I’ve witnessed the intense pride a person feels when they cross the finish line at their first running event. Hands in the air and a big grin on their face for their finisher’s photo. Then walking around showing off their medal and telling anyone who will listen about every step of the race. I think over the health and fitness benefit to running a race is the spiritual benefit of conquering yourself.
Here are a few things to consider as you make a choice to run your first race:
- Running is a great way to obtain fitness but it can it can also be hard on your body. The shorter the race the less time you’ll need to prepare and the less chance of injury. If you’ve never run a race before it is wise to start with a shorter distance that you feel comfortable with and work your way up to longer distances.
- Sign up for the event months in advance so that it will propel your motivation to prepare each day.
- Consider joining a local running club or retaining a coach. If the absence of these find an online training plan that would work for you.
- Running fitness demands cross training and especially in the core area. On days you’re not running it’s wise to do running strength and flexibility training. You’ll also be wise to stretch very well after each run and on your off days.
- Perfect your running form. Most injuries are caused due to poor form. Most poor form is caused by muscles imbalances. This is why strength and flexibility training and stretching is important. A good method is Chi Running.
- Wear a pair of high quality running shoes that fit your fitness and endurance levels. Seek a good running store and only purchase a pair of shoes from a runner that works at the store who has been running for at least 5 years.
- For half and full marathons consider joining The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training program. For a modest commitment to raise funds for the society, you’ll receive coaching and travel and lodging to a major event. You’ll meet some great friends and you’ll love hearing “Go Team!!” throughout the entire event. I’ve participated with this great charity many times.
- Seek advice from runners who were once at your current level but have risen to a higher state.