September is here! This means 5k season is heating up! Congratulations- you’ve made the decision to get in shape, and whether your goal is to run a full marathon or simply a few laps around the neighborhood or on the boardwalk, there are a few steps to consider taking before you strap on those shoes and head toward the finish line.
Here are a few tips to help get you ready for the big race:
Seek Quality Sneakers – Feet come in a variety of widths and sizes, so visit a specialty running store to find perfect-fitting sneakers. These may come with a hefty price tag, but there are no shortcuts for comfort and support while running long distances.
Make a Schedule – Try to aim for at least 10 hours of training per week, including three days where you run and two or three days of other physical activity such as cycling or strength training. To avoid exhaustion, be sure to include at least 1-2 “rest” days per week.
Stick with Water – Avoid sports drinks that are loaded with preservatives and sugars. You can’t go wrong with the hydrating power of water. As a rule, try to consume at least 6-8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes you run. Proper hydration after the run is also vital.
Go Online – Many websites have training guides for various skill levels or different types of races. If you have a smartphone, look for apps that can take you through day-by-day workouts to get you marathon-ready.
Nutrition – Filling your body with the proper amount of fuel can help ensure finish-line success. Load up on quality carbohydrates, such as beans, peas, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain cereals, apples, brown rice and root vegetables. Protein also plays an important role in a runner’s nutrition, so fill up on lean meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, peanut butter and soy protein sources, as well.
By following these general rules, you’ll be able to focus on achieving your goal and enjoy the thrill of finishing the race.