Before You Begin
According to WebMD, most people are capable of exercising at a moderate rate. In fact it is recommended. But training for a race is not necessarily a moderate activity so there are some situations when it is best to talk to your doctor before starting a training program. Existing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and heart trouble are all red flags that mean you should talk to your doctor first.
However, if this is you, don't stop reading! It doesn't mean you can't participate in a race. Your doctor may have pointers for you concerning how to start your training off slow or different ways to decrease the impact on trouble spots in your body. For example, if you have arthritis, you could choose to train for a swimming event instead of a running marathon. You can enjoy the same benefits of training for a 5K—like getting in better shape and the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal—without the stress on your body.
If heart rate is a concern you need to be watching, you can always download a heart rate monitor app, like these in Google Play. A Fitbit, Garmin or another fitness device can be a great tool as well.
Find a Training Program
When it comes to training for a race, you don't need to reinvent the wheel! Thanks to the Internet, there are many training guides online for whatever kind of event you want to participate in. For example, a great way to start training for your first race would be a "Couch to 5K" program. There are many free mobile apps as well that you can download to your phone and use while you are training. A "Couch to 5K" program takes someone who is not doing any exercise through a slow and deliberate training process to be able to run a 5K.
Runnersworld.com is another great resource. There are all sorts of articles and training guides for any kind of race. The physiology behind training for your best race involves science that sports scientists have mastered.
Find a Community
Some people love training for an event for the solitude it provides them. But if that is not you, find a community of people who have the same passions and have the same goals as you do. Again, with this task, the Internet is your best friend. It is as simple as Google searching, "running clubs in Denver" and seeing what comes up. You can also try this running website to find a community near you. Also, just ask around your circle of friends. Local health clubs, outdoor equipment stores, and recreation centers probably have running and training groups you can join. When you find the support of people around you, you will be more motivated to keep working on your goals.
The most important thing about training for a race or fitness event is to listen to your body. As cliché as it sounds, you know when you are pushing your body too hard or not hard enough. Get help when you need it—whether that is from a friend, a fitness or health professional, or a useful fitness app. After all of your hard work and training, accomplishing your goal will feel amazing! Chances are, you will be going back for more.
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