The first thing in race training is choosing the right race for you, whether that is a 5k, half-marathon, of a full marathon. I personally chose my past three marathons on the distance (driving) factor. Des Moines and the Quad Cities are within driving distance and were a central location for my family to meet up. There are not a lot of options in Iowa for full marathons, so sometimes you have to do your research and see if there are races in neighboring states that you could make a weekend out of. Chicago is also close by, which is another reason I run the half marathon there every summer. Chicago will be fall marathon this year and I could not be more excited! I love everything about the city and am looking forward to running a flat marathon for once!
Speaking of flat, that is another thing to consider when choosing a race. Most race websites will give you an elevation chart of the course- LOOK AT THAT! The Des Moines Marathon was much hillier than I expected, and I was not prepared for that the first time I ran that. If you choose to run a race with a hillier route, make sure to include hill running into your program. Actually, even if you are running a flat course it would be a good idea to include hills into your weekly runs.
Little things I look at when registering for a race are:
- What is the money going towards?
- Crowd support (a really important thing for me!)
- Race Expo
- Course Amenities
- Driving Distance
- Cost of registration
- Do I get a sweet medal?
I cannot stress enough how important strength training is in your training program. It is one of the biggest factors in preventing injury. Read my article on strength training HERE.
For time reasons I split up my upper body and lower body to different days. I do lower body on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and upper body on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. That’s just what works best for me- if you want to combine upper and lower body in one day go ahead! Just remember to allow your muscles one full day of rest in between.
Core work may seem like a small part of running, but it has a huge impact on overall performance. During my first marathon I did not do enough core work and suffered because of it. My lower back hurt a lot during the last 5 miles of the race; something that could have been prevented from doing core work consistently throughout training.For information on the importance of core work, and my core routine check this article out HERE .
If you have an extra 15-20 minutes a few days a week you should be able to fit in core. I personally do core in the evenings when I am watching television. Right now I am doing my core workout 3 times, and doing each exercise for 60 seconds. I wait 1-2 minutes in betweens sets, and it takes be about 15-20 minutes.
Runners (and other athletes) tend to suffer from tight muscles. Correctly stretching, warming up, and cooling down need to be apart of your daily run 100% of the time! I am guilty of skipping these due to time, but you really should not. If I skip a good stretch after a long run I will pay for it all day with tight hamstrings. Please read this article on how to properly warm up, stretch, and cool down from your run! Read it my article HERE .
Nutrition is a key component of general well-being and exercise. I am not a dietician, but I do know that eating a healthy, well balanced meal is the key to living a health life. Read my article on healthy eating HERE.