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May 09, 2017

Get Your Training off to a Smart Start

Written by Jennifer Van Allen

Here are six tips to help you start charging toward race day.

blackrunningshoeTake it easy. Most of your runs should be done at a comfortable, conversational pace. These easy runs allows you to get time on your feet to build a solid base of aerobic fitness, without getting hurt. Many runners take their easy runs too fast, risking injury, and sapping the energy they need for quality workouts, like intervals and long runs. As a result, they end up stuck in the medium-hard zone,  and frustrated that they can’t reach their goals.

Make some plans. Look at your schedule, and see how your major workouts like long runs and speed sessions will fit in with all your family, work, and social commitments. If you need to move workouts around, that’s typically okay—as long as you don’t do two hard workouts back to back. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Just write to us at coach@runcoach.com.

Get dressed. It’s tempting to wear whatever athletic shoes and apparel you have on hand, but it’s not a good idea. Ill-fitting and worn-out shoes can lead to injury. Clothing not geared for athletics can make any run uncomfortable. Go to a specialty running store and get fitted for a pair of shoes that offer your feet the fit and support they need. Get apparel made of technical materials that wick moisture away from the skin. It will help you stay cool and dry when you feel hot and sweaty, and help minimize uncomfortable chafing. It may seem like a big investment, but it’s money, time, and stress you’ll save by staying out of the doctor’s office.

Eat like an athlete. What you eat and drink will have a huge impact on how you feel while you’re on the road. Eat wholesome, unprocessed foods that will help you unleash your strength and speed. Figure out which pre-run foods will boost your energy without upsetting your stomach. For any run of 70 minutes or longer, you’ll want to refuel while you’re on the road to keep your energy levels steady. Aim for 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour.  Consume midrun fuel at even intervals—don’t wait until you’re tired or hungry, it will be too hard to regain your energy. There are a variety of sports gels, drinks, chews and bars on the market. Experiment with different flavors, brands and formulas to figure out what sits well with you. And be sure to recover right after tough workouts, especially intervals and long runs. Within 30 minutes of finishing your workout, have a wholesome snack or meal with protein and carbs to restock spent energy stores, and bounce back quickly for your next workout.  As you ramp up your mileage, resist the temptation to eat with abandon. It’s shockingly easy to eat back all the calories you just burned – and then some— end up at the starting line heavier than when you started training. The more wholesome your diet, the better you’ll feel during your runs.

Develop good drinking habits. Dehydration has been proven to drag down pace and make even easy runs feel difficult. Sip calorie-free fluids throughout the day to make sure you’re well hydrated going into each workout. Aim for half your body weight in ounces each day. So if you weigh 160 pounds (or 72.5 Kg), aim for 80 ounces of fluids per day. If you weigh 130 pounds (59 Kg), aim for 65 ounces per day.

Buddy up. Join a friend or a running group—the miles roll by faster when you have others to socialize with—especially during speed sessions and long runs.

Reach out for help. Any time you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help! Contact us at coach@runcoach.com.

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