I have never been a runner but I decided to pick up the hobby around Thanksgiving...now I have ran 6 miles so far...all at once...without stopping! Remember back in December when I decided that I was just going to do "it?!" Man, have I really outdone myself!
What am I doing to prepare for my first race?
Positive attitude. I have a training schedule that for the most part I need to stick to. There are some days I would rather stay in bed or on the couch and forget hitting the pavement/treadmill. With a positive Just do it attitude I don't even think twice about what I have to do. I lace up and go.
Find a motivational team/ running buddy. I am thankful to be running with some strong, encouraging,
Listen to your body. Another great thing about a training schedule is it helps you to avoid injuries. When your schedule says 4 miles don't go 10. Be mindful of your body and remember go slow and steady...that's why you have 12 weeks to train. You'll break those big mileage stones when it's time!
Stretch. I have recently adopted a new stretch class. Once (or as many times as I can fit it) a week I take Bodyflow, a Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates class that focuses on strengthening and lengthening your muscles as well as, flexibility. I leave this class feeling centered, at ease and empowered (and so do my muscles)!
Fuel. Maintaining a healthy diet, practicing mindful eating and ensuring my muscles have adequate energy to fuel me in my runs are half the battle. My usual breakfast before a long run? Natural peanut butter on whole wheat bread with or without a banana; I have found this is what works for me. In the weeks of training, use this time to try different fuel products (gu, gel shots, bloks, bars) and pre-run meals. Make sure you don't eat something that will hurt your stomach or cause GI distress. More on running and nutrition/hydration/etc.
Essential gear. Prepare for training and the big day with your essential gear. I am talking clothes (pants/shorts, shirts, jackets, ear warmers, headbands, socks, shoes, gloves), music, fuel and can do attitude. I have found my comfortable long run gear. Since it is cold out, I am layering. I never set out for a run without my heart rate monitor, fully charged iPod set on a genius mix and a headband or something to pull my hair back. Become familiar with what you need to be comfortable. As far as shoes, I would recommend replacing them every 6-8 months if you are racking up some serious miles (500+). Spending sometime getting a fitting would be best (I need to do this)! My favorite workout gear? Addicted to lululemon!
Happy Running :)