For some reason or another, you’ve decided to sign up for a race. Maybe it has been a personal goal of yours for some time or you just wanted to run with some friends. Whatever the case, you may be wondering what else you need to do besides logging your weekly mileage. Aaron Hewitt gave us the run down on how to start running, but there are many other important factors that lead to success on race day. Carla Garrison-Mattos, director of NoDa Run Club, shares what else you need to know to reach your 5K, half-marathon, and marathon goals.
Run with a Buddy
Running longer distances can be daunting, and it is important to have support and comradery. After all, getting up to run at 5 AM is a lot easier when you know you have someone waiting for you and can help hold you accountable. Lace up with a friend or group that keeps you consistent, and holds you accountable.
Focus on Your Diet
Fueling yourself is half the battle. When you are burning those extra calories through running, you need to make sure you are refueling yourself with the right kind of food. Focus on a good balance of protein and carbohydrates, and make sure you are eating “real” food. This may mean you will have to spend time meal prepping and thinking about your next meal, rather than just pulling something out of the freezer. Find out what food sits best with you before running, and definitely don’t try anything new the day before or day of the race.
Don't Forget to Cross-train
While your focus is on running, you need to give those muscles a break. Try strength training at least once a week, doing weighted leg and ab workouts. Cross-training will not only prevent you from overuse or injury but will make your muscles stronger so that you can run faster and longer as you progress. The last thing you want to do is run so much that you hurt yourself, and set your training back weeks or even months.
Get Some Sleep
Get at least eight hours of sleep a night. With all of the running, you are doing, your body needs to rest and muscles need the time to repair. If you are sleep deprived, you are setting yourself up for injury. More importantly, you will never be in the mood to run if you are constantly exhausted!
By following these tips and focusing on these areas, you can ensure that you are ready to go for whatever race distance you choose. If you are looking to join a running community as we get closer to the OrthoCarolina 10K Classic and other local marathons, come join the Noda Run Club for a 1, 3 or 5 mile run on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM. If you want a more specific training program for a half or full marathon, also check out 26.Brew which launches in July.