Running is something I have been doing for many years. I ran cross country and track in high school, and successfully finished several half marathons during the off seasons. Although I often take breaks from running (sometimes these breaks stretch for months at a time), I always find myself returning to the sport because it is an excellent stress reliever and a great workout. It’s also inexpensive and convenient, two words every college student loves to hear.
One thing that helps me when I’m having a difficult time getting back into the routine of running, is to sign up for a race. Signing up and paying the fee gives me the motivation to actually train and run it. I enjoy running half marathons, but if that isn’t for you, there are so many different distances to chose from. Before you sign up for a big race, it’s important to keep in mind all that training entails, especially on top of a busy college schedule.
I’m currently training for a half marathon; my first while in college. So, I’ve made a list of a few tips for anyone thinking about taking on the challenge as well.
1. Find a training buddy.
My roommate and a friend of mine are also training for the half marathon with me. Due to our very different class schedules, we aren’t able to run together often, but it is helpful to have at least one other person to hold me accountable and to motivate me.
2. Find a training plan that works with your schedule.
There are so many different training plans to chose from; it can be a bit overwhelming. If you have a goal time, there are plans for that. If you are doing a race with a lot of hills, there are plans for that, too. There are even plans that you can buy. I always go for the beginner training plans which start around 3 miles. I also look for a plan that incorporates a little cross training because if I’m only running for 12 weeks straight, I’ll hate running before I even get to race day. Of course, the training plan is just a way to keep on track, it’s not set in stone. So, make it your own and change things up where you need to. My training plan has me doing all the long runs on Saturdays but since I don’t have class on Fridays, I like to get my running done early and relax over the weekend. Check out the training plan I’ve decided to use here.
3. Be ready for some Friday nights in.
Although it is not always fun watching all your friends go out to parties while you stay in and watch Netflix, you’ll be glad when you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for your long run.
4. Sign up for smaller races, if your budget allows.
Having other races to do during your training will make it more fun and get you hyped for the big day! The long runs are the toughest to do alone so, I try to find races for some of those. As part of my plan, I am signed up for the Goldy’s 10 Mile Run to do a few weeks before my half marathon.
5. Don’t give up.
As you near the end of your training you are going to be exhausted and are going to start thinking this was a big mistake. But don’t give up! You’ve already made it so far. And, I promise the feeling you’ll get when you cross the finish line is worth it!
Happy training, Gophers!