15 Must-Know Tips on Training to Run Your First 15k

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Ready, set, GO! It is time to train for your first long race. Running races has grown in popularity in recent years. With more than 25 million people signing up for half marathons and marathons every single year, it is no surprise that other race distances are starting to pop up, too. A 15k is a great long race distance. It isn’t a half marathon, but it isn’t too far off either. The 15k is just under 10 miles, and the distance makes it a great race length for those who are training to take on longer races, as well as those who are looking for fun ways to keep in shape.

Running your first long race

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If you’ve never run a long race before, then there are a handful of tips you are going to want to think about before crossing that start line. In between the start and finish there are going to be a lot of challenges. Fatigue, dehydration and muscle pain will all show their faces before the race is done. Being prepared physically for the race is only half the battle—you need to be ready for the race mentally, too.

15 Tips to Make You Ready for Race Day

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Long before you sign up for your first race, take the time to consider what it will take to cross the finish line in good shape. A 15k is an ideal race length to show endurance, physical ability and competitiveness. Following these tips will ensure that you are ready to put everything you’ve got to the test on race day.

1. Train for the race as often as possible

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This probably sounds basic, but it is the key to race day success. You don’t want to take on a long race if you aren’t training regularly. Try to run almost every day. On days you don’t run make sure to do something else, such as light weight lifting, swimming or yoga. There is no magic number of how many runs you should go on before race day for success, but most experts agree that at least three months should be spent training for a race this length.

2. Stay hydrated

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Don’t just plan to stay hydrated race day. Hydration is something that you have to work on regularly to maintain. Practice hydrating yourself on your practice runs and keep to the same routine on race day.

3. Mix in long-runs with short runs

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Don’t make the mistake of having race day be the first time you attempt a distance. Go for a full length run to test out how it feels. If you live close to the area you’ll be running on race day, take a trip and get accustomed to the course. You’ll be training for this race for weeks on end, so in the course of that training mix up the distance a bit. Do a 5k one day a week and a 6 mile run another day. Try to do at least one long run once a week, or once every other week at minimum. This is the best way to test your endurance.

4. Enter the race for the right reasons

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This is something that you will need to determine for your own needs, but before you get to the starting line, ask yourself this question: “why am I doing this?” There is no wrong answer here. The important thing is that you determine what it is you are trying to accomplish. As long as the race is physically, it is just as long mentally. You’ll need to know why you are there and have your mind in a positive place if you hope to have a good race experience.

5. Have the right equipment

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When you start training for a half marathon, you need to make sure you have the right stuff. This includes sneakers, running shorts and shirts, good quality socks and anything else that you’ll need to make your run a good experience. A lot of people wait to purchase new merchandise for their running to see if they will actually accomplish their goal. Don’t fall into this trap, as it could leave you with an injury and lost motivation. Get the right equipment early on so you are motivated to train correctly.

6. Don’t try new shoes (or anything else!) on race day

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Yes, it is a good idea to get new shoes that will give your feet the support you need during your run. However, you don’t want to try out new shoes on the day of the race. This is the day you are looking to prove what you can do. New shoes often come with blisters and don’t fit correctly right away. Break in new shoes gradually and use your old faithfuls when it comes to race day.