Friday, November 14, 2014

What Not To Do When Training for a 15K

This week I made an exciting decision! I registered for my first 15K! The Hot Chocolate 15k to be exact. The event features both a 5K and a 15K. Since I have already conquered two 5K's this year, I thought I'd take on the mighty 15!

What better way to reward yourself after 90+ minutes of running in chilly conditions than guzzling down a mug of hot coco?! That is what inspired the birth of the Hot Chocolate Run series. Participants are not only rewarded with chocolatey delights, but with some other awesome swag as well!

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Runners receive an official Hot Chocolate Run goodie bag and mug filled with treats to satisfy your inner chocoholic! But best of all, that beautiful fleece-lined hoodie!! Yup, that beaut is given to EVERY runner!! I'm a sucker for warm and fuzzy sweaters so that was about all the convincing I needed! And if you feel like you are brave enough to face that 15K, you also get this sweet finisher medal (see what I did there ;-) )

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As a newly seasoned runner, taking on a almost-half-marathon might be a little overambitious. But hey, what's life without a little challenge?

Regardless, I thought I would share my "Do Not Do" list when it comes to training for your first 15K!

1. Do Not Under Eat
Running is a sport that requires A LOT of energy, especially when running long distance or for long periods of time. You want to make sure you are eating enough food to fuel your training sessions, or you will put yourself at risk for malnutrition or possible injury. Using an app like MapMyRun is a great because it gives you a rough estimate of the calories burned during your run. With that being said, you don't want to fuel your run with "junk calories." This would include anything that does not give you nutrients along with the calories. You can read up more on this topic in my Think Quality, Not Quantity post. Remember: junk in, junk out. Fuel up with healthy fruits, veggies, carbs, and lean proteins to help you run your best time.

2. Do Not Train Without a Plan
Maybe is it because of my Type-A personality, but I can't accomplish anything if I don't have a thorough plan! I am also more likely to flake on a training day if just plan to wing it. So make sure to plan your training days from the get-go, that way you are able to keep yourself accountable. And less training days missed means the more prepared you'll be come race day. #BestRaceYet

3. Do Not Push Yourself Too Hard
We all have our limits, so never let pride get the better of you. As for me, I know I am not trained or experienced enough to run this 15k straight through. And trying to do so could put me at risk for injury. However, I do plan on pacing myself by doing the run/walk approach. That way I can finish the race with a respectable time and not puke up my breakfast. 

4. Do Not Forget About Strength
While running is mainly a cardio workout, it is important to remember that other muscles in your body need some TLC, too! You don't want your leg muscles to get fatigued 8 miles in, so try to incorporate at least 1-2 days to strength train. The stronger your body is as a whole, the easier you will be able to run. Try for a routine that is done at a fast pace to add that cardio element as well. For me, an hour of pole fitness a few days a week does the trick!

5. Do Not Forget To Enjoy the Journey
Sometimes we are so focus on reaching the end, we forget about the road we took to get there. So while you are out there facing the chilly winds and potential snow fall, remember to take a look at the beautiful nature surrounding you. There is nothing more therapeutic like running through breathtaking scenery to remind you that you apart of a world much, much bigger than yourself. And no matter what the results of the race are, you are still better and more improved than you were before!

What was your first 15k experience like? What are your own personal "do not's?" Share your story below!!

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