First lets get past the word RACE. It is not meant to be intimidating. It is not just for the elite or the 7 minute milers. It is for the person looking to add something more to their workout or for that extra motivation to get out the door for a 15-30 minute jog after work. You don’t have to be a Kara Goucher or Meb Keflezighi to sign up.
Pick a distance: The 5k (3.1 mile) is popular at the beginner level for a challenge as well as those that are more experienced to use as speed work. The 10k (6.2miles) requires a bit more training and is the natural step up from the 5k but still not terribly intimidating. The Half Marathon (13.1 miles) gives you more of a sense of accomplishment when you cross the Start line much less the Finish line. This 13.1 distance is still manageable with running 3-4 times a week. Your long run on the weekend will average about two hours with time to still spend with your family and friends. The Full Marathon (26.2 miles) requires the most commitment on your time and body. It is a test of endurance that you should not go into hastily. You will have to run 4-5 days a week at a minimum and follow a plan based on your personal level. The recovery and time commitment is harder than the previous mentioned distances but the reward is great.
Next pick a race: Will you do a local race or pick a destination race? Whichever you choose you must do your homework. Read race recaps online or check out their Facebook page for comments to make sure you pick a legitimate race and not one of those copy cat races just looking to make a buck. You want the most for your experience.
Make a plan: Look online for a training calendar for your chosen race distance with the time frame that works best for you whether its 6 weeks out for a 5k or 3 months out before your Half Marathon. Record your progress on a training log. Don’t forget to work on your nutrition and hydration. I would also recommend you add stretching and some overall body strengthening to your cross training. Follow the 10% rule by not adding more than 10% to your distance weekly. These tips will help you stay healthy and uninjured. Sign up for some motivational, educational emails from your favorite runners through their websites online for extra encouragement and guidance.
When your race date nears PREPARE: Make a list ahead of time what you will need for the race such as clothes, extra money, ID, sunglasses, sunblock etc. Lay out your clothes ahead of time so you are not rushing on race morning to get out of the house on time. Check the race course to see what fluids will be offered and at what mile markers.
Lastly: Don’t forget to look up and SMILE when you come across that Finish line.
Feel free to ask any questions. I am here to help! Enjoy Your Journey!
*Reminder: Please consult your doctor before starting any new exercise plan*