I have two New Year’s resolutions for 2016. One for health and one for money.
My health resolution is…(drum roll please)…to run a marathon!
Though I have run on and off since high school, I got more serious about running in 2015. I completed my first (and then my second) half marathon. So running a full marathon seems like an attainable goal for this year. However, with the cold weather and less daylight throughout the winter, I have not been running much lately. So running a marathon is not going to be easy!
But I have a plan! Here are the steps I’m going to take to prep my body (and mind) for 26.2 miles. If you are considering running a marathon (or any race distance), use these tips to achieve your running resolution:
- Choose a race and register ASAP– Registering for a race sets a firm timeline for your training. If you register for a marathon that is 4 months down the road, you’ll have to start running now (most training plans are 16 to 18 weeks)! By signing up early you are committed and can’t chicken out. An added bonus – the entry fee is usually cheaper the earlier you register.
- Tell your friends and family– Tell others that you’re running a race and they will hold you accountable. When your friend asks “How’d your 5K go?” you won’t want to answer “Actually…I was too lazy to do it.” That would be embarrassing… Friends and family will also provide encouragement throughout your training and on race day. Some may even decide to run with you! Both my mum and Matt are planning on running with me.
- Find a good training plan – No matter how much experience you have as a runner, building up your mileage slowly is essential for preventing injury and over-training. Look for a training plan that fits your schedule and doesn’t add mileage too quickly for you.
- Strength train – Reduce your risk of injury by strengthening your body. Though you can prepare for a race just by running day after day, strength training has been shown to improve your running stamina and reduce the risk of injury. I used to get runners knee all the time, but then I discovered strength training!
- Fuel your body – Running makes you hungry. But to perform your best throughout training and on race day, you can’t fuel your body with junk food. Experiment with healthy foods you enjoy and see how they affect your running.
- Get the right gear – A good pair of running sneakers and moisture-wicking clothing are a worthwhile investment. Running is painful enough without sore feet and chaffing! There is so much other gear (GPS watches, heart rate monitors, etc.) available for runners now, but the right shoes and clothing are the only necessity.
- Enjoy it – Remember it’s supposed to be fun!
I hope these tips will help you achieve your running goals in 2016. Please share any other tips that you have for runners in the comments below – I’d love you input! I’ll keep you updated on my marathon training!