We're just a few weeks away from this year's AJC Peachtree Road Race. If you're a new runner, there are a number of things to keep in mind as you train for the July 4 10K.
AJC Peachtree Road Race commentator Bart Yasso has coached thousands of marathon runners, and completed a number of races himself -- including "Badwater," the 'world's toughest foot race' which is more than 130 miles long.
He knows his stuff. And, has a few tips for runners getting ready to take on the Peachtree:
Start where you are
If you're training for your first 10k, you should be aiming just to get to the starting line feeling fit and injury-free, and get to the finish line having enjoyed the experience enough to want to do it again. If you've gone 6.2 miles before, then you shoot for time goals. No matter how experienced you are, it's important to base your goals on your current level of fitness.
Measure your effort
If you're a first-timer, don't worry about how fast or slow to go; just cover the mileage each day and get plenty of rest. If you're more experienced, focus on hitting the appropriate intensity on each run. You don't want to go too fast and get injured. You don't want to go too slow and miss your race goal. There are a few reliable ways to measure your efforts: pace, heart-rate monitor, perceived exertion, or the talk-test all work.
Mix it up
Your training plan calls for cross-training, and for good reason. Filling a rest day or an easy day with low- to no-impact activities like yoga or swimming can help your muscles recover from all the pounding you put them through and can prevent burnout.
Balance it out
As you get deeper into this base-building phase, you want to think about bringing some balance into your training. You've got to challenge yourself with tough efforts, like hill work and long runs to bring your fitness to the next level.
Get a change of scenery
It's easy to get stuck running the same routes day after day, and end up feeling bored and burned out. It's important to find new places to run in order to stay mentally fresh, and to vary your terrain, so that you're challenging different muscles in your legs.
Winning is a nice reward -- don't get me wrong -- but glory isn't the payoff. This may sound cliche, but the reward is living the lifestyle and embracing the journey. It's not only about finishing, it's about moving forward.
Bart Yasso is the Chief Running Officer for Rodale's Runners World. He's the author of "My Life on the Run," and has been inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions.
Yasso will be doing play-by-play of this year's AJC Peachtree Road Race live Thursday, July 4 from 6:30am - 10am.