Today we'll be answering these questions:
- How much time do I need to prepare myself for my first race?
- What are the best stretches to perform?
First Race Training
If you are a beginner and you want to try for your first 5k (3.1 miles), you want at least six weeks to train. This is training only three days per week, skipping every other day. For example, your first week should be:
On the second week, increase the time running to at least 5 extra minutes on both Monday and Wednesday. For the long run on Friday, increase to two miles. During the third week, add a few more minutes and distance:
You're getting the idea, right!? Keep continuing with that pattern so on the fourth week the long run will be 3 miles and 3.5 miles on the fifth week. The sixth week is race day! Good luck!
Half or Full Marathon
The key to training in this case are your long run days. Twelve weeks give you plenty of time to build up to a 10 mile long run. The goal is to get up to a 10 mile long run every week. You should commit to four running days per week to be able to finish your first half-marathon. Again, keep the plan simple so you and your body know what to expect.
Once you have your first race under your belt, training should shift to focus on gaining speed for race day. The way to gain speed is to increase distance! For example, your long run days should be 13 or 14 miles. They don't need to be fast. It's the distance that is key if you want to race fast.
After a race it is very important to stretch! It help to remove the lactic acid that builds up in muscles during a race. Runner's World has some amazing examples of stretches that you can perform and illustrations to make them easier to understand.
Have fun and keep hitting that pavement!
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