How to Prepare for Races to Resume

Although most of us are still enjoying our regularly scheduled runs, you may be missing the exciting days of crowded races, the weeks and sometimes months of preparation, and the possibility of surprising yourself while being cheered and invigorated by fellow runners.

Covid and the corresponding quarantine changed the way we live and the way we race. However, sooner or later, races will resume. Keep your spirit and endurance high by training now for the races you will run later.

The Excitement of running a race.
We are all looking forward to getting back to the excitement of racing.

Goals Set the Pace for the Race

The importance of goals can’t be expressed enough when it comes to preparing for a race. Different people have different definitions of success. When races resume, you might be eager to attain a PR or you might just look forward to the social aspect of running an actual race. This will influence what goals you set.

Once you determine your goal or goals, you will need a training plan and the commitment to stick with it. The training plan will also depend upon what type of race you intend to enter. For a 5K, even beginners can typically get ready by consistently training for approximately six to eight weeks, whereas the longer the race, the longer and more intense the training will need to be.

It helps to write down your goals and place them somewhere you will see them, so they are difficult to ignore. The essential and in some ways easiest and hardest part of training is simply forcing yourself to get out there and run. If you can maintain that motivation, you should already be proud of yourself because many people can’t.

No matter where you are as a runner or what race you plan to run, taking the training seriously will get you serious results. Speedwork, intervals, and utilizing hills and bridges for your training will improve your speed and endurance.

During races, it is common for runners to have a harder time mentally and physically in the last portion of the race. Speedwork is great for teaching you to overcome those feelings and persevere. During your training, always try to run the last part of your runs at a faster pace to prepare for how your body and mind will need to operate on race day.

It can be difficult to know how to get started with training for races, even if you have goals and determination already. An experienced running coach can help you set your goals, create the corresponding training schedule, and assist with your metal conditioning and nutritional needs.

Nutrition for Your Mission

Speaking of nutrition, we aren’t going to say that you are what you eat, but what you eat certainly affects how you run. Improper nutrition can derail the best training and intentions. Different foods have various benefits and results. Developing an understanding of what you need to eat to correspond with your goals is crucial.

No matter what your goals are, you will want to be mindful of what you consume. Drink plenty of water and eat the right amount of protein, carbs, vegetables, fats, etc.

Healthy food is fuel.
Healthy food is fuel

To improve your speed, eat high energy, low GI foods. A couple of examples are wholegrain pasta and bananas. For essential vitamins and minerals, eat dark green vegetables and nuts. Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna are great anti-inflammatory foods.

These are just a few examples. Your running coach can give you greater insight into nutrition, and how it affects you specifically to then determine what you need to eat to accomplish your goals.

Know Your Pain and You Will Gain

When races resume and you decide on a race, train in similar circumstances. Do some reconnaissance ahead of time and duplicate as much as possible in your training to adequately prepare. Train in different weather conditions so that nothing throws you off your game on race day.

Getting acquainted with how you perform under similar conditions also allows you to get to know your pain and where it may emerge during the race. Note whenever the run gets tougher during training as this will be where your obstacles will likely occur on race day. Being able to identify the pain will make it easier to either work around it or overcome it entirely.

Be Aware of What You Wear

Training is also the perfect time to determine the best running gear. Feet are obviously your foundation, so shoes can make you win or lose. Any kind of pain or discomfort in running shoes will be amplified once you are training and racing so don’t skimp on shoes. 

For clothing, go for comfort and make sure nothing you wear rubs you the wrong way. Wear the clothes you plan to race in beforehand for test runs and have multiple sets ready.

How to Zoom When Races Resume

Once you have gone through the training and preparation, it will be time for the race. On the day of the race, don’t eat or drink anything you aren’t accustomed to as you want to be able to predict how your body will react to what you consume.

If you want to be number one, you want to avoid having to go number two during the race. Bowels get moving when we are running, so it is best to try to go number two the night before or early in the morning before the race begins. Stay hydrated and avoid things like dairy, caffeine, and spicy foods that might make your bowels howl.

Knowing where aid stations are located and what they have available will help you maintain through the race. Don’t start off too fast or worry about passing everyone. Conserve your energy and know your pace and what you can maintain. You want to be able to run the second part of the race faster than the first part.

If you have trained and prepared for the race, you can be comforted by knowing your own body and what you are capable of. The most important thing is to keep going. Mental strength is your biggest asset.

Above all else, have a good time out there. If you are new to running, you will likely be amazed at how encouraging most other runners are. If you have already been running, you are probably just eager to get back out there, and we are, too!

If you are looking to run with other people, consider joining our running group called PRS Running Club. For more info on coaching to get you ready for the races, contact us at Personal Running Solutions.

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