Julie and Kathryn at the 2018 Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Run in Philadelphia finishing under 27 minutes! Great way to start off their race season.
Guess what? It’s that time of year again where I start my training for 5k’s, 10k’s, Half-Marathons and Tough Mudder.
When I tell people I’m training for a race, they always look at me like I am crazy. And their usual response is “Why” or “I am not a runner” or “I hate running” or “I suck at running.” But here’s the honest truth, I also hated running. I mean I dreaded running and would do anything in my power to get out of it. Ask my volleyball coaches if you don’t believe me.
I always blamed being “bad” at running on my knees (from knee surgery), my back, having asthma, etc. You name it, and I had an excuse. Come to find out, it was all in my head and I actually was a decent runner. With a few races under my belt, I also realized it’s not that people cannot run it’s more than they need proper equipment and motivation.
I tell people all the time that running is just like riding a bike: practice, practice, practice! My husband who “retired” from running after his full marathon a decade ago, decided to run with me again. And even after “retirement” he schools me every time. Why? Because when you practice and develop a skill, you never really lose it. It’s about taking it one step at a time until you start to get into a rhythm. You’re not going to be a fabulous runner on day one or maybe even by day thirty but starting at day one will lead you into a better runner.
With that being said, I wanted to share my tips and trick on how I prepare myself for a race:
- Ask yourself why you are doing this and make sure you set a plan behind it
- Set your running schedule in advance
- Start with the week leading up to the race and work backward
- How many days a week do you want to run
- What amount of time/distance
- Record your progress (you cannot achieve goals by just going out to run without seeing your progression over time). You must keep a journal so you know you are progressing and numbers don’t lie!
- Set goals on where you would like to finish
- I use an actual planner and my phone calendar to schedule/write out my plan. This way it keeps me accountable, and it’s a helpful reminder.
- I am lucky enough to have a fabulous accountability partner. It is helpful to have someone who can help encourage you to achieve your goal and be there every step of the way.
- Create amazing playlists
- I have a couple of playlists depending on my mood
- You will also need a go-to song that will push you at your potential “give up” point. That way it triggers in your head to keep going
- Beats by Dre Wireless Headphones
- These headphones are fabulous. If it is cold outside, they keep my ears warm and it makes it super easy to change the song/turn up the music. And there is no cord bouncing on you.
Watch and or Runners Keep App:
- I go back and forth with both of these apps. Sometimes I like to wear my watch but it’s not always accurate. With the Runners Keep app, I set when I want verbal queues (distance, time, etc.) to keep me on pace. This way I know if I need to slow down or speed up (in most cases it’s to speed up but again working on that).
- A belt is a great way to be hands-free and not have anything bouncing around in my pockets. It holds my phone and some cash (for emergencies).
- I have hundreds of little hair strands that seem to only get in my way when I run. Having my Nike headband in place keeps the hair off my face so I am not distracted or annoyed every time I have to move them away from my sweaty face.
- Shoes are a huge factor when it comes to running. I didn’t believe this at first but from my other running blog I mentioned my love for expensive heels to keep my feet comfortable; so why would it be any different for running shoes? Invest in two (if you can) running shoes that fit perfect for your foot. I highly recommend you go to a local running store and be fitted for at least one great shoe. Who wants to run with blisters and achy feet? Not me!
- I am a big believer that if you look good, you feel good and the same goes for your workout attire. Just like in this blog, I discussed the importance of wearing quality pieces to not only absorb sweat but to keep you warm and comfortable throughout your entire run. If you look like a disaster, you most likely will run like a disaster.
The list above was and is absolutely key for my overall success with running. Writing out your goals is key to accomplishing great things. It also helps change your mindset from “not a runner” to “I am a runner”. You don’t become a runner overnight; it takes time and proper planning. Just like other things in your life.
Having the proper equipment and mindset will also help you achieve your goals. Before you even start running, plan out your goals and go buy yourself proper equipment. If you are in the Greater Philadelphia Area, go to my favorite place Philadelphia Running Company and they can assist you with getting yourself equipped with proper gear and also answer any questions you might have before you get started. That is where I started and where I continuously go for my running needs.
Get started and go find a race you have always wanted to do. Start off small with a 5k or go bigger. The best part… it’s totally up to you. Just get started and make that commitment. Who knows, you might actually really love it! Always remember to have fun and remind yourself that you are doing this for yourself and no one else. Go be a rock star!
Do you have a race you are currently signed up for? Or is signing up for a race a goal of yours? Share your race/goals below.
Author: Julie Davis