Training for a race is a lot of fun, but takes a lot of consistency and commitment. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am training for my 2nd attempt at the Vienna Half Marathon. Last year my training was fantastic, I felt great…until race day. It was 10 degrees Celsius hotter than usual, I don’t think I drank enough water & my knee started giving me problems. So, I am back at it again and trying not to repeat any of my same training mistakes.
Here are my 8 tips when training for a race:
- Have a plan: Whether you found a random beginners plan online (that’s what I did for my first half-marathon) or you have a running coach…you need a plan. You want to start about 16 weeks out if you’re training for a half marathon to ensure you’re fit, strong and reach your goal without getting injured or overtraining.
- Put your workouts in your calendar: I personally do my calendar online and I put what my workout is for the day as an “all day” meeting so it shows up at the top of my day. Then when I am planning my day, I will add in the training to an actual time slot when I will get it done. If you want more strategies on how to master your calendar, be more productive and have more free time – snag my 5×5 Positively Productive video series for only 5 bucks!
- Give a f*^% about your shoes: I know that good quality running shoes can be pricey, but seriously they are SO important. And you need to replace your shoes every 500 – 800 km (depending on the make and model). Don’t just buy a random pair that’s super cheap, get your stride and food analyzed and find the perfect running shoe for you. I didn’t do this for like 5 years of running and I completely regret it!
- Recovery is part of your training plan: Rest days should be honored 100%. Your body needs the time to rest & recover if you expect to perform optimally and pain-free. Stretching, foam rolling, yoga, meditating, getting a good nights sleep, walking, reading, counting your blessings – are just some of the fantastic ways you can give back to your body for training so hard.
5. Nutrition is sooooo important: And it ain’t all about carbs. Yes carbs give you energy but some people perform better on a high-fat diet and that’s what works for them. The thing is, you have to take the time and care enough about your body to FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. No one can tell you what makes you feel the best and everyone is different.
6. Rethink sugary drinks & gels: Have you ever read the ingredients on these so-called sports drinks and energy gels? They are full of artificial flavors, chemicals and TONS of sugar. I hear a lot of people tell me that they gain so much weight after training for a race and it’s often because they were completely overdoing it on the sugar (which is addicting) and that craving carried on after the race was over. You have to be mindful.
7. Practice running in your race-day gear: Clothes, shoes, gloves, belt, jacket, headband…whatever you’re going to run your race in – wear it during your training to make sure it fits and nothing slips or feels uncomfortable. The last thing you want is your pants to ride up your tank top to chafe…trust me.
8. Get excited: Yes you do want to take your training seriously and having a goal is great – but enjoy the journey. I’ve seen so many runners obsess about their training, burn out and then not have any fun. Don’t beat up on yourself – ENJOY IT!
I hope you found these tips helpful. And I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes, “I am a runner because I run.” I am not sure who said it, but it’s a great reminder for those crazy thoughts that come into our heads saying, “I can’t run fast”, “I can’t run longer than 1km”, “I have never done a race before…” If you run, you are a runner!