The most effective training you can do is to mimic the event for which you are training. This does not mean every day you need to lace up and go all out or run a million miles. This means breaking down your race into chunks and training your body slowly and consistently for what you are going to conquer.
1. Going the Distance
The goal is to be able to cover at least 80% of the race distance in your peak training week for one run. For a 5K this means being able to run at least 2 miles at once for your longest run, where when marathon training, this means having your longest run being between 18 and 20 miles. Saving that extra 20% for race day is the cherry on top! Plus there is 100% secret sauce high vibes you feel when toeing the starting line!
2. Your Hot or Your Cold
On average, it takes about 2 weeks for your body to adapt to hot or cold temperatures. To get your body adjusted and prepared for race day temps, you need to be training in similar conditions at least once a week. October races are a fun bag of temperatures! It can snow, be 90s or a perfect 60. To make sure you are prepared switch up the time of day you are running. In the summer temperatures are cooler in the mornings so maybe do your long run and a recovery run in those early am hours. For your speed work, lace up after work or meet up with a happy hour themed run crew for a few miles. By switching up your time of day, you are adapting your body and performance to show up, no matter the temperature.
3. Race Pace
Many runners are often chasing PRs but if you want that PR, you need to teach your body to run at that goal pace. Don’t just jump into a long tempo run but gradually teach your legs and body to move at that faster speed by gradually increasing your speed work for longer periods at race pace. Start with 30 second sprints after an easy run and eventually add up to a long tempo run to tie that pace together.
4. Fast and Flat or Steep and…
Everyone knows that the Boston Marathon has Heartbreak Hill. Most trail runs have elevation gains, where The bRUNch Run Denver is as flat as pancake. Knowing the terrain of the race is going to have a huge impact on how you train. If there are hills, practice running up and down the hills. Pro tip: Don’t fight the downhill, let gravity takeover and go with the flow. Save that energy for the uphill.
5. Try Your Gear
Repeat. “I will not wear new gear on race day.” And again. “I will not wear new gear on race day.” You are excited and new gear always makes us happy but make sure to test all of your gear. For a 5K make sure you are comfortable and not getting blisters from your shoes. For races that are over an hour, make sure your gear is comfortable for at least your longest run. Chaffing and blisters can throw all of your training out the window so one more time, “I will not wear new gear on race day.”