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From training plans to nutritional advice, finding the right gear to guidance around recovery, NRC brings you everything
you need to race with confidence—whether you're a seasoned marathoner or preparing for your first 5k.


TRAINING PLANS Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or about to attempt your first 5k race, it’s
important to build a training plan that works for you. Generally for a marathon you
need about 16 weeks of preparation. Find out as much as possible about the race
course you plan to conquer—the more you know, the better you can prepare for any
obstacles during training. Learn to pace yourself by picking up speed as you go along.

Figure out the running gear, nutrition and routine that works for you before the big day
—and then stick to it. Squeeze in as much sleep as you can in the days and months
leading up to your race. And remember, the first few miles (or days, or weeks)
will be the hardest, but be patient and have confidence that your plan is
taking you towards your goal.


INJURY PREVENTION Being sore after a training session: totally normal. Limping around on one foot after an
easy 3-miler: not so much. Whatever your running experience, it’s important to learn
how to spot (and prevent) some of the most common running injuries.
Nike Performance Council Member David McHenry, PT, DPT, lead therapist and strength
coach for the Nike Oregon Project explains that the most common issue among runners
is overuse injuries which are caused by too much loading on a tissue and too little
recovery. The ones that seem to pop up most are Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendinitis,
IT Friction Syndrome and Tibialis Posterior Tendonitis. Generally, if there is a nagging ache,
soreness and/or pain that doesn't get better in 3 to 4 days of self-care, consult your
doctor and/or physical therapist immediately.
Work to prevent common injuries by incorporating running strength training into your
routine. Make progressive increases in your training volume (while trying to not increase
your total mileage by more than 10 percent each week). Take recovery—hydration, nutrition,
sleep and stretching seriously. And last, but not least, be sure to rotate your running
shoes out regularly.


GEAR Cold outside? Not an excuse. You’ll need to bundle up when the temperatures start to
drop but learn how to do it smartly rather than just piling one random layer on top of
another. A good rule of thumb is to always dress as though it’s about 10 degrees
warmer outside than it actually is.
If it’s too chilly for a t-shirt, opt for a sweat-wicking based layer that helps keep
you warm and dry. If you need more protection than that, layer up in breathable,
sweat-wicking pieces that lock in warmth without weighing you down. If it’s wet
and windy, start with a base layer that helps retain body heat (while still wicking
sweat away) and then top it all off with a lightweight outer layer that can stand up
to inclement weather.
And finally, don’t forget that your head, hands and feet are often the first things to
freeze up on a chilly run, so you should wear a hat, gloves and socks that keep
you warm without overheating


NUTRITION Healthy-eating habits are the foundation of a good running routine. When you’re
running faster, and going for longer, you need to make sure you’re well-fuelled. What
you choose to consume before, during and after you run depends on several different
factors. Every runner is different, and the only real way to know what nutrition plan will
be best for you come race day is to test foods, drinks and gels/chews out in your
training first.
For most training sessions you can either have a normal meal a few hours before you
exercise or you can have a smaller meal at least 30 mins before you start running.
If you opt for the normal meal, try incorporating 1 or 2 palm-sized portions of protein,
1 or 2 fist-sized portions of veggies, 1 or 2 handfuls of carbs and 1 or 2 thumb-sized
portions of fat. If you opt for the smaller meal, try something easily digestible,
like a smoothie.
On the road you may need to replace some calories and electrolytes along the way,
so opt for sports drinks or add a protein powder to your drink. Aim to consume a gel,
chews or another electrolyte-replacement product of your choice (should contain
sodium, potassium, calories and carbs) every 45 minutes to an hour that you
are running.
After your run aim for something that contains 1 or 2 palm-sized portions of protein,
1 or 2 fist-sized portions of vegetables, 1 or 2 handfuls of carbs and 1 or 2 thumb-sized
portions of fats, along with a low-calorie beverage, like water. Bottom line: The better
you eat, the better you’ll feel. And the better you feel, the better you’ll run. See our
nutrition guide on what to eat before running for more information.


HYDRATE During a marathon, half marathon or 10k you’re sure to sweat a lot. As you sweat,
you lose electrolytes and fluids that your body needs to function properly. So if you’re
going to beat the fatigue you’ll face during a race and in training it’s best to do it one
sip at a time—keeping your water reserves high before, during and after your workouts.
You should consume at least 8 cups of water per day, especially on days when you’re
going to beexercising outside. If you have a long run coming up, focus on staying
well hydrated and fuelled for the whole week leading up to the event.
During your training runs bring a bottle of water and take a few sips every 15 to 20
minutes, or make sure you’re going to pass a water fountain on your route. If you
plan on pounding the pavement for over an hour, then you should probably take a
sports drink that contains electrolytes (sodium, potassium, etc.) as well.
Every training session should end with water, as replenishing fluids is one part of the
important post-workout recovery process. For more information see our running
hydration article.


RACE RECOVERY To become a stronger, faster runner, you've got to run. Seems obvious, right? But it's
what you do after you run that really impacts your overall performance. A thorough
race recovery strategy lowers the risk of injury and helps your body get the
maximum out of training sessions.
Dan Stepney, British Athletics and NRC Coach explains: ‘There's an optimal 20 minute
window post exercise where you want to replenish the nutrients and water you have
lost. Don't wait until you get home as you'll miss this window. Instead, plan and
prepare what you’re going to have and take it with you to your session. Eating
protein-based foods is ideal, however some people find it hard to eat within 20mins
so post workout smoothies can be a good option.’
Make sure you build in a comprehensive, dynamic cool down after your run too to
help hit all the major muscles in your body in a short period of time. Nike Oregon
Project’s routine includes repetitions of Knee Hugs, Butt Kicks, Lunges and Stretches.
And perhaps most importantly, make sure you get enough sleep—an invaluable
aspect of recovery.


RACE DAY Feel positive and prepared at the start line. Our NRC Coaches share their top tips.
For example, NRC Boston Coach Ally Brillaud advises making a routine and sticking
to it so you are mentally and physically prepared on race day—from what you’re
going to wear to what you’re eating to how you’re going to warm up.
NRC Boston Coach Dan Fitzgerald says to embrace the speed work to make you
feel more comfortable when you’re settled over distance. NRC LA Coach
Blue Benadum advises knowing what running gear you’ll be wearing for different
possible weather scenarios to make sure you pick the right clothing and
accessories for the day, and adds these final words of encouragement: ‘When
you get pre race-day jitters at the start line, embrace that feeling. Your adrenaline
is kicking in, and that means you’re going to crush it!’
See our race day tips for more advice on what to do on the day of your race.



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