Sunday, January 18, 2009

Racing toward Spring












I have discovered that anticipating a race is a great way to focus on your training goals. Moving closer to pace and distance targets requires a re-thinking of training methods and priorities. The joy of running must give way, at least a little, to the rigors of training and conditioning. Everyone has a different method and I am fortunate to have heard from people who have shared theirs. The interesting thing about this blog is that those who read it are likely to be better and more accomplished runners than me. There are many articles on the web and in magazines about preparing for your first race, but when I hear about the experience directly from a fellow blogger or reader it seems more valuable to me.

Preparing for my 4 miler in April and then a 5K two weeks later is relatively easy right now since I have about 12 weeks to reach peak conditioning. I’ll need to figure out what methods I should maintain and what changes I should make to best prepare for these events. My new focus on core seems correct since it's about building running strength. I think my diet is pretty good but I wonder if I'll need to increase protein intake for strength as I approach my race dates. Established and accomplished runners do lots of interval training, uphills and tempo runs. I've done some but I have to admit it's tedious. Perhaps it's important to get past that perception if I want to hit my goal of running a 10K this year.

So what's the key advice to preparing for a race? How is it that most runners I know (online and off) are capable of running six to ten miles at any given time? How long does it take to get there? I've heard from someone who started running last September and is now preparing for a 10K in April. Even with a setback or two she has easily surpassed me in terms of distance progress despite my daily dedication. That tells me I should be doing something different but I don't know exactly what to change.

Today I will get out there and do my best against a 4 mile target. I'm hoping yesterday's 3.6 mile run won't be the best distance I can do this weekend. With the holiday on Monday I'll have an extra day to try. I'm hoping that the temperature will rise enough to allow me to hit the track. However, as we've all discussed, the treadmill is also a great resource for the dedicated runner.

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