So you think you are ready for a new challenge? Whether it’s racing in your first 5K or training for an Ironman the key to success is preparation. My husband, who has worked a sedentary job and has not trained regularly for any sport since our boys were born, recently got into the game of running and has had spectacular success. He is an analytical man and spent a great deal of time finding the right “equipment”. The right stuff to keep him on track included the Runmeter GPS, which he uses on his iPhone. http://appadvice.com/appguides/show/gps-activity-loggers This app helps him to track his progress, competes against his own time, maps each route with exact distances calculated and even
announces updates on Twitter and Facebook accounts if wanted. This gadget has proven to be a great motivator and a realistic snap shot of his progress towards his long-term goals.
Shoes were another important component for success. My husband researched every form of shoe possible, even venturing into the barefoot running option with the Vibram http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/index.htm “gorilla foot” shoe that he still wears for comfort but not for running. He found that there was not enough support for his running style with that type of shoe. In the end he ended up with the opposite type of shoe, which he now runs in every time he trains. The shoe he chose is unlike ANY running shoe I have ever seen before. He wears Hoka trail running shoes, which he swears are the best shoes for running yet invented. http://hokaoneone-na.com/running_shoes.html#.
Now that he was outfitted with the two most important things for training he began to set reasonable goals to run regularly and he ran pretty consistently for a few years but had never run a race. Luckily he was invited to participate in a Ragnar Relay race by a close family member who knew he had been training and needed one more person to complete his team of 12 runners. http://ragnarrelay.com/about?gclid=CKvFw6-Nqa8CFQ6Ehwod5gIuWQ. This was quite a challenge for someone who had never ran in any race before. If you are not familiar with the Ragnar Relay Series it is a 200-mile relay race ran overnight with a team of 12 participants. Some people who are super athletes compete in this relay with only 6 team members while a handful of super elite athletes can finish the race with only 3 on a team.
My husband was asked to participate on the twelve-man team running a leg that totaled over 18 miles. Since the race is split up between all members and ran as a relay he had to run the total distance over three separate legs. Some of the miles stretched uphill and others were set up in the middle of the night or in the blazing heat on the asphalt. The gauntlet had been thrown down and my husband began to prepare for the challenge. Training takes on a whole new meaning when there are team members involved. He trained well so that no one else on his team would have to pick up the slack for his lack of preparation.
He quickly learned that the added miles on his workout routine took a new kind of toll on his body. His feet were giving him problems. He had such pain in his heel as he was training that he called me to come get him from his route because he could not walk. He dreaded the fact that it could be a stress fracture that would keep him from being able to run the race which was now only a few weeks away. Thankfully he was willing to visit a Physical Therapist who came highly recommended. The Physical Therapist was able to establish that there was no fracture, helped to treat him for tissue damage and strengthen all surrounded muscles through specific strength training exercises. The treatments were not covered by our insurance but they were a vital part of the investment he had already made into the race.
Sufficient knowledge, the right equipment and consistent training prepared my husband to successfully complete his first official race, making his team members proud by running faster than anyone expected. The race was the farthest he had ever ran before and he now had a new level of accomplishment to celebrate. What about you? Do you find it is easier to train when you set a date to be in a 5K or any other race and you have already paid for it? Or do you find that the pressure of a race causes you to overextend and injure yourself?
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