How to Prepare for an Endurance Competition
Many people hesitate to participate in an endurance activities because they do not know how to begin training. With fall shortly coming upon us, many road races will start to take place. Signing up for one of these events, can be the motivation you need to start training, which will keep you fit, and give you a fun goal to work toward. Starting to train for an endurance activity is actually quite simple, just put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be moving! Below are five tips for how to begin training for your first endurance competition:
1. Choose the event you want to participate in and sign up! Signing up and paying for the event will help you commit to training because you have invested money into it. When choosing an event make sure that you leave enough time to train so that you feel prepared for your race.
2. Set a goal for the event. Make sure that your goal is specific-do you want to merely finish the race or are you going for a certain time or placing at the event? What mini-goals along the way do you need to reach to get to your main goal?
3. After you have chosen your event, and know the distance, lay out a training plan. In your training plan, you should map out how many days of week you will train, what your training will consist of each day, and how long each training session will last and what the goal for that training session will be. Is your goal for the week to improve endurance, speed, or technique? Are you going to incorporate resistance training as well?
4. Work up to the race distance. If you have chosen to do a 5k, but know that you cannot run a 5k straight through, start shorter and slowly progress into greater distances. A good way to accomplish this would be doing intervals, such as one minute working hard, one minute active recovery for half the distance of the race. Then the next time you train, you could go for three quarters the distance of the race, and then after a few weeks, you can try the full distance of the race.
5. Make sure that the majority of your training is specific to the event that you are going to compete in. While cross-training can be great for injury prevention, in order to get the best results, practice what you will be competing. For example, if you are going to run a 10k, but the majority of your training is spent on the bike, you may be in shape for biking, but that fitness may not translate over to running because local muscular endurance is specific.
Example: Jim decided to sign up for a 5k turkey trot. Currently Jim’s training program consists of 30 minutes of elliptical, a few minutes of stretching exercises, and a few resistance training exercises 2x a week. Jim cannot currently run a whole 5k without stopping. Jim’s goal for the 5k is to finish the whole 5k without stopping. A good first week of training for Jim would look like this:
Monday: 30 minutes of elliptical and resistance training
Tuesday: 1.5 mile run/walk
Thursday: 30 minutes of jogging and walking and some resistance training
Friday: 1.5 mile run/walk
Sunday: Try to do .5-1 mile jog without stopping