HEALTHY LIVING: A beginner’s guide to preparing for a road race

HEALTHY LIVING: A beginner’s guide to preparing for a road race

Spring brings the opportunity to participate in road races of varying distances and intensity.

Registration for the Meriden Rotary Daffodil 5K and the Ion Bank Cheshire Road Race have begun. As someone who has run in the Cheshire Road Race Half-Marathon for the past two years, I highly encourage novice runners who have an interest in distance running to partake. 

These events, held in mid and late-April, require proper planning to ensure adequate preparation of body and mind. Running a 5K race is the equivalent to 3.1 miles, and the least strenuous of the traditional distance categories. A 10K race is 6.2 miles, and a half-marathon is 13.1 miles. 

No matter what distance you intend on running, you should always have a training plan in place, and decent running shoes. A beginner can expect to run a 5K in as little as two to three weeks. An active person and novice runner who is able to run 3.1 miles with ease can plan to compete in a longer race in four to eight weeks, with proper training. 

When devising a running regimen, it’s important to pace yourself. Preparation for a half-marathon will begin with running a total of 10 to 15 miles per week. Training three days during the week and saving longer runs for the weekend will allow the body to adjust to a new routine without undergoing excessive strain.  

Slowly working up to longer distances in increments of two to five miles over the course of four to eight weeks is the basis of an effective race training program. There are many different styles of training that involve interval exercises. A few minutes of brisk walking followed by sprinting can increase stamina over time. 

In addition to cardio, strength training and plyometric exercises are essential components of a well-rounded program. Strength training involves weighted movements designed to increase muscle density. Plyometric exercises consist of quick exertions of maximal force, with movements such as jumping, designed to improve explosiveness. 

The terrain of an intended race should also dictate the diversity of training landscapes. If you will be running on hilly ground, plan to train in a similar environment. Hills can also be simulated using the incline setting on a treadmill. Runners should also anticipate running in a variety of weather conditions.

Embarking on an intense physical endeavor, such as competing in a road race, is as much a demand on your body as it is on your mind. Visualization exercises and meditative breathing techniques are valuable components of a race training program. Regardless of placing, completing a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon is an incredible feat. 

Before beginning an exercise program, it is important to consult with your doctor. While running is an excellent method of enhancing cardiovascular system functioning, it is best to get clearance from a medical professional prior to making drastic changes in your activity levels. 

For more information on the Rotary Daffodil 5k you can visit . To register for the Ion Bank Cheshire Road Race visit 

Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford resident,  NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris –