Old Town Hot Springs: Summer race success requires training now
February 26, 2017
The Steamboat marathon, half marathon and 10K are just under 14 weeks away, and while that may seem a long way off, those looking to compete in the local event or other races this summer should already be putting in the work to find the most success.
Marietta Roberts, fitness director at Old Town Hot Springs, is the official coach of this year's event and is leading a team of individuals looking to make the most out of their race experience.
"There are a lot of components that go into preparing for a marathon or half marathon," Roberts said. "There is, of course, the endurance aspect, but also strength training, nutrition, equipment and the mental aspect …"
The basic concept for training for any road race is a structured schedule, in which time and distance are increased gradually, interspersed with longer runs, rest days, shorter recovery runs and cross training activities.
"You can go online and easily find many websites that offer a marathon or half marathon training schedule, but the basic concept is you build, build, build, recover; and every week, you go up in mileage or time," said Roberts.
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Roberts stressed the importance of cross training or an activity that uses the muscles in a different way than simply grinding out miles.
"It can be swimming, cycling or the elliptical. It can be strength training," Roberts said. "You are toning up the muscles you will be using during the race in a different way than running."
Group exercise classes also provide an enjoyable way to mix up the routine.
"Fierce4 and PBS are high-interval power exercise classes. They are known as plyometrics, with a lot of lunges, jumps and squats," she said. "These are great cross-training classes when training for a marathon."
The Steamboat Marathon is also more downhill than most marathons, and for this reason, Roberts emphasized the importance of training muscles around the knees.
"When you go down, gravity takes over, and the knees are where a lot of the stress will be," she said. "Quadriceps strengthening and hip flexor strengthening is also very important when running downhill."
When it comes to nutrition, Roberts said athletes prepare their bodies for what they will be ingesting in the days before the race, noting this is an often-overlooked piece of the training puzzle. She emphasized that you should begin to learn now what your body reacts well to and what may upset your stomach during a long run.
"If you plan on carrying gels or chews during the race, you want to know if that's what your body responds well to, so start now," she said. "If you plan on drinking Gatorade during the race, don't train hydrating with PowerAde."
Something as simple as trying a small sample from event booths can upset certain individuals during a long race if their body is not used to it, Roberts said.
Equipment is also an important part of competition, and for runners, that primarily means their shoes. Having the wrong shoes during a long race can quickly make for an uncomfortable day.
"I wouldn't recommend taking a new pair of sneakers right out of the box for your race," Roberts said. "I'd recommend knowing what shoes work now and breaking the shoes in for a couple weeks prior, so that you know they will be comfortable."
Old Town Hot Springs offers a marathon training program for anyone looking to tackle this year's marathon, half marathon or 10K. As part of the Old Town Hot Springss team, participants receive a fitness evaluation and are provided with a personalized training program to ensure they meet their goals at this year's event.
Nick Esares is marketing director at Old Town Hot Springs.