Thinking about doing a marathon? What about a half-marathon?
When choosing what kind of race to sign up for, it is important to begin training well before the month of your race.
Even with a 5km race, it is suggested to start a training program a few months before your big day! This will ensure your pace and strength is peaked at the time of your race day. For longer races, such as a marathon, you will want at least a 12-week training period to prepare your body for the run and gain confidence with the distance.
Things you will want to prepare yourself for before your race will be: various conditions, terrain, weather, and distance. If you are new to running, you will want to find what you feel most comfortable wearing, and most importantly, what shoes best support your body and running style.
Another item I recommend investing in? A tracker. I always want to set myself up for success during the months of training, including heart rate, cadence, pace, elevation and weekly kilometres. First learning how to pace your runs, especially for longer distances, will help determine your estimated time and where you will need to work on during your race. Being able to look down at your wrist and see if you need to push yourself more or slow down to manage a longer distance is imperative for completing a long run.
Figuring out what helps motivate you or keep you going during your race sometimes takes trial and error. This may be as simple as a good song, or playlist, a friend to run along side with, or an incentive at the end of your run.
During the training period, I like to create a well-rounded program based on strength, endurance, recovery, and speed. It is recommended that if you can already complete your race distance, to practice once a week. If you are not there yet, once a week will be your day to work up to the longer distance. Once you’ve done that, you can get away with running just two more days a week to be prepared to run the race, giving you a total of three running days per week to be able to finish. You should cross-train two days a week, and then take one day a week off.
The schedule might look like this:
- Monday: easy run
- Tuesday: workout
- Wednesday: cross-training
- Thursday: cross-training
- Friday: easy run
- Saturday: long run
- Sunday: off or brisk walk
No matter how long of a race you do, what matters most is that you start off with a plan and a goal in mind. This is going to help you feel confident and ready to go conquer your race.