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Training for Races
Last month I had the pleasure of racing in the PPP, a fun relay race organized at Fernie Alpine Resort. Throughout the day, I was inspired by what races embody: teamwork (this was a relay for most), accomplishments (some completed solo, some teams were competitive, other were proud to finish), and fun (team bantering and great costumes made for a hilarious day). While most do not train for this race, signing yourself up for one of the many upcoming and more challenging races is a perfect way to motivate yourself, get into shape and experience a great reward at its completion.
1. Find a race. There are plenty of upcoming races in our area (running, biking, triathlon). Check out Fernie Trail Running on facebook for some ideas, or the Fernie Fix – Summer Guide includes a Race Guide for this coming spring through fall. You could also choose a fun destination you would like to visit and give yourself a reason to go. Getting a friend to sign up with you can also make training more fun and successful because you can push each other to go harder.
2. Make a plan. Get a calendar, mark your race and count how many weeks you have to train. Set weekly goals, making sure you have gradual, realistic increases in intensity and duration. Try to follow the 10% rule: increase mileage or minutes by 10% weekly. You want to be race-ready one to two weeks before your event. It is also important to build one to two days per week of cross-training (strength and stability routines) to prevent any overuse or imbalance issues. If you have any injury issues, address them right away and prioritize the beginning of your plan by establishing a solid foundation of strength, endurance and flexibility.
3. Get going! Put your plan into action and assess where you are on your goals at the end of each week. Make sure you listen to your body and adjust accordingly. Should you have any discomforts after your exercise session, ice for ten minutes and decrease your intensity a bit on your next session.
4. Taper. The week (or weeks depending on the length of your race) prior to your race you should build in a taper phase. This means you do lighter intensity and duration routines so your body is able to recover and be ready to perform at 100 percent on race day.
5. Race day. It is important not to change too many factors (i.e. eat as you normally would) for race day. If you plan to use sport drinks or gels, make sure you used them during training.
6. Reflect. Whether your goal was to finish, achieve a personal best, or to win, you should note how you did and what you might like to change for the next race. No matter how you did, be sure to recall what you enjoyed about the experience!