How To Prepare For Race Season

Angela Jenkins

| 3 min read

Race season is upon us. Whether you prefer running or walking, there are many races throughout Michigan to keep you going.
Having finished a half marathon and a handful of 5Ks, I know that Michigan’s sometimes unpredictable weather can pose a challenge to a race training regimen. Also, finding the motivation to get your daily miles completed may be tricky.

Finding Motivation

Ask yourself some of these questions:
  • What is your overall goal?
  • Why do you want to accomplish this goal?
  • Why did you sign up for the race? (charity run, to get healthy, etc.)
  • What is holding you back today?
Here are some tips that help me when I am struggling to meet my goals. Hey, I’m only human, after all.
  • Reflect on your accomplishments thus far
  • Look at yourself and see the physical improvements your body is making during this process of training – this always works for me
  • Think of how proud you will be of yourself once you cross the finish line
  • Think of how proud your spouse and/or children are of you

Safety First

  • Dress in layers for colder weather: Have the first layer be some type of wick-a-way (polypropylene or CoolMax) material that will keep moisture away from the body. The outside layer should consist of a wind and water-resistant material, avoiding a waterproof rain jacket that traps moisture and heat.
  • Don’t overdress: Wearing more layers will not keep you dry. It is important to keep in mind to dress for the temperature like it was a dry day. Wearing multiple layers makes for wearing heavier and wet clothing, neither of which are keeping you dry.
  • Wear a hat: It will keep rain off your face and make for a happier and safer run.
  • Don’t forget the shades: Wearing protective eye wear is important also. Whether it is raining or sunny, these sunglasses will protect your eyes during your walk or run.
  • Be visible: Wearing a reflective outer layer helps drivers see you when there is poor visibility due to rain.
  • Wear a garbage bag: Yes it sounds funny but it isn’t funny to be totally wet on race day before the race has even started. Wearing a garbage bag (cutting a hole on each side for the arms and one for the head) will help keep you dry. Once you feel comfortable, you can take it off and throw it away, not worrying about carrying it or picking it up later. Here are Tips for Running in the Rain.

It’s Your Race

If you haven’t chosen a race to run yet this year in Michigan, here are some opportunities to choose from:
Don’t know where to start for training? There are options out there:
For each of Hal Higdon’s training guides, he offers different training programs for different levels of running: novice, intermediate and advanced.
If you have thought of participating in a race this season, I want to challenge you to really give it a try. Each race offers a unique experience. Check out these sites for more race info for your area:
  • Run Michigan (choose by race date, location and length of race)
Share your race experiences here on A Healthier Michigan.
Photo credit: Peter Mooney

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