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Speedy tips to prep for your next race

Preparing for a big race doesn’t have to be a stressfest. Get in shape and have a great time by following these simple training tips that’ll get you from your first workout to the finish line. Good luck, girls!

Twice the Fun
Here’s the truth: Running can be kinda boring. Dashing around a track or jogging on a treadmill gets dull fast, and it’s way too easy to ditch such a mind-numbing activity. Instead of suffering through training by yourself, grab a workout buddy to do the race with you! She’ll make training fun, help you stick to your goals and motivate you when ya just wanna veg on the couch. You’re much more likely to train consistently with your bestie by your side, and trust me, you’ll have a much better time.

Get Real
While it’s important to dream big and have confidence in yourself, it’s just as essential to be realistic about your running goals. Don’t plan to run a 10K a month from now if you’re wheezing after one mile! Know your limits, because if you bite off more than you can chew it’s possible to really hurt yourself. Don’t expect to be able to run 5 miles straight the first day, and don’t expect running to be easy. Be careful about pushing yourself too far – an injury could put you out of the race all together.

Plan Ahead
Build a workout plan with a gradual increase in distance and intensity. Work on your endurance slowly. It’s best to starting training a few months before the event, especially if you don’t run very often. Try to mimic the conditions of the race. If it’s a trek through the wilderness, find the path or a similar trail and get used to the challenges of the course. Don’t forget to set goals! If you wanna run a 5K, decide to shoot for 2K in two weeks, 3K in four weeks, 4K, six weeks, etc. These check points will let you know if you’re on track.

Reward Yourself
When you reach your goals, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back a bit. Instead of treating yourself with candy or unhealthy foods as your prize, try a fun reward like going to the water park with your workout buddy or splurging on a mani/pedi. You deserve it!

Take a Break
Observe a few rest days each week. You might think running every day will prepare you faster, but the truth is you’ll just end up tired, sore, and maybe even injured.

Make it Count
Doing a race for a cause you believe in is great motivation to run! Not only do you get in fabulous shape and have a great time, but you can also make a big difference for an amazing organization. Love puppies? Try the ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Passionate about finding a cure for cancer? Check out the American Cancer Society for ways you can help.

On the Day of the Race
It’s finally here! Get ready to do your best by getting some quality slumber and drinking lots of water. Rest the day before (no last minute training!), don’t try new foods, and don’t eat large meals 3 hours before the race begins (cramps are a major bummer). Stretch and show some spirit with fun t-shirts or eye black. And remember, it doesn’t matter if you place first or last. Be proud of the effort you put into training for the race and have a great time!

BY SARAH GOLDBERG ON 7/11/2011 12:00:00 PM


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