So you’ve been running for a bit now and been wanting to sign up for a race but not sure how to train for one? Well here are my tips and tricks to make your 5k, 10k, half-marathon, and etc within reach!
When I first started out, I never even thought of doing a race because I was only running for fun and I wasn’t even aware there were so many road races or just road races in general (I was young… haha) until one day when I was around 15-16, my best friend was like “Do this race with me” and being her best friend, did I really have a choice? :P Well so race day came and went and I ran it with her. After that first race (I still have the t-shirt they gave!) I was hooked! It took a while for me to grasp a training routine because I mainly just ran for cross country and badminton and all they told us to do was run laps (and hills/stairs) so I did a little research and this is what I found to have worked best for me.
Make it flexible
There were so many times I couldn’t make time to train due to conflicting practices/work/class work that had to be done and being a tiny 16 year old girl, there was no way my parents would have agreed to early am or late pm runs, even after school around 4pm runs made them nervous (what if you were kidnapped?! or hit by a car?! or get tired?!) so I had to be flexible. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a training run or two, just relax and pick up where you left off.
Have a reason
My second race ever, I decided to do some fundraising. Having people around me know that I’m running keeps me in check when I decided to want to just lay around on a Sunday instead of hitting the road. Also, if you make it not about yourself, there’s less pressure. It’s not “I have to win” “I have to PR” “I have to place” but instead “I’m doing this for someone else. So they have benefit from the funds I’m trying to raise.” I found that to give me less pressure when it came to timing/pacing anxiety.
Make little training goals
I am a sucker for procrastinating by making super detailed and hard training plans because it feels like I’m being productive with my training when really, I’m just wasting time. So set little goals at first such as running at least 3 times this week, going at least once a week to the track for intervals, running up the hill instead of walking up it, etc. Then when you’re doing, write them down! Seeing it on paper later on when you’re feeling like you just can’t do it keeps you going. Look at all you’ve accomplished so far and it’ll keep you motivated. :) And don’t forget to give yourself time! Training goals should be spread out. The spread depending on what your race is. For my half marathon, I gave myself 2-3 months to train for it and spread my training goals out within it. Starting with running 3 days a week, 4 days a week, 3 days with 1 long run, 3 days with 1 speedwork day, 2 days with 1 long run and 1 hill work day. Making too much training goals at once (ie 3 days a week, 1 hill day, 1 speedwork day, and 1 long run day) can not only cause injury via overusing/overworking muscles, but can bring you down when you are unable to fulfill those goals right off the bat.
Set realistic time goals
I don’t know who you are but I can tell you this, crap happens. You may try to PR, but race day is super hot and humid, don’t feel bad for changing your time goal because your health comes first. It could be your first race ever, don’t expect to place first right off the bat – I’m not saying you won’t win for sure but unless you’re Mo Farah debuting his first marathon after collecting gold medals under your belt for years… you may not win the race.
Make a list
Making a list of what you need for the day of the race and then packing it the night before makes for a stress-free morning the next day. Give yourself some time to get everything together so you don’t end up at the start line with the wrong pair of underwear on (chafing is a real problem people!).
And most importantly… Have Fun!