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Training tips for road races

Posted: 03/03/2010 01:58:21 AM PST

Published in The Redlands Daily Facts - 3/03/10
Re-printed with permission.

This is the fifth in a series of columns exploring a number of running topics from multiple sources in the community. The columns will run every Wednesday until the 27th annual Run Through Redlands event on Sunday, April 18.

This year's Kiwanis Club of Redlands Run Through Redlands is just over six weeks away.

If you are toying with the idea of participating, now is the time to get in shape. But before you suit up in running shoes and workout gear, consider these key items in preparing for the race:

1. Set a goal whether you are running the 5k/10k or half marathon have a goal in mind such as a personal record (PR) for the course or just finishing or trying to medal in your age group.

2. Wear the right equipment. Get a pair of running shoes that fit comfortable and will handle the training specific for running. Visit your local running shoe store so they can fit you with the right shoe on your running gait and style.

Wear light weight clothing so you can dissipate the sweat and heat when you run. Your body needs to cool when you run and you will run more efficiently.

3. Train. Don't go on the course without proper training. Try to train at least three days a week if just attempting to complete the run or more often if you are more competitive.

Run a few runs at your goal pace or faster with a few tempo runs each week so you can build an internal clock in your head of your race pace.

Running on a track or treadmill with screens showing your mile pace can help. Find a running coach to help you with your training program.

For those running the longer distances such as the 10k and half-marathon you will need to run at least one long run a week at your goal distance or even a few miles longer. Build up slowly each week. Only increase your mileage 10 percent per week to avoid injury.

Consistency in training is the key. Taking long periods off will take you back to where you started and now where you left off in training.

4. Hydrate. Most runners do not replenish after their workouts. Always drink water or an electrolyte drink immediately after your workout and all day if possible. You will be able to handle the extreme weather conditions if hydrated.

5. Eat smart. Don't have a heavy protein meal (Steak) the night before your race or it will just sit in your stomach digesting when you need blood to go to your legs while you are competing.

6. Know the course. Drive or jog the course so you know where the ups and downs of the course and where all the turns are.

You can drop opposing runners by accelerating on every turn and picking up the pace on each down hill.

7. Have fun when you run. Enjoy the course and spectators.

To register for the Run Through Redlands, or for more information about the event, visit www.redlands-events.com, or call the Kiwanis Club of Redlands' 24-hour info line at 909-748-0637.