Having wrapped up 11 weeks of marathon training, there are so many different levels to this topic. As a runner, you need to train for the race you hope for and for the goals you have set for yourself. This of course starts with setting realistic goals and then creating your plan of action. A solid training plan is the first step to training for a race.
Beyond this, there are many other factors that are important to keep in mind when training. Is your race in a warm climate or is it cold? Will the course be hilly? Is fuel readily available along the course and at adequate enough increments to suit your personal needs? What time does you race begin?
Using these questions you can then determine what you will need to consider during your training. For example, if you live in a cold climate and are running a Disney race in the middle of the winter, you might want to use the treadmill at your gym a bit to give your body a bit of an idea of how it will handle the heat. Training for races that are in different climates is one of the hardest factors to truly replicate.
If you live in the city and are planning a trail race, you will need to find some nearby trails to visit for at least a few of your training runs. I know that even here in NYC there are some great trails that can be found with a quick train ride north of the city.
Knowing what time a race starts and what your fuel situation will be are key considerations. If the race starts at 6:00am and you tend to wake up late on the weekends, you should consider adding in a few earlier wake ups and training runs in the weeks leading up to your race. The last thing you want to find out on race day is that it takes you an extra 30 minutes to prepare on early mornings!
If you know that you need fuel every 2-3 miles and your race won’t be providing these options, you will need to consider carrying fuel with you. Keep in mind that some races might not offer what you use during training. If that is the case, skip what they offer and bring your own!
I am running a marathon in a few weeks in the Pocono Mountains. Having spent all winter training in “flat as a pancake” Chicago, I’ve got some work ahead of me. Instead of waiting until race day to see how my body responds, I have been using the hills of Central Park for the last few weeks to help me prepare. I am easing in, to hopefully avoid any over use injuries. But I do know that hill training will hopefully serve me well on race day.
What are your techniques for prepping for a race? What was the hardest race you had to prepare for?