Week 1: Warm Up and Endurance Workout
Warm up is one of the most important part of your workout. You need to get yourself ready for the race day.
There are many ways to warm up but here’s how I do it:
1) I run around my neighborhood several times, doing some simple exercises like jumping jacks or skipping rope.
Then I walk around my neighborhood again while keeping my heart rate elevated (I don’t want to overheat).
2) I then do some basic stretching.
I stretch every muscle group in my body, from my legs to my arms to my back. My favorite stretches are the ones where you grab hold of something and slowly pull it towards you until you feel a nice stretch.
3) After warming up, I perform some endurance work.
For me this means running around a track at least 5 minutes without stopping. If possible, try to keep going faster than 10 mph!
4) Finally, I take a short break.
When you’re done with all these things, you should have a good feeling about your workout.
If you’re not sure what to do during warm up, just start out slow and build up speed gradually. If you’re unsure if you’ve warmed up enough, stop and rest for awhile before continuing.
Don’t rush through the workout either; take your time!
For the rest of your training, you will need to keep track of your distance. Go to this link to get a free training log:
Free Training Log
Fill out the fields at the top. These include your name, date, and of course, your distance.
If you’ve used a different workout, you can click on the “Other Workouts” button to the right and describe your own workout (make sure you give yourself credit! Ha ha… just kidding… sort of…)
If you want, you can also make your log public so people can click on it and see your progress. You can always change this setting later.
Now that you have a way to track your workouts, let’s get started!
Ease into week 1. You do not want to start pushing yourself too hard right away or you could get hurt.
Instead, just run slow enough that you can carry on a conversation while you’re running. Do this for about 20-30 minutes.
After that, it’s time for your endurance workout! This is the one where you’re going to be really testing yourself.
I want you to run as far as you can, but only at a comfortable pace. You should be able to speak in full sentences, but not much more than that. If you can’t carry on a conversation, you’re running too fast (for now).
Be sure to carefully listen to your body. If at any point you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or otherwise symptomatic of something going wrong, stop and rest for a bit.
You can always try again another day. If everything feels fine, keep running and keep an eye on the time. Aim to finish in about 90 minutes.
If you get tired or sore, take a break. Walking is perfectly fine!
Just don’t let your body sit still for too long. I would also avoid eating heavy foods before or after your run, especially the day of the race. I personally like to keep it light by having a few dates or some bananas.
If you can, run outside. It’s free and probably a little easier on your legs than running on a treadmill at the gym (especially if you’re running on an unfamiliar treadmill where you have to adjust the settings).
If you do run on a treadmill, adjust it so that you’re running at about half of your full speed.
Okay, now that we’ve gone over all that…
Have fun on your training runs! I hope by the time you’re done with week 4, you’ll be ready for the race!
Good luck! I’ll be cheering you on from wherever I am!
Part IV: The Big Day
By the time you get to this part, you should be pretty excited about your race and feeling ready for it. I’m proud of you for taking up this challenge and working so hard at it.
Hopefully, this will all pay off for you soon!
Now, I could tell you to just go out and have fun during the race. And while that is certainly a good idea, I’m also going to give you a few tips to help you do even better!
First things first, you’re going to want to make sure you actually get to the race. If you’re taking public transit, this might mean getting up a little early so that you don’t miss your bus.
If you’re driving, take note of parking and entrance directions as well as traffic and travel times. Since you’re going on race day, I’d guess traffic is going to be pretty bad.
You’re probably not going to be able to avoid the crowds, but you can definitely find your way through them. If you can, walk around the outside edge of the crowd.
This way, you can easily move away if you find yourself getting too close.
If you’re downtown during the race, stay on the outer edge of the roads. This way, you can easily hop onto a sidewalk to get around the crowds.
Just be ready to get off the main road once you pass all the spectators.
If you’re not sure about your running abilities, I would suggest finding someone closely around your skill level to follow during the race. This way you won’t be struggling to keep up or racing ahead.
If you’re feeling confident and think you have a chance of winning, try to stick towards the front of the pack during the first half of the race. You’ll most likely be able to pick off a few people who started off a little too fast.
Once you reach the turns down by the water, move to the back of the pack. This way, you can dodge the brunt of the crowd and get through the turns a little easier.
Along the course, there will be volunteers handing out water at various locations. Try to space yourself out when passing these people.
If you try to grab a cup every time you see one, chances are you’re going to forget about the one that was just passed out three stations ago and not have enough to last you.
I’d say stick your hands out as you run by and just let the cups be placed in your hands, but make sure you get both hands. Once you have a grip on the cup, take a moment to make sure the bottom is secure before you go trying to twist the top off.
Once again, if you find that it’s not staying on, just put it down and pick it up at the next station.
If you don’t normally do so, I’d suggest heading to the bathroom before the race starts. You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of all the action!
This one is going to be a little more personal. You’re going to have to find what works best for you during the race.
With that said, I’d definitely suggest taking it a little easier during the first half of the race. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and start sprinting ahead of yourself. If that happens, you’re going to be feeling the repercussions later on in the race.
Once again, I’d say try to find someone around your skill level to follow so you don’t have to worry about what everyone else around you is doing.
During the second half of the race, feel free to take whatever position you feel is best. If you’re finding that you don’t have the lung capacity for the front of the pack, try dropping back a little bit.
Every place counts!
Also, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be a fun experience.
This one really doesn’t need too much explaining. As soon as the gun goes off, start running.
Don’t stand around and look at your competitors. This is a fast paced sport and if you don’t keep up, you might get left behind.
Most races will have a starting corral for different age groups and competitive levels. If this is your first race, you probably should stay in the middle one (unless you are under 17 and then you would want to be in the front).
