Women runners! Sign up for a race!

Running has soared in popularity over the past few years. Most communities have their own 5K, there are more half and full marathons, plus ultras! Picking a race can be a great way to support your favorite cause or tackle those fitness goals. Actually completing that race can be a different story.

Tell your friends!

Signing up is the first step. There are races that empower women, races that support animal shelters, races that raise money for children in need. Pick something that motivates you!  Putting your name on that race list and paying your entry fee makes you more likely to stick to your goal. You’re now financially committed! Ask friends or family members to race with you or tell them about your goal. Get help and motivate your friends to join you! Look into local group runs at running stores or with running clubs. Experienced runners will give you great tips and tricks. Use your resources!

Give yourself plenty of time.

Depending on what distance of race you’ve signed up for you’ll need a different amount of time to train. Shorter for the shorter distances, longer for the longer distances (duh, right?) You also need to factor in your current level of fitness (and be honest about it…) If it’s been 5 years since you last ran even 1 minute, you need more time. If you ran 10 miles yesterday easy peasy, you’ll need less time.

Set a personal goal.

Is this a race that you just want to finish or one that you want to PR (personal record)? If your race is a big increase in distance for you, be realistic about what you expect to achieve. Training to get through all the miles comfortably vs. training to PR are two very different things. Never feel bad about your goals – it’s your race, your distance, in your time. You’re doing something awesome and amazing!

Make a training plan.

Create a week by week schedule to progress up toward your race distance. How you structure your schedule depends on your personal goal. Finishing that big, scary race takes a slow progression of miles to keep your body feeling great throughout your training. Crushing your PR takes speed training, pace runs, or intervals. Overall, make your plan realistic for what you can actually fit into your schedule. And of course, stick to your schedule! It’s your time – take it.

Cross training is key.

Regardless of your goal, diversity of training keeps your body happy. You’ll still be tired and probably sore from making your body do more, but you’re less likely to breakdown if you’re strong and mobile. Make sure cross-training is in your schedule to work other muscles to avoid overworking your running muscles. Add strength training so your running muscles and your core are strong and supportive. Finally, mobility/flexibility training to keep everything relaxed and loose.

Stick with it!

Keep up with your training plan. Hold yourself accountable by checking off your workouts, or having friends ask you about it, or whatever else keeps you moving forward. Blast it on social media! You’ve earned it. You will miss days – it’s OK! As long as you haven’t missed the majority of your days, you’ll still be moving forward. If you’re sick or the weather gets crazy, cross train. You can maintain everything you’ve gained and keep moving forward.

You can do it!

You can achieve your goals. Signing up and making a plan are the first steps towards making that race dream come true.