Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Steps in Race Training

If you're new to race training it can be overwhelming knowing where to start.  So today I'm sharing a quick description of the steps to take in race training and what you will probably be working on. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and this isn't a specific training plan, more of an outline of the order you will probably be working in.

Everything in your training has a place. Endurance, Speed, Rest days, Tempo runs, Race day...all of it. In your training, you will have main focuses and then you will combine all of it but you won't be doing any of it exclusively. In order to be a better and faster runner, you have to use all of these steps.

You're going to
1. Decide what you're training for. Distance, type of race (road race, trail race, obstacle course...)
2. Get your endurance up
3. Speed up
4. Get used to doing both at the same time
5. Race

So as I said before, you're not going to spend a few weeks on endurance, then a few weeks on speed..etc. You will combine all of it in your weekly training but you'll notice that the further into your training you get the more you work on certain aspects.  I'm not a coach or a trainer, but I've been doing this for a long time and experience shows this is a pretty set routine.

Pick your distance
There are so many different types of races out there! Decide what race you're excited about and find one you can sign up for. Make sure you're giving yourself enough time to train for the race! You don't want to sign up for a marathon that's a month away. Giving yourself time to get ready will help you have the best race day as possible.

Work on endurance
Once you know what you want to run, start working your mileage up slowly. Don't worry so much about the pace that you can run. That will come later. Right now you need to focus on getting more mileage and endurance.

Work on speed
Now is the time to pick up the pace. You need to make sure you're still incorporating endurance runs in your training or you're going to hurt yourself. But start adding more speed to your mix now that you have your endurance in a good place.  Don't worry about not getting a lot of miles on speed days. Focus more on hitting your paces as best as you can.

Combine the two
Tempo runs! These are probably my favorite.  Tempo runs are at a pace that is comfortably uncomfortable for you. That special place where you can keep going but you start to question your sanity.  When you know it hurts but you know the hurt is where the good changes are happening.  You want this pace to be somewhere between your comfortable run pace and a sprint. There will be jogging breaks in between, but you don't want it to turn into a speed workout where you're sprinting when you're not jogging.

Race day
You've put the work in! Now it's time. The day you waited and worked for. The only thing you need to do today is enjoying the race.  Yes, enjoy it. You've trained weeks or months for this day and the race seems to go by so fast. You've put the work in, you know you can do it, so stop worrying so much and have a good time while you prove to yourself that you can do hard things!

For an example of what a week of training might look like, this is what my training last week looked like:

Sunday: Rest day
Monday: 2.5-mile speed work
Tuesday: Strength Training
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: 3.2-mile endurance run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 5-mile long run

Everyone's training is going to look a little different, but hopefully, this will give you an idea of what it will kind of be like. Really, the best thing to remember is that you chose to do this, it's something that you should enjoy and have fun doing. So make it fun whatever you do. Keep a positive, happy attitude and enjoy the process.

What is your favorite part of race training?

What part is the hardest for you?

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