I will be leading a group 'Couch to 5K' at Lone Star Walking & Running Company in Fort Worth starting starting at the end of next month and I have some online clients training to run a 5K, so I have been pulling together some information on running your first or fastest race. Whether you are training to run your first 5K or your fastest marathon, these resources will help you reach your goal of crossing the finish line.
SET A GOAL
Decide upfront what your goal is for the race. For some it may just be to cross the finish line and that is a great goal. For others it may to cross without taking a walk break. Some people may have a time they want to beat, while others want raise money for a charity. It's your race, you decide what you want to get out of it. Your training will depend on your goal. Decide on your goal first, then work backwards to decide how to train to achieve it. I can help you.
I also recommend spending some thinking about your why. Why do you want to run this race? Having a why will help you keep going when you're in the middle of your training and the excitement of a new goal has worn off. Whether you're raising money for charity, to show your kids what setting and achieving a goal looks like, or to prove to yourself you can do it, having a reason for the goal will help you stick to it when the training gets tough. Try this goal setting exercise to get started.
WALKING TO RUNNING PLAN
There is no shame in walking. Even fast runners sometimes take walk breaks or follow a run/walk training protocol. You decide what works best for you. However, if you want to train to run a race without walk breaks, check out this post on how to transition from run/walk intervals to running without walking. Whatever goal you choose to pursue, consistency in your training is the path to success. It will be hard at first. Keep going. It doesn't get easier, but you get stronger.
WARM UP FOR RUNNERS
It's important to prep your body before a running workout. I suggest a dynamic warm up to prime your body for running. A dynamic stretch moves the joint through the full range of motion. A quick warm up increases blood flow, warms up muscles, improves hip mobility, core stability and balance. Check out this post for some warm up dynamic stretches.
HIP EXERCISES FOR RUNNERS
Hip strength is important for runners to develop because when you run with weak or underdeveloped hips it can lead to all sorts of problems. Strengthening your hips will support your hips, IT band and knees. A few minutes focusing on strengthening these muscles will go a long way in staying healthy (aka not injured) on the road.
STRENGTH TRAINING FOR RUNNERS
On your off running days, I highly recommend strength training for runners. You don't need to spend an hour in the gym pumping iron, just dedicate some time to runner-specific strength moves. Runners who strength train are stronger, faster and less prone to injury. Start here with my free strength training for runners program.
NUTRITION FOR RUNNERS
Nutrition matters. It matters for performance and recovery. It's important to fuel our workouts with healthy carbs, proteins and fats. Everyone can benefit from eating whole foods, mostly from nature when training for a race. For more information on nutrition for runners, check out this post.
INJURY PREVENTION FOR RUNNERS
You hear a lot about runner's getting injured, but is it because running is an unsafe sport? Is it bad for your knees? I say no. Runners who get injured likely made a critical error in their training. Don't feel bad, it happens to the best of us. If you plan ahead, know the risks, take proper precautions and listen to your favorite coach (that's me, in case you were wondering) then most people can run without injury. Check out my injury prevention checklist to make sure you are taking all the necessary precautions to avoid injury.
CONSIDER HIRING A COACH
We live in a time of informational overload. Knowledge is power, right? Not so fast. Knowledge is everywhere. Information is abundant. If all it took was the availability of information we'd all we walking around slim and fit with six pack abs. crushing our PRs.
Sure, you can look up a training plan on the internet. There are literally thousands to choose from, but these training plans weren't built for you specifically.
A coach can write a dynamic personalized plan for you based on your fitness abilities, lifestyle and goals. A coach can push you and cheer for you and deliver tough love when you need it. A coach will change your plan as you go to account for your personal progress.
You can do it on your own. A coach can help get you there faster. Coaches are not just for elite athletes and school kids. Recreational runners can benefit for the guidance from a coach.
Are you ready to crush your goal of running your first or fastest race? Any questions? I'd love to help.
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