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Training for a Race is Like Dieting: You Need a Plan, Support & Treats


Training for a race is a lot like dieting.

Things start out really great. You’ve got lots of motivation. You’re high on the goal. You’ve got your plans laid out in front of you and you’re ready to check things off your list. You bump along the first few weeks and things don’t seem so hard. A little extra veggies, yogurt instead of ice cream, shorter runs that get you moving, but don’t kick your ass.

“This is very doable,” you say to yourself.

But by week 4, things get tough. It feels like years since you had a bowl of ice cream, or a short run, or a nap.

Here are the top 3 things you need to succeed with this race training idea

1. A Plan

I love a good plan. People often say I’m organized. I had a boss in the Air Force who told me once, “Wow, you really know all about management by objective!” “Of course!” I told him, “My mother taught me how to make a great list.” There’s nothing prettier than a yellow legal pad with a long list of to-do items all neatly crossed out.

I love training plans. The best way to start a plan is work with the end goal in mind and work backwards. This helps you make sure you have enough time to get a good, healthy base built for your training, then train specific to your race whether it’s short, long, fast, hilly, technical, trail or road.

But the plan should include more than just running. For an optimal race day, you’ll need to focus on overall health with attention to things like nutrition, sleep, schedule, work time, play time, family time and time for you to rest. A holistic approach will help you meet your goal. I can help you with a holistic and realistic training plan, sprinkled with lots of inspiration. Contact me if you want to get your plan on.

2. Support

Sarah & Jessicca post-race high!People say that if you have a goal, you should find people around you that are supportive. Done! My RMR crew of friends are absolutely the best cheerleaders ever. We even wear skirts! (Running skirts, of course, but very cheerleader-ish). And there is no better feeling than having someone to pound out the miles with or offer high fives and sweaty hugs at the end of a race. They wait for you at the wee hours, making sure you show up, they don’t judge you when you fall off the horse. I love this photo of my friends Sarah and Jessicca after the Eugene Women’s Half in 2010. This says it all.

If you’re local and you’d like to join our private running club group, go here!

If you’re not local and want to get some of our online love, go here!

If you’re not sure that a training group is for you, watch my video about how my worst nightmare came true on my first group run and what I learned from it.

Wherever you are, reach out to other runners. You can find running groups from specialty running stores, outdoor stores, in your local fitness club or even your Y. Do it!

3. Treats!

mckenzie_tanyaI would not do well working in a cheese factory. Anyone who knows me knows I will do ANYTHING for good cheese. I used to reward myself with a hunk of stinky blue after any run over 10 miles. (Once I started running long distances, this little system quickly became a problem, so now I just treat myself once in a while.)

Anyway, along with surrounding yourself with the things that will be conducive to helping you succeed, sometimes you just need a little treat. For me, that means, in the middle of training, I have to veer off course and plunge into a space or place that I really love. In the middle of my 1/2 marathon race training, there was no way I was going to give up ice cream, uh, I mean trail running! Hitting the McKenzie River Trail with 4 of my favorite people, was like having a giant blob of stink cheese delivered to my door. Well, you know what I mean. Give yourself small treats or mini-goals in the middle of your training.

You are already a rockstar for signing up for an event, but with a solid plan, a support crew and a few treats thrown in to keep things fun, you’re bound to rock your race.

What do you do to keep your head in the game or keep your training on track? 



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