As what all runners say, the sweetest part of every race is not the finish line; rather, it is the journey of getting there. It is the process – from the moment you started training, up until the race day, that makes the fruit of your labor sweeter. While the end of the race is truly rewarding, the journey and everything you learn along the way is incomparable.
To be honest, never in my life did I picture myself getting this far (no pun intended). When I was in high school, I used to dread running 5KM during our PE class. See, I’m really not a sporty chick. But when I started working, I realized running is a very good cardio exercise to stay in shape and be fit. And so I started running during the spare time that I have. Little did I know that I’m falling in love with the sport.
From running 5K to 10K to improving my running pace, I suddenly felt the urge to challenge myself and run my first half-marathon. I know it isn’t that easy and it takes a lot of dedication and discipline to train up to your race day. But you will never know if you can unless you try, right? I would like to share with you my 5 easy guidelines on how I prepare whenever I have an upcoming long-distance run. This works for me a hundred and one percent, so maybe this will work for you too. So, without further ado, here they are:
Establish a Program
Running in a race is like being in a battle: you can’t go unprepared. It is important to establish your game plan and make the training fit into your schedule. It is understood that we, being adults, don’t have the luxury of time as we have other priorities to attend to. But training for a half-marathon distance is manageable even for the busiest of us. Do some research on how to conjure a training guide prior to the date of the race. If you can only train three times in a week, then make it a point to finish a long distance run on the third day of training and test-your-speed run on the first two.
Building your program for the race is important not just to condition your strength, speed and stamina, but also to help you finish the race safely and injury-free. It is also important to schedule your rest days (not just training days) as your body needs to recover as well.
Choose your Gears and Train with them
Certainly, you wouldn’t go into battle using equipment that hasn’t been tested and used in your training, right? As for choosing the right running shoes and clothing, it is also vital to use them during training. It doesn’t have to be branded or too expensive but you have to make sure that it is comfortable enough to use for the long run. It will also help you to finish the race safely and won’t cause blisters or rashes.
Start to Balance your Diet
In preparation for the race, it is also important to plan your diet. Since we are talking about a 21KM distance here, our body has to store enough energy to sustain us through the race. Otherwise, without sufficient fuel, you’re in danger of running out of energy. Plan the effective balanced diet for you (be careful not to load up on food that will make you feel bloated; just enough to provide you energy) and your training needs. Also, don’t forget to always re-hydrate.
Practice Having a Positive Mindset at All Times
Training can be daunting especially when your distance increases. Thus, it is really important to make this as enjoyable as it can be. You don’t have to train alone. Try to make friends on the track where you frequently run. Reward yourself when you achieve a new PR on your 10K run.
I know that training will be boring as hell when you do it alone (running 10K on a track for an hour with your earphones on is fun but not if you do it all the time) so I joined a running club that challenges me to become better. Making a new friend plus you get to be fit and fab, win-win situation, right?
Enjoy the Process
Train hard, get fit, and most of all, have fun and enjoy what you are doing. Do I need to say more? 🙂
It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and discipline in order for you to cross off your first half-marathon race on your bucketlist. If you feel like giving up, always remember why you started in the first place. If you feel like quitting, run with your heart and not just with your legs. It will never get easier, but trust me, you will get stronger. Because the moment you cross that finish line, you know you’re “on to the next one”.