So you want to train to run a long-distance race? That’s fantastic, but like any form of exercise, long-distance race running is a sport that requires discipline and training. Whether you are new to running or just new to racing, we have tips that can help you reach your goals.
Getting Started: Setting Goals
The most important thing you can do to get started is to set your goal and stick to it. Visualize where you will be at the end and map out a reasonable timeline that will work for you. Your goals motivate you to train, so keep them in mind over the course of the training period.
Running is a physical sport, but it requires mental endurance as well. Pay attention to the demands of your body and listen. Don’t be afraid to start slow until you get used to the physical demands. Employ proper breathing techniques and posture.
Involve your brain in the process by developing a plan that works for you. Listen to the right music to get you into the zone. Stretching is an important element of any training plan, so be sure to strike a proper balance between strengthening and stretching.
Eat for Success
Training includes fueling your body for maximum performance, and it starts long before the race. A diet based on a proper balance of good protein like chicken breasts, healthy fats like avocado or olive oil, and smart carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa is the way to go.
Of course, fruit and veggies are important, and your body will likely start craving them with the increased physical demands you put on your body.
Gearing Up for the Big Day
There are a few key things you can do over the course of your training to make sure you will succeed on the day of the actual run.
- Don’t skip practice runs
- Train during the time of day that you’ll actually be running
- Cross-train with other forms of exercise to give your muscles a rest
- Find support with a running buddy who will keep you accountable
- Plan your hydration plan – get about 6-10 ounces for every 2-3 miles
- Get plenty of sleep
Most importantly, give yourself a pat on the back for committing to this endeavor. It’s not easy, but you should be proud for having a goal and sticking to it.
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