You want to run a race. You have some ideas, and maybe you’ve even registered. That's great! But...now what?
We’ll give it to you straight, Here are some fundamental must-dos to have you fit, excited, and ready come race day:
Make sure you have time to properly prepare. A normal marathon build is 16-20 weeks, depending on your fitness. Shorter races will take less time to “get ready” for (aka be able to complete), but the longer you have, the more potential to gain fitness. Plan accordingly
Think about extraneous factors that will affect training. Live in a northern climate? Training for a spring race will require lots of chilly runs or time on the treadmill. Live in the south? Fall goals will necessitate lots of HOT training days through the summer. Love celebrating thanksgiving and Christmas? Planning training and social events together might make a Jan or Feb race challenging.
Deal with injuries! You want your body robust and durable before you ask more of it by building your training volume or intensity. Heal niggles so that they don’t exasperate.
Make sure your footwear is up for the task. Haven’t bought new shoes in years? Now is the time!
Start training at the level you are currently at, not where you wish you were. Be realistic, and build from there. Doing too much too soon sets you up for injury and burnout.
Know what your goals are. Is your goal to complete or compete? Are you most motivated by a new PR or a finisher medal? Make sure to communicate this with your coach so that your team is on the same page.
In essence, a little intention goes a long way. Use these tips to guide your training and find out what you can do!
By Jessica O’Connell MSc, CSEP-CEP, OLY.