It's getting to be that time of year when the weather cools and you can run outside again. Or if you are losing motivation to stay active after bikini season, set yourself up with a fitness goal during the holidays. Consider running a Monster Dash for Halloween, a Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving, or a jolly-old Christmas Day 5k!
To help you get started, we gathered our top 5 tips for success when preparing for your first 5k, half-marathon, or any other type of road race!
1. Sign up!
This may sound obvious because how can you expect to run a race if you haven't registered to be a part of one? Here are a few things to think about to help you pick a race that you can get excited about:
When and where do you want to run?
Road races have become wildly popular, so lucky for you; it's easy to find a race almost anywhere! If you are looking for an excuse to travel, choose a location you would like to visit. If you're not a fan of running up hills or high elevation, look at areas that can provide a flatter course option. And if you don't enjoy running in the extreme heat of summer or cold of winter, research into the area's temperature average and select a race that falls in the range you'll feel comfortable in.
Are you a costume person or someone that loves committing to a theme?If you are a costume person, good news! There are tons of themed races where runners dress in all types of fun-themed costumes. Some include themes like foam, glowsticks, obstacle courses, and more.
How much are you willing to spend?Unlike running at the gym or with your neighborhood group, road races do cost to register. In return, you typically get a small swag bag with a t-shirt, water bottle, or other goodies. But most of your registration costs go to funding the race or benefitting a non-profit organization. If you have a cause that you're passionate about, find a race that donates to an organization supporting that cause which can help you find that extra bit of motivation to run!
2. Get the right gear
It's essential to invest in the proper running equipment when preparing for a road race. The sneakers you've been wearing to the gym over the past year and a half aren't going to make for a comfortable running experience. Look for shoes that have ankle support, plenty of room for your feet, and have padding equipped for pounding the pavement. You may also want to invest in activewear that's sweat-wicking. Cotton-based workout gear can feel much heavier and hotter when you're outside running versus in the gym.
Pro tip: To feel the most comfortable, most runners suggest that you dress as if it's 10 degrees warmer than it actually is to ensure that you won't get too hot or too cold during your runs!
Check out the O2 shop for an exclusive line of O2 Fitness merchandise includes a variety of t-shirts, sweatshirts, tanks, sweatpants, and more for men and women. That way, you can rock your O2 pride before, during, and after your workout!
3. Decide your goal
Running multiple miles is not a small task. Whether this is your first road race or your 100th race, setting a goal for the race will help focus your motivation and give your training plan direction. Setting a goal to finish the race is a great place for beginners to start! Once you've practiced and gotten a feel for road races, then you can start creating goals based on time and pace or challenge yourself to longer races.
4. Find the right training plan
You've got the gear, you've registered for your race, and you've set a goal. Now, it's time to hit the road! Just like when you go to the gym, your workout will be more effective and get you closer to your goal when you have a plan.
Our personal trainers recommend finding a plan aligned with your current fitness level and that is sustainable for you and your schedule. They suggest beginners train for at least 4 weeks to prepare for the race. If you aren't sure what training plan is best for you, our trainers can help create a plan tailored to you and your racing goals!
5. Have fun!
Running can be hard, but that doesn't mean you can't find ways to make it fun. You can do this by running with a friend, gathering a group of friends and family to support you at your race, or joining a local running group like our O2 + Renew Run Club!
Training for a road race can be a lot of work, but it can also be fun! Along with these tips, remember that it's important to stay hydrated, fuel your body with nutritious food, and adopt a proper warm-up and recovery routine to avoid injury and unnecessary pain.
Ready to get started? Our Personal Trainers and the Renew Physiotherapy Team are the perfect teams to help you with your first race, hit your next personal best, and improve your general health and fitness. Set up your free session or a free health screening to get started now!