Preparing for your first big run

Posted by Janell Maxa
July 29, 2013

Janell Maxa head shot_RGB

Incorporating running into your life is an excellent decision for your health. Many people take this choice to the next level by participating in formal races like 5Ks, 10Ks and marathons. These runs provide structured goals, health benefits and tap you into a close-knit running community. Proper preparation for any race is important, so here are a few tips to get you started.

Find a training plan that works for you

Everyone has their own preferences for how they run and train. It’s really about taking a personalized approach to training. But you need to make sure that you are staying healthy and getting positive results.

  • Allow yourself adequate time to train. You can complete 5K or 10K training in a few months. For a first time marathoner, training often takes nine to 12 months.
  • Cross train to avoid injury. This means combining stretching, weight training and other cardiovascular activities – such as biking or swimming – with your running routine.
  • For rookie runners, a training program that includes a running and walking regimen can prove to be beneficial. This allows you to gradually build up endurance and strength.
  • Stretch after your runs. It’s best to stretch when your muscles are warm, and stretching helps to keep muscles from becoming stiff and tight.

Anticipate and prepare

  • Always prepare for the elements. It may be cold, hot, rainy or windy on race day. It’s helpful to train in different weather and have a plan for all weather conditions.
  • Familiarize yourself with your clothing. Keep in mind that certain fabrics and clothing materials can cause chafing and other problems. Know what clothing works best for you and your body.
  • Stay hydrated and replenish your body with nutrients. Drink plenty of water before, during and after a run. For longer runs, have a 150 to 200 calorie snack after about an hour. Refuel your body 30 minutes to an hour after your run by eating protein and carbohydrates.

These are a few tips to get you on the right track to achieve optimal results throughout training and during your race. Running is a great way to stay healthy, and having a plan and goals helps to keep you organized and accountable. Don’t forget that running is for all ages and ability levels – so anyone can do it.

About Janell Maxa:

Janell Maxa is a group fitness instructor at The Fitness Center in New Prague, Minn., which is owned and operated by Mayo Clinic Health System. Maxa has extensive experience with running, training and exercise. She ran the Mankato Half Marathon in 2012 and plans to run it again in 2013.

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