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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.
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7. Training for a Race: Eat Healthfully

Nourish your body, says Isphording. You are working out more, so you'll need to consume more calories to repair muscle and build strength.

But choose the right foods. Don't fill up on empty calories. Opt for complex carbohydrates and proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Listen to your body, Isphording adds.

"You'll start to crave (fruits and vegetables) as you put these extra demands on the body," she says.

8. Training for a Race: Find Support

It's always easier to train if you have a running buddy. When you have a partner, there's less of a chance of letting the demands of life get in the way of training, says Isphording. Your running buddy will help get you out the door on the days when you don't even feel like putting on your running shoes.

9. Training for a Race: Run Safe

If you are running after dark, wear reflective clothing and run in well-lighted areas as much as possible. Run on indoor or lighted tracks if you can.

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."

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