If you work out regularly, but still wouldn’t define yourself as an athlete, maybe it’s time to try a race. As running season begins, check out the races and walks in your area, but make sure to prepare accordingly. Here are a few steps to help you take your fitness routine to the next level.
Pick Your Path
Signing up for a race or other athletic event will not only challenge you to work out more frequently, but it will also create a specific end goal that will help you structure a daily routine. For extra motivation, you can also pick a race that raises funds or awareness for a cause you are passionate about.
You may also want to discuss racing options with a doctor or nutritionist if you have questions or personal health concerns.
On average, training time for a 5K is just seven weeks, while training for a full marathon can last up to six months. Runners looking for a less intimidating race may choose the 5K. For this training, The New York Times says athletes should consider doing half-hour runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the first Sunday, the person should run until they reach 1 mile, increasing that length by a half mile each of the following Sundays.
For longer races like half-marathons or marathons, The Times suggests running 30 minutes for two days each week, with a third day running up to four miles. In place of running, a trainee can also use the walk-run method by walking and running for set increments of time on their route.
To build energy, runners at a moderate level of training should eat two meals that include a generous helping of healthy carbohydrates each day, specifically for breakfast and lunch, according to the BBC. Intake can be reduced at dinner. For muscle growth and repair, the runner should also eat one serving of protein in each meal.
It is also important to consume foods with iron at least three times a week, as this will help increase energy and carry oxygen to muscles. Women need more than men.
Some foods that may work well on this diet include chicken, yogurt, eggs, quinoa, and porridge.
Once you draw out your training routine, be sure your clothing is the perfect fit, so you can run in different elements. Consider putting together a gym bag with all the essentials you may need, including water to keep you hydrated.
Additionally, If you want to measure progress, consider trying fitness technologies such as a step-tracking app or heart monitoring. Research has found that fitness tracking apps and devices help people gain accountability for their training progress.