Running is a great form of exercise that works out the entire body. But most people who are not already interested in running tend to think of running as something they would do to get away from danger, not something they would do voluntarily. However, if you decided to try out running, or if you’ve been running for a while and you’re preparing for your first big race, there are some things you should know that will help make the process will easier. Whether you’re training for your first 5K or your first marathon, following a few simple tips can help make the process fun and a little less painful.

The More the Merrier

 Some people enjoy running, particularly distance running, for the solitude provides them. But most people find it rather boring to spend a good amount of time on the road by themselves. If you’re preparing for a race, try to find other people who will run with you. Not only will this keep you on schedule during training, but it’s always rewarding to celebrate your victory with others who have run the race with you. Whether you gather up some friends or join a local running club, having a community of support and encouragement can help make training and running fun, and can help you succeed.

Have a Plan

 Having a plan is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself succeed when training for a race. Some people like to just go out and run for a little bit every day, and for some people this might work. But for most people, it is important to have a plan that will allow you to increase your mileage at a realistic rate, and that is designed so that your training peaks around race day. This is particularly important if you are running distances longer than a 10k. In general, you should not increase your weekly mileage more than 10 percent per week. For instance, if you run 15 miles one week, you should run no more than 16.5 miles the next week. Having a plan for success is essential to making the training and running process enjoyable and doable.

Don’t Neglect Nutrition

People who are training for their first race, or even for their first long-distance race, often fail to pay attention to nutrition. The nutrition required for a runner is very different than the nutritional plan you probably follow on a regular basis. For one thing, it is essential that you eat enough. Secondly, you need to make sure that you’re getting enough of the right foods. Oftentimes people think that since they’re running so much they can eat whatever they want. But this is not the case. You need to make sure that your eating as clean of a diet as possible, and including things like fruits and vegetables, whole grain, low-fat dairy, and lean meat. If you are vegan or vegetarian, stock up on nutrient dense fruits, brown rice, beans, and tofu. Finally, make sure that you are consuming the right ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Generally, you should be consuming about 60 percent of your diet from complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, and simple carbohydrates like fruit. About 30 percent of your diet should come from unsaturated healthy fats, such as those you would obtain from olives, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy. Finally, about 10 percent of your diet should come from protein. This breakdown is extremely essential if you’re running long distances such as a marathon. But it’s a good rule of thumb for every runner.

By focusing on these three essential things, you can help ensure that your race experience will be fun and successful. It’s always fun to do these sorts of events with friends, or with others who are training for the same race. Breaking it down into a training plan they gradually increases your mileage until you reach your goal will help you avoid injury and keep you on track. And making sure that your nutrition is a spot on as possible will ensure that your body is properly fueled for the miles ahead of it. Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the experience of running as your body gets firmer, healthier, and fitter.

***Thank you so much for reading this blog post. I’d love to hear any tips that may have about preparing for a running or athletic event. Please leave a comment below and come join the conversation on my Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/CharityABrooks.