“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles is sure to have trouble.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
What’s the best way to train to run a race? Any race, be it your first 5k, or your 8th marathon?
The answer is simple; you have to run. Yes, it’s that simple. The principle of running is that you run to run. But how far? And how often? And what do I eat? And what shoes are the best? What about speed work? And hill training?
What follows is a very basic outline of how to get started and get the most out of your training experience. (Please note – we will be offering a 5k to Half Marathon Training Series starting March 28 and ending on June 13, 2015 at the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon … another goal setting opportunity perhaps?!! xo)
- Your Attitude
“I hate this.” “Running sucks.” “I’m not a runner.” Do any of these sound familiar? Have any of these thoughts bounced around in your mind? Don’t worry, everyone has these thoughts; even Olympic marathon medalists. But you can change that message.
“I love this!” “I’m getting stronger with every step.” “Running is keeping me healthy.” “ I AM a runner!.”
No one but you can lace up your running shoes and get out there. You don’t need to win races, or even beat anyone in a race to be a “runner.” If you run, you’re a runner! End of story.
2. Your Running Schedule
Ah, here’s the rub. Basically, to have a successful race, you need to train. Build a base. It’s the foundation on which you can then increase distance and speed. That means lacing up those shoes and going out for a run. The bonus here is, that as a Booty Camper, you’re already doing that, at least 4 times a week! You need to have an aerobic base to run any given distance successfully. That means putting in some miles. Slow, easy runs. How far depends on what you’re training for, as does how often. But a good rule of thumb is to try to run at least 3-4 days a week.
Hill workouts are only needed AFTER you’ve built your base. Same with speed, or track, workouts.
3. Your Shoes
Wear good running shoes. Your body will thank you, and you’re less likely to get hurt. Yes, they can be expensive, but if you really want to be successful, good shoes are key. Each person has different feet, be it high or low arches, pronation or supination, and so on. Go to a local running store and try on different shoes to find the ones that are perfect for you. They are experts in what they do, and will allow you to actually run in the shoe and will watch your gait to see what is best for you. I’ve had success with these stores in particular:
Super Jock n Jill
West Seattle Runner
The owners of these stores are local runners themselves.
4. Your Clothes
Be comfortable, above all. Cotton is not your friend, as when it gets wet (as it will when you sweat) it clings and can lead to chafing. The running stores have good gear, but you can generally wear the same thing you wear to booty camp. Stick with tech or wool. Layer when needed, and remember that as you stand there being cold, you’ll warm up very quickly when you start to run.
5. Your Recovery
Listen to your body! If you are just starting out, you may need more rest. If there’s a certain body part (usually knees or feet) that is starting to nag at you, stop then to assess it. If you try to “run through it” or “tough it out”, you’ll probably get injured. Talk to your trainer at that point. Sleep is key, as is stretching, and when needed, a foam roller. Epsom salt baths relax the muscles before sleep, as well as a magnesium/calcium vitamin before bed. Also, hint hint: Join us for Yoga Fridays here!
6. Your Nutrition
You need fuel to run. We could spend days covering this topic alone, but suffice it to say that the fuel should come in the form of carbs (burn quickest) and a little protein. Protein is more for after you run, for helping to build muscle tissue. Staying hydrated is also key, so make sure to drink your water.
7. Your Race Day
The main event! Have your clothes laid out the night before, with your race number pre-attached if at all possible. Whatever you’ve been doing in terms of nutrition and clothing during training, stick with this on race day. Never wear new shoes or clothes on race day! That is, clothes or shoes you’ve not worn before this day. That just opens the door to chafing, blisters and a generally bad time.
This is a VERY brief synopsis to get you started. So let’s hit the road!
-Contributed by Trainer Michelle