Whether you are a high-level athlete or a beginner in running events, you should use progressive and adapted physical preparation according to your personal objectives.
Choose the type of race you want to participate in
Your friends had the great idea to participate in a half-marathon in 1 month, when you have never run more than 4 km in your life? Maybe it's best to revise your goals.
Before embarking on such a sporting challenge, it is essential to properly assess your ability to perform the event in order to have adequate physical preparation.
Know your limits
First, know that we all have unique physical abilities. It is essential to recognize its limits. There's no point trying to force things. You risk injuring yourself or even becoming discouraged. It is important to practice this sport for pleasure and personal satisfaction. Whether it's a Triathlon or a 6 km race, you have to do it for yourself!
Clearly define your goals
Before registering for an event, plan the time needed for proper preparation.
Evaluate the distance to be covered and the time allotted to complete the race. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of a professional in case of doubt. This way, you will avoid unpleasant surprises and disappointments.
It's good to be ambitious, but equally important to set achievable goals. We promise, you will get more satisfaction out of it!
Organized race or autonomous course?
Once again, running is a personal motivation. You might love solo trail running as much as triathlons. Do not hesitate to test the different types of race to discover your preferences.
Train gradually in the months leading up to the race
While your running training is mainly focused on fundamental endurance, that is to say, which allows you to run without being out of breath over long distances, you should rather aim for training that will allow you to develop your physical abilities.
Start with short distances
For a paid preparation, know that the repetition of short distances, 2 to 3 times a week, is the key. By promoting distances of 100 or 200 m repetitively, alternating sprints and jogs, you should develop your speed, your pace and your muscular strength.
Gradually move to longer distances
During your preparation, plan for a transition to longer distances. Thus, you could opt for 5 laps of 1000m, including a rest period between each race. Practicing 2 to 3 times a week accustoms your body to long distances and improves your muscular and cardio-respiratory endurance.
Get quality sleep
Sleep is crucial for your body to allow proper recovery and optimize your running prowess, especially before a competition. The day before your race, it is recommended to sleep at least 8 hours, even 9 to 10 hours.
Like any good athlete, you will need to pair targeted strength training with your preparation. Thigh curls, lunges, or calf raises once or twice a week will increase your muscle strength.
Being accompanied by a trainer can also help you target the best interventions.
Don't forget the warm-ups!
Like many people, it may be unclear for you to know when it is appropriate to stretch.
When you start your session, it is recommended that you do dynamic warm-up exercises, which involve movements that help activate your muscles, improve your range of motion and your body's responsiveness: knee brought back to the chest, heels to buttocks, raised from the knees, etc.
Have the right clothes and equipment
While you will invest a lot of time in your training, you will like to wear clothes designed for your physical activity.
Choose your running shoes
The first thing you should invest in is definitely a good pair of running shoes. You should not orient your choice according to a sale or a brand, but rather according to the use and morphology of your foot. In addition, it is essential to try on your two shoes in store. They should be comfortable from the first try.
So you'll want a shoe that breathes well and, most importantly, provides good support for your feet.
Jerseys and shorts
There are an array of brands on the market offering styles and price ranges for everyone. You will have many choices of clothing: shorts, leggings, short sleeves, long sleeves, tank top… keep in mind that running clothing should be light, allow heat and sweat to escape and be fitted close to the body. Obviously, by going to the big brands, you will find specialized collections for running and therefore very efficient.
Thus, we suggest that you have several sets that lend themselves to the different conditions in which you will use them: in the rain, in the sun or in cold weather.
What accessories to get?
Several products exist on the market to make your running outings more comfortable.
- Sunglasses, in both summer and winter, protect against UVA and UVB rays.
- The bottle holder belt is very practical during long rides or in hot weather, but also useful for lugging keys or snacks.
- The armband, for dragging your phone, can really make your run more enjoyable.
- Wireless headphones are ideal for being free to move around.
- The GPS watch that tracks your performance and heart parameters. These devices can often be linked to apps on your phone, so very useful for seeing your progress.
- The running lamp allows you to take advantage of the end of the day to go running in complete safety.
Pay attention to your diet
Preparing for a race event requires special attention and this is even more true in the days leading up to the race.
The weeks leading up to the race
Normally, you will want to favor carbohydrates, which are easy to digest, such as rice, pasta, cereals or even potatoes, and avoid fat.
Opt for snacks like yogurt, chocolate milk or a granola bar between workouts to give you energy.
The day before and the same morning
Depending on the goal you are pursuing, you will have to adapt your diet considerably.
The days before the race, choose carbohydrate-rich meals to store a lot of sugar. Opt for refined carbs like white bagels with jam, high-carb beverages, chocolate milk, or smoothies.
The same morning, evaluate the time that separates you from your departure. As a general rule, the longer you eat before your run, the more filling your lunch should be. Ideally, test the earliest under the same conditions to make sure it suits you.
Don't forget to stay hydrated
Hydration, hydration and more hydration. Whether before or during your run, you will need to drink plenty of water.
Before and during
Before your race day, it is important to drink a minimum of 3 liters of water a day and avoid alcohol.
During your run, experts recommend drinking half a cup of water every 15 minutes, regardless of the temperature. The amount may also vary depending on the person's level of sweating.
It is also recommended to drink a sports drink or energy gel in an effort of more than an hour, which contains carbohydrates and mineral salts (sodium, potassium) to help recover the salts and minerals lost with sweat.
Finally, don't forget the pleasure!!
After these many tips to maximize your performance, don't forget to have fun when you go out. It is as important as the results! Good race!
Do not hesitate to read our article on choosing training shoes, which contains other advice for, among other things, choose your running shoes!