By, Richard M. Martinez
1. Choose a training program that’s right for you
There’s no one program that fits everyone’s needs. Be honest with yourself before you start your training. Look at your time, your life, and your interest and then choose a program best for you.
2. Make sure your goals are reasonable
It doesn’t do any good to overestimate your ability and underestimate your willingness to train. Find a balance between what you want and what you are able to do.
3. Too much, too soon
Don’t over do it. This is the classic mistake made by runners, especially beginners. Stick to a gradual progressive training program, even if it seems a bit easy in the first couple weeks.
4. Variety is the spice
No matter what your pace or finish time goal, your training program should include a mix of “speed work” to improve your form, “tempo runs” to improve your stamina, and “long runs” to improve your endurance.
5. Run with company
Running and training is easier and more motivating when done with a friend or group of like-minded individuals. Join a local running club, or seek weekly online expert guidance.
6. Rest is just as important
You do not get stronger while you are running. You get stronger when you are resting. Make sure you take “rest days” to let your body adapt. No one ever got injured from over-resting.
7. You can’t finish what you don’t start
The biggest reason runners do not finish a race is because they never make it to the start line. They get injured during training. Know your body’s limits and when in doubt, do less rather than more.
8. If you miss a workout, skip it and go on
If you have to miss a training day, do not try to go back and pick it up. The sequence of your training is more important than any particular workout. As much as possible, stick to the order of your training days.
9. Shoes are your feet’s best friends
Don’t skimp on your running shoes. You do not have to buy the most expensive shoes in the store, but you do need to invest in shoes that work with your feet, your running style and your training mileage.
10. Cross train for strength
Cross training helps to prevent injuries by strengthening the muscles used during running. Developing leg and core muscles will delay fatigue and help your body absorb the pounding of the pavement.
With over 18 years of endurance and strength training experience, Mr. Martinez co-founded PacWest Athletics in 2002, the largest outdoor fitness organization in Northern California. PacWest offers weekly track workouts, bike rides, lap swimming, long runs and tone & conditioning BootCamp. Learn more at www.PacWestAthletics.com.