So, you have done it, you made the decision to train for your first race! How exciting and terrifying at the same time. Whether you are training for your first 5K, marathon, duathlon, or even triathlon there are some simple tips that can help us all be more successful on race day.
Race Training 10 Simple Tips
Pick and Register for Your Race Early
Selecting your race is the very first step in your journey. I cannot encourage you enough to plan and select your race early. Why? Training is key to finishing any race successfully and what do you need for training? Time! Pick your race early and give yourself more than enough time to train.
Find and Follow a Training Program
Going hand in hand with tip one, find a training program and do your best to follow it. Giving yourself the proper amount of time and training sessions to have a successful race.
Modify the Training Program
Confusing right? Didn’t I just say to find and follow a training program and now I am telling you to modify it? Well, unless you have a trained professional custom design a program for you, you will undoubtedly have to modify a general training guide you find and decide to use. Why? The plan was not directly made for you and will never be a 100% good fit as is. You will have to change and modify it as necessary to fit your life, needs, and abilities. This is something a bit difficult for those new to racing to wrap their brains around, but it is a necessity and will ultimately lead to a more pleasant training experience
Be Prepared for Setbacks & Missed Training Days
Setbacks happen and anyone who has gone through any type of race training knows that they happen to all of us. These can be a result of work, family, illness, injury, etc. Be prepared to possibly miss some training days and have a game plan for how to handle this when it does occur.
Handling Missed Training Days
It’s happened, you have missed some training days. The first step is to not panic and feel defeated. Just breath. Get back on track.
Be prepared for your mind to attempt to come up with every excuse possible to get you out of doing training. This is natural and it is your body/mind’s way of trying to protect itself. Training is hard work and it is optional. Therefore, be prepared for your body/mind to try to “save” you from doing this nonessential hard work.
Choose your gear and train with it. Know your body and what kind of gear works the best for you. This will be trial and error to find what works for you.
Some basic gear tips:
- Invest in a good pair of running shoes that were fit by a professional
- Ladies, a properly fit high impact sports bra is essential
- Moisture-wicking socks are a must for long distance runs (anything over a 10K)
- Invest in a good pair of clip in cycling shoes with pedals fit by a professional
- Get a professional bike fitting – it is worth the money
- Cycling shorts are necessary – your butt and crotch area will thank you
Commitment and Positivity
Much of training and race completion is actually in your head. If you believe you can do it, you will do it. Stay committed and positive in your abilities to achieve your goal.
Every single training session should have a purpose. Why are you putting in 4 miles? What is the end goal? What is this workout going to help me achieve? Go into every single workout with a goal in mind.
Common goals/purpose of training sessions:
- Strength (hill drills)
- Endurance and stamina (Long slower training sessions)
- Power (sprints – short bursts of high-intensity intervals)
Be Prepared for Race Day
You have been planning for this day and it is finally here! You put in the hours and hard work and now is the time to let it all pay off. When preparing for race day here are some important tips:
- Do not do anything different – Wear gear you have trained in, eat foods and drink beverages that you have trained with, etc.
- Get plenty of rest the night before the race
- Plan for recovery time post race
- Have fun!