Gearing up for your first 5K, 10K, Half Marathon or Full Marathon? Congratulations!
With lots of great races scheduled nationwide, I went directly to the pros for tips and guidelines on how to stay focused, build stamina and meet (or exceed!) your goals. And since running requires both physical and mental exertion, we’ve got you covered in both categories for each distance.
Good luck and don’t forget to share any of your tips, tricks and words of wisdom with us on how to best reach that finish line!
5K – Physical Preparation
Steve Dunn – Marathon Runner, participant in 100+ races of all distances, and Owner of specialty store Hit the Trails ( www.hitthetrails.com ).
• For those who are literally just getting off their couches and have never run before, it’s important to slowly transition from walking to jogging to running. Take at least a month to start slow and build your way up to a faster pace.
5K – Mental Preparation
• Schedule your training in your calendar. Treat it like you would any other important appointment; otherwise, it’s likely to get pushed further and further back in the day until it gets pushed out altogether!
10K – Physical Preparation
Paul Dziewisz is a NASM and CrossFit Level 1 Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Active Personal Fitness in Doylestown, PA ( www.ActivePersonalFitness.com ).
Distance running is demanding on the body. An emphasis on cross-training improves cardio capacity and helps prevent injury. Plus it eliminates the boredom for running 4 days a week. My approach to training for a 10K places more focus on cross-training to improve your long-distance endurance.
• Progressively build your distance capability with one long run per week starting at 1-2 miles and increasing gradually to 6 miles.
10K – Mental Preparation
Cori Bank, Ph.D. – Sports Psychologist and Ironman Triathlon Finisher. His website offers free monthly videos on exercise tips and peak performance ( www.abingtonpsychology.com ).
• It’s psychologically beneficial to treat those last two weeks (prior to the race) as if you were running the ‘real thing’. Have a complete checklist and include all aspects – your pre-race meal and drinks, what music you want on your Ipod, your stretches and warm-ups, etc.
Half Marathon – Physical Preparation
Jason Fitzgerald is a coach and author of Strength Running, which helps runners transform their training ( www.strengthrunning.com ).
• Racing a half-marathon relies almost exclusively on your endurance, so prepare with one weekly long run in the 11-13 mile range.
Half Marathon – Mental Preparation
Keri Cawthorne, running coach and owner of Iron Mountain Movement ( www.ironmountainmovement.com ).
• Long runs are best with company. Run with a local running group, buddy or music, the time will pass much more quickly.
Full Marathon – Physical Preparation
Tom Holland is an exercise physiologist and sports performance coach. Author of The Marathon Method, The 12-Week Triathlete and Beat the Gym, Tom is a sub-3 hour marathoner and has completed over 50 marathons and 18 Ironman triathlons. ( www.teamholland.com ).
• Be sure to include at least one day of strength training per week into your program. Two is best.
Full Marathon – Mental Preparation
Andrew Johnston – Author of the February 2011 release, ‘Holistic Strength Training for Triathlon’ () with proceeds benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Andrew is a former professional cyclist, the first leukemia survivor to qualify for and finish the Hawaii Ironman World Championships, and twice voted One of the Top Trainers in America by Men’s Health.
• The starting line can be the most intimidating part of the race, especially for first timers. You’re surrounded by all of these fit athletes, many of whom look like they’re either out for a morning stroll or fast enough to rip your legs off! Congratulate yourself for being there and remember that towing the line is an accomplishment and a blessing — there are millions who do not have the time, the motivation, or the health to ever even consider participating. Think of the race as a 26.2 mile parade celebrating your vitality and life!
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