Ace that race

by Rozalynn S. Frazier

After being cooped up all winter, what better way to enjoy being outdoors than to train for (and finish!) a 10K? Whether you’re an occasional jogger or a serious runner, it’s motivating to have a goal to strive for, says Jenny Hadfield, co-author of Running for Mortals. And if you train with a friend, you’ll have built-in cheerleading. Ready to go for it? Here’s what you need to know.

Why run anyway?
Besides the mental boost it provides (runner’s high is real), running strengthens your bones and burns about 100 calories per mile.

Plan way ahead

Sign up for a race that’s at least six weeks away. This way you’ll have catch-up time if life (work, family, etc.) intervenes and slows down your training, Hadfield explains. Not ready for 6.2 miles? Cut running times roughly in half, and opt for a 5K. Either way, don’t overdo it—ramping up miles too soon can cause injury. 

Halfway through training, tackle a 3-miler at your intended race-day pace. Wiped out? Consider a run-and-walk strategy for your 10K. In general, decrease your miles by 25 to 30% one week before the race to be rested enough for it, Hadfield says.

Push each other (in a good way)

Crazy-hectic schedules can wreak havoc on group runs. Still, try for at least one weekly session with your friends. Hadfield’s suggestion: Meet at your crew’s favorite casual cafe for an out-and-back run. That way you get in your workout and refuel post-run (go for carbs, protein, and fluids).

(To be continued…)

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