As you prepare to run any distance, how you prepare is important. Of all the preparations you make, there are 3 top preparations that should be undergone.
- Physical Preparation - In preparing physically, this should include getting adequate sleep at night (6-8 hours recommended), eating regular, quality, well balanced meals, and working up to the distance you plan to run. If you have never run, part of physical preparation is starting to run with enough time to train for your first 5K (3.1 miles), 10K (6.2 miles) or half-marathon (13.1 miles) or marathon (26.2 miles). Physical preparation is a constant process and not a destination.
- Mental Preparation - I talk to people on a regular basis that say they could never run 2 miles. They are correct. Not because their body can't be trained to do it, but because they have already given up. One of the keys to running (again any distance) is self belief. In your physical preparation, have you done adequate running to believe you can complete the distance? Belief is what helps you push a tired leg forward, continue through an aching muscle, climb a hill that doesn't seem to end and finish even when you body says it is tired.
- Correct Equipment - With all the physical and mental preparation, injury can occur in a run if poor equipment (or even worn out equipment)is used. Things to consider are the shoe, and what clothes will be worn for the run.
With shoes, mileage over 300 - 400 miles will wearout a shoe. A new shoe, however, should also not be worn in a race without a breakin period. A quality running store with staff that understands running can be utilized to get a good shoe.
Clothing choice is more variable. What will the weather be like? How will you limit rubbing that can cause soreness throughout a run? What will you do to limit sunburn or other discomfort during the run? Will you wear a hat? Whatever the clothing choices may be, it is important to train with these clothes, even utilizing them on longer runs to ensure that you are able to enjoy the race without interruptions from the clothing you wore (or didn't wear).
It is important to prepare correctly to avoid even minor injuries during a run. You deserve to continue running without interruptions and preparation is the key.