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Training for Your First Race: An 8 Week-Plan

This race training program can have almost any runner ready in a couple of months.

10. Training for a Race: Be Sure to Rest

Rest days are as important as training days, according to Isphording and Gross.

"Your muscles build strength as you rest," says Isphording. "Without recovery days, you will not improve."

That includes getting extra sleep, Gross points out.

"It is recommended to get one extra minute of sleep per night per mile run during the week," he says. So, for example, if you run 15 miles a week, you need an extra 15 minutes of sleep each night.

"Your body is more tired, and you need more sleep time to recover," Gross says.

11. Training for a Race: Consider the Season

For a first race, Pittsley always suggests training in a warmer temperature than you'll be running in. It is easier to run when the temperature is low, and if you train in cooler weather, you may not be prepared when race day comes.

"I always encourage people to start running in summer and train for a fall race," he says. "It's very difficult to go up in temperatures when training."

12. Training for a Race: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

In the winter months, you may not feel as thirsty, but your body is losing water during exercise.

"Properly hydrate during practice and training runs," says Gross. He recommends using electrolyte replacement drinks to spur the repair process of the muscles while training.

Pittsley advises new runners to practice drinking water during training runs, so they'll learn how to drink and run on race day. Whether you'll have to get used to carrying a water bottle or grabbing a cup and drinking on the run, it's a good idea to feel comfortable with the process ahead of time.

13. Training for a Race: Don't Forget to Stretch

After a run, when your muscles are warm, be sure to stretch.

During training, you are working your body harder than you do regularly, says Gross, so you have a higher risk of injury. Stretching can help keep you limber and injury-free for race day.

14. Training for a Race: Celebrate You

Don't forget to pat yourself on the back.

"Wallow in your greatest right away -- don't wait," says Isphording.

"Look for the small miracles. Be proud of that extra 10 minutes you stayed out. It's important that you celebrate your successes every day."

Beginner 10K Race Training Schedule

(This is the 8-week schedule designed by Isphording for the 97th annual Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati. To read more about this schedule, go to Thanksgivingdayrace.com)

Weeks to Race

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

Sun

Total

miles

8

Strength and stretch *

2.5 mile run

30 min cross

train

2 mile run + strength

Rest

40 min cross

train

3 mile run

7.5

7

Strength and stretch

2.5 mile run

30 min cross

train

2 mile run + strength

Rest

40 min cross

train

3.5 mile run

8

6

Strength and stretch

2.5 mile run

35 min cross

train

2 mile run + strength

Rest

50 min cross

train

4 mile run

8.5

5

Strength and stretch

3 mile run

35 min cross

train

2 mile run + strength

Rest

50 min cross

train

4 mile run

9

4

Strength and stretch

3 mile run

40 min cross

train

2 mile run + strength

Rest

60 min cross

train

4.5 mile run

9.5

3

Strength and stretch

3 mile run

40 min cross

train

2 mile run

Rest

Rest or 60 min cross train

5 mile run

10

2

Strength and stretch

3 mile run

45 min cross

train

2 mile run + strength

Rest

5.5 mile run

rest

10.5

1

3 mile run

Rest

Rest

10K race day

Rest

  • Strengthening is defined as light weight lifting or resistance work with higher repetitions. Stretching should be done when muscles are warm
1|2|3
Reviewed on February 01, 2007

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