Training Is More Than Just Running

Editor’s Note: Jana Shubat is a certified personal trainer and president Ohio Valley Runners and Walkers Club. This is part of a series of articles preparing runners for the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, scheduled for May 24 in Wheeling.

You have done it: You signed up for a long distance race and you know that you have to train, but did you know that your training should include more than just running or walking? There should be several parts to your training. You have to put in the miles when training for a long distance race.You also have to train specific to your race such as training on hills for a hilly course, but there are other aspects to training. Some of the things that should be included are strength training, cross training, flexibility training and nutrition.

There is also an important component that many forget about: Rest. Here is a brief look at each one of these and their importance.

  • Strength training is important to build strength, prevent injury and help with that final kick to sprint across the finish line. A few days a week of sport-specific strength training can go a long way to get you through your race. Major areas to target are quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles and core. Glute exercises are vital. Many runners and walkers are not aware that they have weak glutes. This can lead to poor form, fatigue and injuries. Upper body strength training is also needed to improve form and posture.
  • Cross training decreases your chance of injury, helps maintain and improve your cardiovascular fitness, and is a great way to continue training if you are injured. It also helps decrease the chance of boredom. Great examples of cross training include biking, elliptical training and swimming/pool running.
  • Good nutrition is vital during training, the race and recovery. It is always beneficial to eat a healthy diet to aid in your training. Load up on vegetables and lean proteins. Drink lots of water, especially the week of the race. Water should be consumed during long distance races, especially when temperatures are high. Fuel should be taken in during the race as needed. We usually store enough energy for about an hour of exercise. Taking in an electrolyte and carbohydrate during the race can keep your energy up. Everyone is different so make sure you experiment with different gels etc during your training. Race day is not the time to try something new. Many new studies argue the carb load theory. More information is being written about the use of healthy fat as fuel along with good carbs instead of the heavy carbohydrate loading that has been popular. I am personally still investigating this.
  • Flexibility training is another way to enhance your training and avoid injury. A good yoga class would be beneficial. Stretching warmed-up muscles helps to prevent injuries and improve range of motion. Never stretch cold muscles. Make sure you are properly warmed up first.
  • Rest is part of your training. Overtraining is a major cause of injury. Not getting enough rest can hinder your progress. One-to-two rest days a week will give your body time to rest and repair. Signs of overtraining can include fatigue, poor performance, lack of motivation, irritability and insomnia.

Remember to include more than just running in your training so you will be ready when you get to that starting line. Need someone to train with? Join the Ohio Valley Runners and Walkers Club where you will find many experienced runners and walkers to train with. We get together to run and walk on Mondays at 5:30 pm at Heritage Port. We also have a group of trail runners and walkers who meet at Barkcamp State Park on Sunday mornings.

Good luck on your race. I hope to tackle 29th St Hill with you on May 24 at the Ogden Half Marathon.