Running your first race

Running your first race

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Sandy Reimer

The Vancouver First Half kicked off the running season in February, and this year countless people will pound the pavement to raise money for charities and challenge themselves in awesome athletic feats.

The Vancouver Sun Run, a favourite of Vancouverites, will attract more than 50,000 runners!  

It’s pretty exciting being at these events. The energy is addictive and it’s very inspiring. If you haven't participated in a charity race you should consider it. There are many race distances to choose from and causes to support.

But not matter what distance you choose, training for the big event is key to your success. When you watch from the sidelines it looks pretty easy – especially for the runners at the front of the pack. They move so effortlessly and with incredible strength. 

But that’s where preparation comes in.

Learning to run any distance is an experience. When you follow a training program you’ll notice that with each week you’ll get stronger and be able to run further, and even faster. Your muscles become leaner, your lung capacity increases and your body uses the oxygen you breathe in more efficiently. The results are measurable. Our bodies are fascinating - train properly and you’ll become more fit!

Strength training for runners shouldn’t be overlooked. For example, Pilates and yoga classes will make you a better runner because they help you build a strong core. As you get tired your running technique can be compromised and having a strong core will support your running posture and prevent stress related injuries. If personal training is more your style, our trainers can develop a running specific program to help you meet your goals.

You'll see YWCA Health + Fitness staff and members at many of the popular charity and fitness races this year. Our member services team is training for the relay in the BMO Marathon in May. Each year our team also leads the warmup (sponsored by the BC Egg Farmers) at the CIBC Run for the Cure in October. Here’s a picture of Jill and myself in 2014 and a video of the warm-up.

When the big day finally arrives, make sure you’ve trained and are ready to go. Running with a pack of people through closed off streets, with water stations and people on the sidelines cheering you on is an experience you need to try at least once.  But be forewarned, your first race may not be your last!

Hero photo by Sangudo via of Flickr.