With spring at our doorstep and this leftover baby weight dragging me down, I will be starting my training for my upcoming summer races. I thought I would share some of the things I have learned over the years, and hopefully give some useful running tips for those who may aspire to train for a race.
1) Pick out the days of the week that work for you. A good solid plan will have about 4-5 training days and 2-3 rest days. Remember, rest days are just as important as training days! You want to give your body time to recover and you definitely don’t want any injuries to creep in and cramp your training schedule (trust me!!!).
3) Add variety! You don’t want to get bored by just running every single day…. Lame!! Add in some cross training (biking, swimming, etc), intervals, toning, aerobics classes, tempo runs (Google that if you don’t know what they are)…. Anything to add a little spice into your training life. Plus, going back to #1, you are less likely to develop an injury.
4) Start at your current level of fitness and work your way up GRADUALLY. It may seem like a simple thing, but I have fallen victim to this a few times. I would either begin training too hard or too fast (or both) and I would wind up burned out or injured within the first few weeks… No good! Begin at a realistic level and then increase things gradually! This will also involve choosing a race that will give you plenty of time to train. Don’t sign up for a marathon that is only 2 months away when you can currently only run 3 miles… Unless you are some sort of freak athlete, it won’t happen!
- Don’t forget to eat well!! You will find it is quite amazing how big of a difference food can make in your training regiment. Don’t eat too soon before a run, and eat something that will give you energy like some good carbs. Eat some good proteins after a run to help build your muscles back up.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself! Everybody has good running days and bad running days. Don’t let the bad ones discourage you. Try to look at what may have caused your bad day (ie foods you ate, sleep you got, etc), tweak things a little and get back out there!
- Don’t let your ego get in the way of SMART training! This is something I really do struggle with at times. Either I think I should be able to go faster or harder, or I go to the gym or even for a run outside and see others doing the same, and feel the need to show them how freaking awesome I am. Stick to your plan and don’t overdo it! While a challenge is good at times and does help to make you stronger over time, it’s still a process and it will take time. Have patience with yourself and remember that nobody is watching you or paying attention to how hard or fast you are going. Race day is when you really want to be able to show off your totally awesome skills!
- Find friends or family to either train for the race with you or even just to come out to the race and cheer you on. My husband is not much of a racer (yet), but he makes a tremendous cheerleader (and I assure you, he is very proud of his title)!
- Have fun!!!! Some people look at running as a chore or that dreaded task you know you should do, but just don’t want to. It doesn’t have to be that way! Make it fun!! Put a motivating playlist together on your ipod, plan runs with good friends, or, if you’re like me, have a scrumptious treat waiting at home for you to enjoy after. Whatever it takes, but make it something that you look forward to each day!
I hope these running tips have inspired you in some way to get your race on!! There seriously is nothing quite like crossing that finish line at the end of a race that you have trained so hard for, and having a crowd of strangers and friends cheering you on!! It is an amazing feeling!! So, in the words of our dear friends at Nike…. JUST DO IT!!! You won’t regret it!
Thanks again Mariel for the opportunity to post on your fabulous blog!