By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
It’s hard to believe that the holidays have already come and gone. For most of us it’s back to school, back to work, or just back to the grind. It’s also a great time to start thinking about building a solid foundation for those spring races! Most races take place at the end of April or the middle of May, so there’s no time like the present to get moving so you can feel strong and powerful while preventing injury during your training. Whether you set a goal to run a 5k, 10k, full or half-marathon this year, this blog post is for you.
If you are doing a spring race, this is what you should be doing now:
1. Capitalize on strength. I typically recommend that people start strength training about three to four months before the race. Most online running programs won’t tell you this…but take my word for it. This is your opportunity to lay the groundwork and build endurance. Aim to incorporate strength training at least one day per week, ideally two.
2. Focus on your core, legs and glutes. By strengthening these muscles, you’re building the foundation you need as you increase your mileage. Most importantly, working these muscle groups prevents injury…plus who doesn’t want toned abs, legs and a booty?
3. Slowly incorporate running. In addition to your strength training, you may also consider adding in some light mileage. Shoot for two to five miles a couple times per week, depending on your race distance. Be sure to take your runs at a mild pace when you’re starting out. This means that you could easily hold a conversation with someone as you’re running. Around February, consider upping your mileage and incorporating speed work.
4. Shop for quality shoes. This will get you started on the right path as you build from the ground up (quite literally). Plus, if you were looking for an excuse to go shopping, here it is! A good pair of shoes is critical when running any type of race, and you don’t want to wait until race day to get them. You should train in the shoes that you’ll wear for the main event. If you’ve been wearing the same shoes for a long time (over 300-500 miles) it’s probably time to consider a new pair. Your joints will thank you.
5. Get plenty of sleep. Good sleep is important for your overall health in general, but it’s extra important when you’re in training mode. Getting a full eight hours helps your body recover properly and gives you the energy you need to get through those tough workouts as you build intensity. It’s never too early to start improving your sleep hygiene!
6. Don’t forget about nutrition. While I could write a whole other blog post on this topic, (stay tuned) I’ll keep it brief. Be sure you’re getting a healthy balance of protein and carbs, specifically before and after your runs and strength training exercises.
Best of luck starting your training regimen! If you need help from an expert or want a plan customized to YOU, let's chat!