The air is still crisp, but with the days getting longer and the sunshine trying to peak through, Spring weather has got to be on its way. With the change of seasons, we can bet to see the sidewalks and parks filling up with runners prepping for race season. Whether you want to run your first 5K or commit to another marathon, running is a great sport for all, and preparing wisely can and will make all of the difference in your experience.
1. Your shoes:
Select the shoes–and the socks–you’ll wear in the marathon. The shoes should be relatively lightweight but provide good support, and the socks should be the type you wear in other races. If the shoes aren’t your regular training shoes, wear them on at least one 10-mile run at marathon pace. This test run will determine whether you’re likely to develop blisters or get sore feet–before it’s too late. If the shoes bother you on this run, get yourself another pair. –runnersworld.com
Your kicks can make all of the difference!
2. Prepare for your course:
If you are running in the mid-west you may not have to invest in too much hill training. However, a good friend of mine runs a half marathon in Michigan every year that has a painfully huge hill that requires preparation both physically and mentally. Check out your course and train appropriately.
Wear clothing that is tailored for running. If you are like me, you may have a drawer completely dedicated to all of your cotton T-shirts, but Coolmax or nylon will serve you best and not irritate your skin.
4. Do not overt train:
I learned this lesson the hard way. Many years ago, a friend and I were training for our first half marathon. More is better, right? Wrong! I never crossed trained, took days off or was dedicated to self-care. The week before the race I pulled a groin muscle so badly that I couldn’t even walk, let along run. All of that training and I ended up a spectator. (And that muscle still acts up from time to time.) One of my life’s motto’s is live and learn. It has applied here for me, and in other areas as well. Learn: find a training program and follow it. Vary your training and cross train. Make sure you are getting proper nutrition for the sport/race you are participating in, and listen to your body. It is wise and knows when to slow down, rest, or push through.
5. Set multiple goals:
If you are a race veteran, it may be a good idea to set out to beat your best time, but be sure to factor in another goal if it is hot, windy, raining, etc. If it is your first time calling yourself a runner, or participating in your first race, it may simply be about the experience and finishing! Either way, set goals that are appropriate for you, where you are at today, and have a back-up goal!6. Timing is everything:
If possible try to run at the same time everyday, allowing your body to form a rhythm. Better yet, try to run at the time of day that your race will take place.
7. Self talk:
No you are not crazy! Talking to yourself throughout the run is a must. Tell yourself you can do it, tell yourself the pain is temporary, tell yourself how amazing you are going to feel when you cross the finish line. This positive self talk is a great habitude to form and practice often.
Thinking of running, or looking for a few good resources to get you on the road? Check out Couch to 5K training or a Hal Higdon training program. I encourage you to recruit a friend, a spouse, or a co-worker to train with you. Working out with friends, and completing a goal together is a privilege! Consider joining a running club, reading up on tips with Runner’s World, and begin some research on some fun races in your area.Let me know if you are hitting the pavement! I am one of your biggest fans!