No surprises here: the first training essential for a running race is, well, running. Not only does regular running improve your overall health and strength, it can also mentally prepare you for the level of endurance needed on the day.
If you’re new to running, the general advice is to start small. This might mean interval training to begin with: after a warm-up, run for 30 seconds at nearly all-out effort, then three minutes jogging, then repeat. Build up till you’re running for longer periods of time, and covering greater distances – whether that be on the treadmill, or on an outdoor circuit. Increase gradually as your body adjusts. Going too hard too fast puts you at risk of injury. Before you know it, you’ll be running five kilometres – enough for a fun run.
If you’re keen on moving on towards half-marathons or marathons, it’s best to mix up your routine between high- and low-endurance days by alternating the distance of your runs. One day could be 10 kilometres, the next five. It’s also important to take at least one day off a week to let your body recover.
And exercise shouldn’t stop at running. Other activities – such as yoga and stretching – are important for building up core strength and flexibility, and help with your overall fitness. You might also incorporate regular massages into your schedule which, apart from being relaxing, help with a range of running-related benefits, from relieving muscle tightness to improving circulation.