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Ready, Set, Run! Training Plans for a 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon

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Be a Better Runner

How to Run Better

Training for your first -- or second, third, or 20th! -- race is all about sticking with a program. But a little insider advice can make the miles you run that much easier.

I've been trying to cut down on my carbs. Can I still do this while training?

Carbohydrates aren't diet demons. In fact, they're a runner's best friend, says FITNESS advisory board member Leslie Bonci, RD, a coauthor of Run Your Butt Off. "When you're running a race or training, your body needs to tap into stored carbs for energy." But OD'ing on some starches can easily pack on the pounds. To help, "Fill about a third of your plate with grains and split the rest among protein, fruits, and vegetables," Bonci says. And get more out of every bite by choosing healthier carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, or lentils, which pack more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

How do I know if I'm ready to do a longer race?

"You'll know you're ready to move up when you achieve your goal time with your current race," says Newton Running Ambassador Jeff Devlin. For instance, if you hit your goal of beating one hour in your last 10K, chances are you can handle a greater challenge. A good rule of thumb to follow: Target a race distance no longer than about double your current weekly long run.

Should I worry about my form if I'm new to the sport?

Consider it an opportunity to get off on the right foot -- literally. "As a beginner, you can address form from the start and commit to running that way," Devlin notes. But it's never too late to fix your technique. Your stride should be quick, light, and quiet. "If your steps are heavy and noisy, you're most likely overstriding and striking with too much impact on your heels." Shorten your stride and lean forward slightly; the ideal impact should be at the mid- to forefoot, where your shoe meets the ground.

Are my treadmill runs going to prepare me for the outdoors?

You may need to make a few tweaks to compensate for some of the work the machine is doing for you. "Begin by setting the incline to 1 percent to make up for the lack of external factors like wind resistance and varying terrain," says New York Road Runners coach John Honerkamp. Whenever possible, try to train outdoors.

Injury-Proof Your Miles

Train ouch-free with these core and lower-body strength moves. Do them at least twice a week.

One-Leg Bosu Jump

Targets quads and butt

Standing on right leg, jump onto Bosu (or use a pillow), landing on left leg. Jump off Bosu, landing on right leg; keep knee soft. Do 12 reps; switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets of 12 reps per side.

Side Plank with Leg Lifts

Targets obliques, hips, and thighs

Lie on left side, legs stacked, left elbow under shoulder. Lift hips and knees off floor; raise right leg about 1 foot, toes forward. Lower leg and repeat. Do 3 sets of 12 reps per side.

Plank Donkey Kicks

Targets abs, butt, and hamstrings

Loop resistance band around bottom of right foot, holding ends in hands. Get in full plank. Bring right knee toward chest; then extend right foot behind you. Do 3 sets of 12 reps per side.

Moves designed by D. S. Blaise Williams, PhD.

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9/26/2013 11:44:39 AM Report Abuse
heatherdomabyl wrote:

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7/11/2013 12:34:58 PM Report Abuse
Danabrette wrote:

I reached week 7 for the half marathon planning and have had the flu (fever) for a few days. I had to skip my long run yesterday and my strength training day today. When I'm feeling better, do I make up for the skipped runs or just continue on with the next run scheduled for week 8?

4/22/2013 06:14:10 AM Report Abuse
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