When I started running competitive races, I was not a habituated runner. I ran for warming-up or building endurance for improving my Soccer. I even ran a half-marathon, my first one without a good running program. It is foolish even to think of running a race without a well executed running program. I realised this after my initial half-marathon that a running program is a must for any competitive race. It not only helps you in building up your confidence before the race but also running the race as per plan and prevents you from running injuries.
After nearly 20 races (half and full marathons), I have realised that if you have not followed a running program it is better to skip the race, than attempt one ill-prepared. You may end it with running injuries that can stop you from running altogether. None of us want to run race and have bragging rights of a marathon, at the cost of a life time injury.
There are various running programs available in the internet. You can get lost in getting the right running program suited for you. I will guide you in the following posts on some simple running programs that you can adopt as you graduate to a higher endurance. I will use some running programs, that I tried in the past and found useful.
Human body is like a well designed machine and has some amazing self cure and rebuilding capabilities. But we need to be careful before we push it off its endurance limits. We need to learn to understand and respect our body. All of us are not built the same way and we need to learn and understand our body. This is where following a running program can be useful.
There is no point in rushing through a running programs. We need to be diligent in following running program. This way we build a running habit and eventually a muscle-memory that your body will execute like a machine. Patience is a big virtue, when it comes to practicing running.
In my experience Body weight or Body Mass Index (BMI) has direct impact to running. I try to keep my body weight to the best minimum before my races and being lighter is less load on the legs and helped me improve speed and reduce fatigue. Most coaches use the Stillman height/weight ratio table for distance runners. The average man is allocated 110 lbs (50kg) for the first 5 feet (1.524m) in height. Thereafter, he is allocated 5½ lbs (2.495 kg) for every additional inch (0.025m) in height. But do not be discouraged if you do not make the cut, I have come across heavier men running races but having your weight in check will definitely go a long way.
Runner’s World recommends a 7 week* walking plan to get your body ready for running. If your BMI is 35 or higher, you’re over 60, or just want gradual progression, use this plan for eight to 12 weeks as advised.
Look in the mirror. That is your competition.