It’s that time of year for marathons, half marathons, five-milers, 5Ks, and other various runs to take over your weekend schedule as we begin to head into the warmer months.
If you don’t properly train, it could be a long summer of pain and injuries.
Training is different for every runner because we’re all at different stage levels of fitness. If you’re a beginner to doing a marathon or any race, it’s important to keep to a strict schedule. Much like running the race, training requires a certain mental toughness that will drive you when your body starts to break down.
The key to running long distances is to train gently. Give yourself enough time to prepare your body to meet your goal, whether it be to finish a five-mile race in under 50 minutes or to complete a full marathon. If you don’t consistently run, it will take more time to complete these goals.
It’s best to start out slow months ahead of your race. Building up your endurance along the way with shorter runs will keep your legs healthy. Otherwise, you risk injury.
As noted by the running schedule at CoolRunning.com, pick two days apart to rest with no running. They suggest Monday and Friday. You should run a shorter distance on the days after a rest day. You should also pick a day for your long run of the week. Based on their example, Sunday would be the long run day.
Click here to check out the 20-week training schedule on CoolRunning.com.
So what are some additional training tips?
You will always want to alternate easy and hard days, according to UCSFHealth.org. If you miss a day of training, don’t try to play catch up by pushing extra hard. This is a big injury risk. Run on hills if you want to increase your stamina.
It’s also recommended that you warm up beforehand and cool down afterwards. Don’t throw yourself right into the fire without raising your heart rate and preparing your muscles, tendons and lungs for a run. Your warm up should include gentle loosening exercises, light jogging and stretching. Your warm up can last between five and 60 minutes so be sure to set aside time for it.
The cool down period is essential to staying healthy. Cooling down consists of 10 minutes of easy running to gradually bring down your heart rate to a normal level. It’s also a good time to stretch since your muscles are already loose and will make you better prepared for the next day’s run.
Stay hydrated. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. You should be drinking water during a run, especially when running for a long period of time.
Also, wear proper shoes. If you wear old worn down shoes, you run the risk of an injury. Make sure there is enough padding for your foot for your comfort.
If you begin to experience any pain following a run, please contact Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine. We specialize in many areas including foot, ankle, knee and hip.
More information: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_4/130.shtml
More information: http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/running_a_marathon_training_tips/