Whether you are part of our CARA training programs, working towards your next 5k PR, or a beginning runner CARA Sr. Director of Training and Head Coach Tim Bradley is here to answer your training questions!
Q: After a challenging winter, I am finally starting to get back out the door on a consistent basis. What are some tips you can provide for runners who are now just getting started with their training for the year?
A: Spring brings better weather, more races, and more training opportunities! For many people, this is the official start of their running for the year and it can be tricky to get back into shape without having any injury setbacks. Below are some of the keys to organizing your training and giving it purpose and context so you can build fitness and move towards your racing goals.
Set a Race Schedule
Look for not only a “target race” but other shorter “tune up” or practice races that can help you get ready. Having a mapped out racing schedule gives your training structure and purpose and helps you navigate the year. Consider at least 3-5 races throughout the coming months to make up your schedule.
Set Your Running Frequency
Map out the days that work best for you and try to keep that time as sacred for your running as possible. Often you are trying to find time around your already established schedule for the year, so look for the most realistic and logistically possible times to run during your week and stick to it.
The nice thing about starting to train again is any little amount you do will start to give you benefits. Measure yourself on where you were at year-to-date last year, not necessarily your highest mileage from the previous year. If you can trend in the direction of having 5%-10% more mileage under your belt from year to year, it can have a huge impact on your fitness. You don’t have to feel like you have to “catch up” all in the first few weeks.
If January and February were a little rough for you, use the months of March and April to get back on a consistent routine and “chip off rust." By May and June you can be heading to mid-season form.