.
Set your goals! Every, single day you need to be able to set your goal when you step onto the running path. Beyond where you want to go insofar as milage, you need to understand what kind of mental state you’re entering your run with. Do you need to run to move past something? To prove to yourself that you have strength right now? Find out what your motivation for running is every time you lace up your shoes and you will find that your motivation will help carry you through those extra feel miles when you feel like the rest of your mind wants to give in.
On that note, also be careful enough to take the extra rest day when you need it. Listen to your body. Listen to your body when it says it needs to relax instead of run. Listen when your body wants you to stretch and do yoga. You can’t run a marathon if your body is unhappy so it is important to listen to it so that you can run your best marathon.
Another note in terms of listening to your body – foam roll. A great foam roller is Triggerpoint. Using any foam roller will do the trick, though. Be sure to roll: calves – from ankle to knee, IT band – knee to the top of your hip, hamstrings, glutes and even your quads. You can ask me in the gym to show you a few movements if you want.
Eating enough and what kinds of food to eat could be multiple blogs in and of themselves, so all I will say is that it is important to feed your body during training. Get enough nutrients. Get enough of the good stuff so that your body has the fuel it needs to recover after your training sessions and the fuel to push you through them.
We all need sleep. Stop pretending you don’t plus, if you’re training for a race it is the perfect excuse to blow off events for a nap…
Finally, find what motivates you. Is it a person? A place? Find what drives you and you will be able to do so much more than you ever thought you were capable of.
Demco Fitness is a Seattle gym that offers personal training in Seattle, semi-private sessions and fitness classes. Demco is located in the heart of Belltown and features several passionate and experienced trainers to meet your demands. Call or stop in today and ask how you can try us out for free or get your first month for only $200.