This way you won’t feel like you’re too far behind, but you also won’t feel like you’re going too fast.
As soon as you cross the start line, move towards the middle of the road. If you stay towards the sides, it’s very easy to get trampled by the crowds that are passing by.
This goes against every instinct you have when you start running, but try to fight the urge to move towards the edge.
The first few miles of any race are just a lot of jockeying for position as everyone figures out their natural pace and tries to find someone to run with. Don’t be afraid to slow down a little and/or move away from the middle of the road if there are people trying to pass you.
Once again, don’t fight the urge to start speeding up when the gun goes off. Unless you are trying to win the race, taking it out too fast is just going to leave you with nothing in the tank later on.
If you can, find someone around your skill level to run with. It’s always more fun to have someone to talk to during the race and if you’re running close enough together, you can help shelter each other from the wind.
Also, don’t forget to look cool! I mean you are running your first road race, after all.
So enjoy the experience!
Once again, this one really doesn’t need much explaining. I’m sure you know what to do in these situations.
Just take care of your business and get back on the road.
Also, unless you know what you’re doing, don’t eat anything while you’re in the porta potty. You don’t know where it’s been!
Every once in awhile during a race, nature may call and you won’t be able to hold it any longer. If this happens, try to be prepared.
If you need to go bad enough where you can’t hold it, then you probably won’t make it over to the side of the road in time. So in that case, I guess use a cup. Jeez, I feel silly even having to write that.
But, if you can hold it in for a little longer, then do it! Nature is always just a few minutes away on a race, I promise.
It’s not worth the danger of trying to hold it in and ending up having an accident in your shorts.
If you’re at an event with a lot of spectators, go over and stand near the side for a minute before retuning to the road. Most people won’t notice, but there’s always one (or more) that will point it out to everyone else.
If you’re lucky, you might get a few claps for your “bravery”.
Also, if you’re going to wipe yourself with toilet paper, be smart about it. You don’t want to have to carry the roll with you for the rest of the race.
Try balling it up and throwing it in the trash can that’s usually kept near by.
This one isn’t too big of a deal if you have the usual porta potty, but some of them can be a bit nasty. If you need to throw up, the last thing you want to do is stick your hands in the bowl to get your precious water to do the job.
So try to keep a plastic baggie in your pocket and use that instead!
Well there you have it. Everything I’ve learned from my mistakes and a few things I picked up along the way.
Hopefully you can learn from my past pains and not have to go through the pain yourself!
Good luck and have fun!
MISSION 4: Crossing the finish line
I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that you’ve decided to take on this challenge with me. I know we’re going to make the best team out there and will crush everyone else!
As I’ve mentioned in past letters, I’ve been working on a training schedule for you so this isn’t going to be as hard as you’ve heard. In fact, a lot of runners your age wouldn’t even be able to do what you’re about to do.
You should feel special.
Also, as you read in my last letter, if you’re still having doubts about this, I want you to know that it’s OK to quit. This isn’t some army training program that they’ll punish you for failing.
This is just something the two of us are doing and it’ll make things a lot easier if you enjoy it.
If you are going to quit, though, I would prefer if you’d just not show up on race day. As long as you don’t come across a charity runner, you should be able to find me and I’ll be able to direct you from there.
Don’t go trying to find your own way; it’s not like it is in the movies where there are arrows on the ground to follow or someone guiding people. You could get really lost and not finish in time.
If you’re still reading this, then welcome to the final step of preparing for the big day!
I want to remind you that the training schedule I’ve made for you starts tomorrow. I’m sure that you’ve been walking and doing some running for days now so your body should be ready for this.
The first week is going to be the hardest, but if you make it through that, the rest of the schedule will be a breeze (literally). After we do this, we’ll be racing on the big day!
Remember that you can do anything you set your mind to. You’re my inspiration and I know you can be mine.
Mon: 2.5 Miles – Easy
Tues: Rest Day
Weds: 2.5 Miles – Easy
Thurs: Rest Day
Fri: 3.5 Miles – Easy
Sat: Rest Day
Sun: 4.5 Miles – Long
Mon: 2.5 Miles – Easy
Tues: Rest Day
Weds: 2.5 Miles – Easy
Thurs: Rest Day
Fri: 3.5 Miles – Easy
Sat: 5 Miles – Race Day Warm Up
Sun: 2.5 Miles – Race Day Cooldown
TOTAL MILES: 32
After looking over the training schedule, I was actually surprised by how few miles you’d be running during the week. While I know that this is a lot compared to what most people do on their daily commute, it’s really not that much over the course of a week.
I was expecting you to be running more than I drive to and from work every day.
Sources & references used in this article:
Survivors speak: a qualitative analysis of motivational factors influencing breast cancer survivors’ participation in a sprint distance triathlon by KM Robinson, LB Piacentine, LJ Waltke… – Journal of clinical …, 2016 – Wiley Online Library
Physiology and training of a world-champion paratriathlete by I Mujika, J Orbañanos… – … journal of sports …, 2015 – journals.humankinetics.com
An epidemiological investigation of training and injury patterns in British triathletes. by PK Korkia, DS Tunstall-Pedoe… – British journal of sports …, 1994 – bjsm.bmj.com
Your First Triathlon: Race-ready in 5 Hours a Week by J Friel – 2012 – books.google.com
Olympic preparation of a world-class female triathlete by I Mujika – International journal of sports physiology and …, 2014 – journals.humankinetics.com
Triathlon training for women breast cancer survivors: feasibility and initial efficacy by AV Ng, AN Cybulski, AA Engel, PE Papanek… – Supportive Care in …, 2017 – Springer