Running Races...Yes You Can!
Can’t see yourself running races? Come on! You’ve been pounding the pavement for months, and now you’re addicted…admit it. You’ve been working you butt off. Take it to the next level. Start out small. Train for a 5k and work your way up to a 10k, half marathon, or even a full marathon.
I can’t even begin to describe the sense of pride that overwhelms your body when you cross that finish line…not to mention the awesome shirts that go with running races (that’s enough motivation for me). Training for a race gives you a new goal to work towards. It can take the focus off weight loss, and give you a new, fresh source of motivation.
Here are eight tips to help you get ready for running races.
- Pick One
Okay… where do you start? First of all, pick a race. Most holidays have a run associated with it. Try a “Reindeer Run” around Christmas, a “Turkey Trot” in celebration of Thanksgiving, a “Shamrock run” for St. Patrick’s Day. They have fun runs for kids (make it a family affair), 5k walks, trails runs, partner races, obstacle races, and partner obstacle races. Find a race in your area.
There’s this one called the “Muddy Buddy.” It is a 6-7 mile course with 5 obstacles complete with a mud pit that you perform with a buddy…there’s nothing boring about that! I haven’t tried it, but it is definitely next on my list.
Still not hitting the spot? Sign up to run (or walk)for a cause. Join a "Team in Training"and run and raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. There are races you can train for that support research for childhood cancer or autism. The opportunities are endless.
- How much time do you need?
That depends on the race and your current fitness/running level. However, for a beginner, a 5K is totally doable with 8-10 weeks of training. A half marathon could take as few as 8 weeks for a seasoned runner (already pounding the pavement more than 15 miles a week) and 12 weeks for a newbie. Full marathons, on the other hand, need anywhere from 18 weeks to 30 weeks of committed training.
- Now, Commit to it
You’ve picked the race. So, pay that registration fee. Yes…NOW! There is something about forking over 25 bucks that seals the deal. Don’t start training first. Just pay it. Believe me, you can do it. You don’t have to run for time. You don’t have to beat anyone. However, this gives you a deadline so to speak. It gives you something to work toward and motivation for your workouts.
- Find a training schedule
There are a ton of predesigned training schedules you can follow when running races. You can find them for beginners all the way up to veteran runners. Pick one and follow it as close as you can, making small adjustments to make it fit into your lifestyle. Remember to increase your mileage gradually. Never increase your mileage by more than 10-20 percent per week. Otherwise, you might end up injured, overwhelmed and frustrated.
Beginner's 5k training program
- Train in a group
There are numerous training schedules on the web, but why train alone. Running races can be way more fun when done with a group. Your local running store should have a training group geared toward getting ready for a race. This enables you to train with people of a similar fitness level, be around others with like goals, and they keep you accountable. There might be a fee but it is so worth it. You usually get a running coach, maybe a few siminars on picking the right shoes, the right race day clothes, and running nutrition. You will acquire instant running partners and a ton of motivation.
If this isn’t a good option for you, commit to training with a friend…they don’t even have to live by you. Four of my friends and I decided to train together for a half marathon…even though three live in Ohio, one lives in Delaware and I live in Washington. We check in with each other every week sharing our struggles and inspirational tips and tricks. They are all flying out here for a big overdue reunion (we all went to high school and middle school together) and the half marathon. Talk about a reward!
- Reward yourself
Speaking of rewards, treat yourself when you hit a goal or a mile-stone. When you run your first mile without stopping, buy yourself a new pair of running shorts. When you complete a whole month of your running workouts treat yourself to a massage. Finish your first 5K? Gift yourself with a heart rate monitor. Again, this is a great motivational tool. It works and makes it all more fun.
- Don’t Neglect Your Feet
Running races can be hard on your feet. That is why it is so important to invest in a good pair of shoes. The ones you have been wearing for a year just won’t do. Walking shoes, cross trainers, and running shoes are all different. Even more, not all feet were created equal. There are different shoes for those with high arches, normal arches, and low arches. So go to your local running store. They will watch you walk, maybe even run on a treadmill, and get you fitted for the right shoe. While you’re there, sign up for that running club I was talking about!
More on how to choose the right shoe
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
Don’t be surprised if you run into a rough patch during your training. Believe me, there are going to be runs that feel better than others. There are going to be days you don’t feel like running at all. No need for an all or nothing mind set. Don’t be afraid to slow it down on those days or even take a few walk breaks.
However, on the days I don’t feel like it, I still push myself to run for 15 minutes or a couple miles. More times than not, I end up finishing the whole run. Having said that, don’t skip the rest days or the cross training days. These are vital to preventing injuries or over training.
Running races can add a whole new dimension to your workout regimen. They have to ability to get you over that hump and add a little spice to you life. Stop doubting yourself and just do it! Well, what are you waiting for?
More Interesting Pages!
Guide on how to choose the right shoe
Calories burned running
Best Running Music...Fitness Magazine Top 20 Tunes
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