Bobcat Bolt

Want to Run a 10K this Year? Get Up Off the Couch! 5 Tips for Training

February 23rd, 2013  |  Published in News, Training Tips

Hocking won last year's race with a 10K time of 33:22 and a 5:23 pace. He probably had a training plan...

Hocking won last year’s race with a 10K time of 33:22 and a 5:23 pace. He probably had a training plan…

With 120 days left to train for the Bobcat Bolt (June 22 is race day) there is still plenty of time to physically prepare for either the 5K or 10K. Lets get started! No time like the present! The best way to make sure you’re there for the fun on race day is to build yourself a solid training plan. Our friends at CoolRunning have a good “Couch to 5k” plan and there are tons of schedules to choose from online.

Here are some tips that I have found helpful in my own casual training experiences for road races and triathlons:

1) Find a Partner(s) in Crime – Statistics tell us that people who exercise with a friend are more successful at exercising consistently. You can keep each other accountable. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to exercise with them can be great motivation to show up and get it done!

2) Post Your Training Days (eg: 3x/week) on a Calendar – This is another way to keep yourself accountable. By scheduling your workouts on a calendar, preferably one that you are see everyday, you have another tool to keep yourself accountable. I have been practicing at this by mapping out the month on the whiteboard I use in my office – so I cannot escape the reality of what I’ve done (“X”) and what I’ve blown off (“O”). This puts my training in perspective despite how I might feel on any given day (motivated or… more likely not motivated).
Whiteboard Plan for Feb

3) Protect Your Time to Train – One step beyond marking up your calendar is setting the actual time of day to train. Like Ferriss Bueller famously said, “Life moves pretty fast…” and then he said some other stuff that doesn’t really apply here… But the point is that all of our lives feel really busy. It is simply too easy to justify skipping a run because your day takes an unexpected turn. UNLESS I protect that time like it’s an important meeting or appointment, I find myself lowering the priority of my workout as other things creep into the day. A work out first thing in the morning helps ensure that you don’t skip it later in the day. But the downside is you have to get up earlier.

4) Establish Goals –  If you’re a seasoned runner – this is always a part of the game. Trying for Personal Bests is part of what makes participating in these races rewarding. Headed into the 5th year of the Bobcat Bolt I’m sure there are lots of people in our community who have a time they want to beat – most likely their own from last year. That’s an easy goal to establish. If you’re a first timer or new to actually participating in a road race, then it’s a good idea to find your comfortable pace  (eg: currently run 9:15 miles and want to run 8:45 miles on race day) and setting a goal for race day depending on how much time you have to train. Tracking your distances and times is important if you want to get faster or go further. If you happen to have an iPhone, an easy way to do this is by downloading one of the myriad apps that track your workout.  I use the app called RunKeeper . If you dont have an iPhone – knowing the distance of your route and your stopwatch, with a notebook to write down your time, will do the trick. Either way the key is to keep track of your workouts. My friend Tim Ferriss  has logged every workout he’s completed since he was 18-years old. That’s a bit obsessive. If you’re familiar with Tim’s work (4-hour workweek4-hour body4-hour chef) you know he is an outlier of human experience to say the least. But he is a great example of extraordinary results by using careful progress tracking  systems.

5) Make it FUN. See the earlier tip about enlisting a partner in crime. A run goes by much faster with a good friend there to talk to. If you like your alone time – pop in your favorite music or an audio book. Reward yourself for sticking to your training schedule with a trip to the ice cream shop. Whatever it takes. Most of us are not training for the Olympics or competition. We’re training to participate in something fun and to feel good physically and mentally. So don’t lose sight of that either!

Having a training plan leading up to your race will make your whole experience more enjoyable. Not having one can lead to anxiety, further procrastination or, when it gets too close to the date of the race, the choice to “skip it.” I’ve been there. I’ve also followed my own advice, found great training partners, stuck to a plan, and made it fun…and had some of the best races of my life. On the flip side of that, I’ve shown up untrained without a plan and had a very different (less cool) experience. One glaring example was a triathlon that I had high hopes for and signed up months in advance. I got distracted and never made a plan but still planned on doing the race for fun. I barely trained, had no goal and on the day of the race I overslept and showed up 20 minutes after the start and had to beg the organizers to let me participate despite being a total junkshow. They let me – but needless to say I did not perform very well and I attribute it to not having planned from the start. The fact is, the overall experience is much more enjoyable if you know you’ve put in the effort and preparation for your race. You have a target pace. You have a goal for a time. These things give the day more purpose and really help build your confidence at the start line.

Next weekend, 7 days from now, I will be racing in the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco. Full disclosure – until 1 month ago, even after doing a lot of races in my life, I HAD NO PLAN. I’ve been working hard to catch up, but as you runners and triathletes out there know – at a certain point you’re stuck with the reality of how much – or how little – you planned for the race. No doubt, as I dive into that 50-degree water in San Francisco Bay next week – I would be feeling better if I had focused a bit more on my plan.

Good luck in your training for the Bobcat Bolt or any other race you’re planning. You can register here to run the 5K or 10K.

Race Director/Co-Founder
Bobcat Bolt & Oyster River Festival


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