Training for your First Race!
One of the very most important things you have to do is land on the ball of your feet. I also use my toes to push off. If you land on your heel you are going to ruin your knees! This is a proven fact!! I’ve had injuries in the past, so learn from my mistakes! When you want to go faster, resist the temptation to take longer strides! All the action should be in your foot, ankle and calf. If you’re going it right you’ll feel it in most in your calves and feet. I actually tell myself to shorten my stride and advance my cadence (how many time your feet are going back and forth).
When you are training don’t go crazy. I usually run 3 days a week. The first day is the long run (endurance). All the days in between running are for yoga and strength exercises (runners always need to strengthen their hips). The next say is a shorter faster run (speed). Yoga & strength again. And the third running day I do Intervals (burst of speed).
Intervals train your muscles to surge with a burst of speed. This is good for when you need to pass someone and at the end when you are tired. This is how I do my intervals:
Five minutes of warm up run.
Then run as fast as you possibly can for one full minute
Walk for one minute (you’ll need it).
Do the fast run/walk 3 times.
The last walk is for two minutes.
Do the above round (except the warm up) 4 more times.
This will train your muscles to give a burst of speed, when you need it.
Make sure you have water handy. Either leave water at your turn around spot, or locate water fountains along the way. But make sure you are hydrating before you feel thirsty!
I like to carry my own water. My water bottle has a pocket that holds my phone and my car key. The sleeve around the bottle is elastic and my hand slips in it, so that I don’t have to hold onto the bottle so tightly. It also has my ID, cause you never know.
The best advice I can give you at race day, is don’t start out too fast. Hopefully you have a watch that will give you your pace. When you start out all the ‘amateurs’ take off like a bat out of hell! You must resist the urge to follow them! You’ll feel like they’re all leaving you behind and you’ll feel like you’re the very last one. BUT if keep to your own pace, you will be passing those people half way through! It’s always more enjoyable for me to pass those people (who are usually half my age), than it is to cross the finish line!!
Don’t do anything different with your eating and drinking for the race, than you do while training. You don’t need any surprises in the middle of the race. I don’t even use any new clothes. I very rarely wear the shirt they give you. Little things like a tag poking you, can be a real problem and distract you!
Enjoy it! Don’t forget to have fun and get friends and family to take lots of pictures!
If you get totally freaked out and say to yourself, “Oh my God! What am I doing here?! I can’t do this!!” You need to shut up that naysayer in your head. Listen to the runner inside of you and remind yourself, “I’ve done this in training, I CAN do this! If all else fails I can still walk.”
Let me know if you have questions or just want to let me know if I’m helping you at all! Donna