Runner’s World April 2005
By Jeff Galloway
Q. How long should I run before doing races?
A. Beginning runners are usually prepared for their first 5-K or
10-K run after two months of running every other day, and having
completed one run that is at least the distance of the race.
The most common mistake beginners make during their first race is
starting out too fast, the really struggling before the finish.
The bottom line is that you really can’t start too slowly
during your first race. Practice your extra-slow start by beginning
all or your training runs at a markedly easy pace. And during one
run per week, experiment with different ratios of walk breaks (for
example, walking one minutes every five minutes for a 10-K), which
will keep you fresh during the race.
The Excuse (And How To Beat It)
Running is for loners - I prefer group sports.
Running isn’t necessarily a solo sport. In fact, people have
been running together for ages. Think about it: Primitive man gathered
in groups whenever they covered long distances, helping each other
along the way in order to survive. Sounds to me like most running
clubs (just substitute shorts for loincloths).
Whether you’re interested in running with a group or just
one or two steady partners, it’s best to start your search
with a local running club. Ask experienced staffers at a specialty
running store for contact information on clubs or training groups
in your area. You can also try a Web search, typing in "running
clubs" and your city, or visit rrca.org, usatf.org, or runinjuryfree.com.
Before heading out with a group, talk with at least one member to
find out if you’ll fit in. Ask how many other members run
your pace. If all the runners are much faster or slower, look for
another group. Also ask how far the group goes on its scheduled
runs. If their runs are more than a mile farther than you’ve
run in the past two weeks, keep looking so you won’t feel
pressured to go longer than you should.
Spring Ahead: A Workout To Power Up Your Running
It may still look dark and cold outside, but the calendar says it’s
time to break out of that winter slog. To add strength to your stride,
challenge your legs once per week by running repeats on a surface
that offers increased resistance, such as a moderate hill, a sandy
area, or a patch of thick grass. After an easy 10-minute jog, run
30 to 50 steps at a slightly faster than normal training pace. Walk
back to the starting point so that you feel rested, and repeat,
running the second one a bit faster than the first. Try four of
these strength segments, getting slightly faster on each if possible,
and increase by one segment each session. Once you reach eight,
lengthen the hill or sand segment by 10 to 15 steps and start back
at five repeats. Cool down with 10 minutes of easy jogging.
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