With over 20 years of experience running, through injuries, pregnancies, and peak marathon training, I’ve learned a thing or two that may be helpful for both new and old time runners.
- New runners: Pace yourself. While you may be excited to jump into this new fitness, in order to stay injury free and not burn yourself out find either a training plan or commit X number of days you want to run. Don’t go hard everyday.
- Find the right shoes! The shoes that fit your friends might not (probably don’t) fit you. Having the wrong shoes is uncomfortable, can lead to injury, and make the whole experience less fun.
- Want to get better? You might need to slow down or speed up. Your average runs shouldn’t be at the same pace you run a race. Once you build some base training or fitness, aka some endurance, you can slowly add 1-2 days of runs with faster pace work or hills. Besides those 2 days, the rest of your runs should feel comfortable and conversational. This allows your body to heal from hard effort and get stronger. If you run one hard pace all the time, this often leads to injury, burn out, or exhaustion with no time for your body to recover.
- Find your race pace. People often ask, “How do I figure out what my race pace is?” Your race pace is the goal mile pace you want to run throughout your race. So for example if you want to break an hour in a 10k, your goal pace would be 9 minute and 30 second mile (or faster). We suggest doing a mile time trial, running your fastest for 1 mile to gauge your current fitness. Remember you must still pace yourself for a mile- it’s not a sprint. From your mile time trial, let’s say your 1 mile took you 8 minutes. If you are wondering what your 5k goal race pace might be, start with a goal pace of 8 minutes and 20 seconds per mile. If you’re wondering what your 10k goal race pace might be, start with a goal of 8 minutes and 30 seconds per mile. In your training, you will use this “goal race pace” or GRP as a pace to play around with and do intervals with in order for your body to get use to this pace. Over training and time, your GRP will probably improve. Check out the pace chart below to see
5. Keep it fun. Stay fluid in your training while still staying consistent will increase your enjoyment of the sport/fitness. Not every run has to feel like your best. In fact, it’s ok if sometimes it doesn’t feel good and you end up walking instead. Find ways to keep it fun by changing the locations your are running, the pace, or meet up with others. Listen to your body and known when to rest vs knowing when you’re just feeling unmotivated.
There’s about 100 other things I could say, but let’s start there.