Your First Endurance Run
Committed to your first endurance race? A half or full marathon can be intimidating, but if you’re consistent about quality training preparation, you’re more likely to have a positive first experience. Whether your goal is to finish, or to race for a goal time/pace, integrating the tips below (applicable to novice and seasoned runners alike), can help establish a strong foundation towards your personal best.
One of the most subtle, yet powerful factors that can both positively and negatively affect your training and racing is hydration. With inadequate hydration, your blood becomes more viscous (thick), and cannot circulate nutrients to working muscles effectively. It can further affect joint lubrication, and with dehydration comes a lack of electrolytes, essential for muscle function and coordination.
Consume caffeine and sugar-free fluids throughout the day (such as water, herbal tea, natural electrolyte drinks, or water flavored with any combination of lemon, cucumber, or mint). Before, during and after training runs and races, consume additional fluids. As a general guide, approximately one cup for every 30 minutes of medium-high intensity exercise. Note that individual rates of replenishment vary depending on how conditioned you are, your body mass, how hot or humid the weather is, and the intensity of your workout.
Track your Progress for Motivation & Accountability.
The stronger you become through consistent training, and the more conditioned, the greater your ability to push the limits of what you previously thought possible. This is not only motivating, but a means of quantifying your hard work. Measuring your success creates accountability.
Run a set route/distance occasionally throughout your training as means for gauging any improvements in pace. This could be both a shorter “sprint” distance (400m to 1km), to measure your power and improvements in lactic acid threshold, or a longer endurance-based distance to measure your race pace/tempo capabilities (8 to 12km).
Support Tissue Repair:
You haven’t finished training until you’ve re-fueled! Consider your post-run nutrition as imperative to your results as the run itself. When your training increases in intensity, duration or frequency, your muscles will be breaking down, and rebuilding more rapidly than before.
Refuel with a mini-meal or snack within 20 minutes of training. Consume a blend of carbohydrates and protein (ideally in a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein) to replenish muscle glycogen and begin tissue repair. Try making a homemade trail mix in a 4:1 ratio of dried fruits and nuts, or use a pre-formulated recovery drink such as Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator.