I’ve had the chance to share about my running routine in this space before. You might remember this medal from my race last October or this hilarious sign from the race I ran for my niece’s first 5k? (She’s A LOT faster than me.)
1. Find a friend.
When I first started running, I sought out a team environment. I usually train on my own now since life is a little hectic these days, but I started running with several charity race organizations.
These types of running teams are easy to find online and a great place to meet new friends with common goals. Plus, if you’re lucky like I was, you’ll find great coaches and experienced runners who will teach you all the tricks of the trade! I’m talking things like eating right out on the course (essential) and how to run downhill (lean forward slightly instead of giving in to your natural tendency to lean backwards).
2. Get some athletic clothes you love.
Permission to go shopping! For me, feeling like I’m wearing the right clothes to tackle the job is uber important. I tend to like really similar pieces for all kinds of working out (short sleeves on my tops and knee length or longer on the bottom, especially for long runs), so I find a style I like and buy several.
I happened across a great top recently: just the right amount of weight. Not too tight, not too loose. So I hopped on to Zappos to see if it was in stock. Holy moly. Not only did they have the top, they had a whole range of colors! I stocked up and made sure that I had one for every day of the week. Not only were the tops easy to find, they were sitting on my doorstep the very next morning- and that’s the FREE shipping.
Zappos is great for online shopping because they have a 365 day return policy on their items- that goes for shoes, luggage, clothing, handbags. I know I am always a little hesitant to look for items online because of size variances, but this makes me so much more confident that I’ll get what I need with very little hassle!
3. Love data? Or schedules? Look for an online app to help with your training.
I can’t say enough good things about apps that can help prepare you for running. If you search on your phone, you’ll find highly rated options to get you to 5ks, 10ks and beyond. I’ve used them successfully with great results.
Another great tool: heart rate monitors or electronic step counters! If you love data, seeing your improvement run after run is likely to help you keep going. I wear a GPS heart rate monitor for all my races to show exactly where I can improve- and as a little bit of “you did it!” motivation.
4. Prepare every day. And prepare a lot the night before a race.
Now that you have the right athletic wear, practice a nightly routine of getting your gym bag ready for the next day. Having several similar options makes it super easy- grab a top, some bottoms, shoes, and socks and put them somewhere easy to grab on your way out the door in the morning. Not only will this make it easier to remember everything, it will also help remind you not to skip workouts. I can’t tell you how many times I remembered my determination from the night before when I think about skipping a run.
The night before race day is similar, but more extensive. Once you’ve picked up your race bag, attach your number to the front of your shirt and affix the timing chip to your shoes. Set out your whole outfit, including any special fun accessories you’re planning to wear (like the sparkly crown gifted to me by a friend for a Seattle half marathon a few years ago). Don’t forget anything you’re carrying on the course: food, lip blam, sunscreen, money, your cell phone or a hat. If the race offers a bag check, take advantage of it with non-valuable items. I like to include a pair of flip flops and a snack- sometimes finish lines are super busy and it can be a while before you feel like walking briskly again.
5. Speaking of accessories- don’t be afraid to have fun with it.
Bay to Breakers (this weekend!) is especially fun because anything goes- both for the runners and the folks supporting them along the way. The whole Bay Area comes out to cheer and that means super fun outfits and house parties and lots of excitement.
It doesn’t really matter which race you’re running though, try to inject a little fun. Anything from tutus to team t-shirts are popular. I like to make sure that my name is somewhere super visible to people cheering on the sidelines- it’s fun to hear people shout your name as you pass.
Hope to see you out on the course this weekend! It’s one of my favorite races of the year!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.