Whatever the distance or event you’re tackling, whether it’s the first time you’ve run competitively or you’re a seasoned racer, these tips can help you level up.
The Capitol 10,000 was established in 1978 and has grown to be not only the biggest 10K event in Texas, but also the sixth largest in the country. This year’s race is scheduled for Sunday, April 5, so if you’re planning to enter the race, you still have plenty of time to prepare. Besides running regularly, what should you do to make sure you’re ready?
1. Establish Your Training Schedule
To prepare for the Cap10K, you’ll need to begin your training six to eight weeks before the race. Aim for two or three runs a week at a moderate intensity (categorized as 60-70% of your maximum heart rate), with each session designed to include short recovery periods. As the race date draws closer, incorporate short high intensity runs and corresponding recovery periods, gradually reducing your endurance training to focus on speed.
During each training session, strengthen your joints and muscles by performing floor exercises for 15 minutes. The main muscles engaged in running are the calf muscles, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors and core, so ensure that all these muscle groups are targeted at some point during your session. Pay particular attention to your glutes, which are integral to allowing you to run safely and reduce the risk of injury.
2. Build Your Strength
To ensure that you perform your best on the day with minimal risk of injury, strength training is as important as your runs. Your muscles protect your bones when you’re running and give power to your movement, so it’s important to build and maintain muscle strength throughout your training period. As well as including short strength training routines in your running sessions, it’s advisable to focus two days a week on strength training either at the gym or at home using bodyweight and resistance exercises.
Remember that nutrition is important in building lean muscle mass, and the body needs to receive adequate quantities of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to repair muscle tissue and maintain strength. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods that deliver high nutritional value, being sure to consume enough healthy fats to stimulate testosterone, which will help you tone and build your muscles. Selective androgen receptor modulators can make your muscles more sensitive to the positive effects of testosterone, and can help you strengthen your bones while building muscle when used alongside strength training and good nutrition. Be sure to focus on high-quality proteins, too, which are important to building and maintaining muscle tone.
3. Work On Your Speed
As you work further through your training program, you can begin to work on improving your speed, which will allow you to perform at your best during the race, increasing your running power and toning your muscles at the same time.
In order to do this, vary the pace in your training sessions, which will enable you to increase your maximum aerobic speed. This is known as Fartlek training. Add five to six bursts of fast-paced running for 100m distances into your slower runs, allowing for recovery time after each interval. Plan the number and length of fast intervals and recovery periods before you set out. If you have an activity tracker, monitor your pace and heart rate to keep you on track.
Alicia Holroyd spent 10 years working in professional kitchens in Houston before taking a career break to start a family. She now combines her lifelong love of writing with her experience in the food and nutrition sector as a freelance writer and content editor. Holroyd lives in Clearlake with her husband, two daughters and her black lab, Rosie.