Make A Run For It: How To Train For A Race

10th Aug 2013 / By Guest Contributor

On your mark. Get set. Go! You’ve committed to running a race, and you’re already second-guessing yourself. Or maybe you run like you stole something every day for fun. Whether you’re training for a local 5k or major national marathon, here are our tips to help you cross the finish line!

Ceci and I both recently ran half marathons. But that doesn’t mean we were former track stars. We set a goal, trained hard and were rewarded with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment when we achieved it.

JILLIAN’S STORY: I hate running. My freshman year of high school I spent three weeks on the cross country team before giving up and trying out for the dance team instead. Running 13.1 miles was never something I aspired to do, because I didn’t think I could do it. Most of my childhood friends ran half and full marathons immediately after college. I still wasn’t inspired. Then three of my friends ran in the inaugural Los Angeles Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in 2010. I was intrigued. When it came time to train the following year, I reluctantly joined them. But the biggest surprise wasn’t that I finished the race just under our goal time of 2:45:00; it was that I couldn’t wait to run another half marathon!

CECI’S STORY: I’d never been very athletic most of my life and decided to do something about it. I love the ocean and got inspired to train for a race when I found out about a half marathon in Big Sur. The thought of running cliffside along California’s famed coastline gave me the push I needed to do something adventurous!

Based on our experiences, we’ve come up with 5 must-follow tips to help you train:


Before you start training, get fitted for running shoes. There’s nothing worse than prepping for a long race only to risk getting injured along the way. With so many advances in athletic footwear, a running store will usually have knowledgeable employees who can outfit you with new kicks based on your walk, posture and type of arch support you need. What better motivation to get out there than a new pair of shoes?


Start training early. We trained for 21 weeks. The schedule we followed recommended running for 30-45 minutes 3 times a week, plus a long run on Sundays. In addition, you should include at least 1-2 days of strength training to stay strong. Exercises like squats, lunges and alternating one-legged dumbbell lifts will keep you toned, but also help strengthen your muscles, which will go a long way to preventing injury. And don’t forget to stretch after every workout!


While the treadmill is great for post work, try to run outside on the weekends. This will mentally force you to use your body’s own speed, so you don’t get too comfy on that treadmill. It will also better prepare you for the environment of the actual race.


Everything is more fun with friends! Training with them will keep you motivated; no one wants to be the person lagging behind! Although my friends and I didn’t run together during the week, we met up for our long Sunday morning runs. It’s a great time to catch up with each other. You can even treat yourselves to breakfast afterward!


You don’t have to actually run the entire time. If the thought of running 13.1 miles nonstop is too overwhelming, consider this alternative: run for 5 minutes and walk for 1 minute. Train by sticking to interval runs and walks 3-4 days a week. Try walking for 1-3 minutes, then running 1-2 minutes and alternate. Week by week add an extra minute for running to build up your endurance.


Wanna race? Check out the upcoming runs in your neck of the woods here.

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