A friend of mine e-mailed me today on if I had any advice for preparing for her first race. She has been walking, but wants to lose weight by exercising more intensely and also having as a goal a fun event she can do with her family. I sent her back some suggestions, being that I had published on article on this previously and have had a lot of experience with races and running. Being the resourceful blogger that I am, I was inspired to share my thoughts with you all, so here are my tips for anyone out there setting there sights on the race course:
1. If you are starting from walking, continue your walks but add sequences of slow jogging to them, in increments. To start, add one minute of running for one week, 3 times a week for your first week. The next week, add 2 minutes, and the following add 3 minutes, until you build up to 30 minutes - 10 weeks. Do not attempt a race or event until you can comfortably jog 30 minutes, or you'll more then likely injure yourself, not to mention get frustrated. Make sure you take rest days to avoid injury. Remember, there is nothing wrong with combining walking with your runs, even marathoners do it.
2. Invest in comfortable running shoes, and do not rely on walking shoes. They are built entirely differently and won't give you the support you need. A good beginner pair of running shoes will provide you with the added support you need, just go to a good running store and ask for advice.
3. When you are ready for the race, aim just to finish and don't set ambitious goals for yourself. You'll get a lot of satisfaction just from getting to the finish line. Enjoy race day, including being with friends and family, throwing on that exciting new t-shirt, and enjoying any other goodies provided. Don't forget to allow plenty of time to get to the start, and register ahead of time so you'll have your race number ready to pin on your shirt. Congratulations on running your first race! RunnersWorld.com contains excellent articles on all aspects of running.