You signed up for the Steamboat Marathon, Half or 10K, congratulations! While in some cases the first steps are always the hardest, things don’t always work that way with running. Registering for the race with “keyboard courage” is arguably the easy part. And after you’ve paid your fees and received that confirmation email, you’re probably thinking, now what?

Worry not! We are here to help you on your marathon, half-marathon, or 10k journey to help you have a successful race. The first step to any race training is to have a plan. Whether your race is five or three months out, your training should be about building a base, both mentally and physically.

Run to the finish at the Steamboat Marathon, Half and 10K

Create a Training Plan

Getting outside when it’s dark and cold in the winter months can be a challenge, but that effort also makes the spring and summer runs much more pleasant. Developing a strong training plan early is key to finding a rhythm and committing to the goal. There are many free training plans available online with weekly mileage recommendations for every experience level. You want to make sure your training plan builds up to longer runs, includes cross-training days, and allows for rest days throughout the week. One paid plan we have previously mentioned is Training Peaks. You can entire your workouts, see an average weekly breakdown, and get other tips to get you ready!

You can also explore working with a coach at your gym. If you’re a Steamboat local, Old Town Hot Springs has various programs with personal trainers to help you not just with your running, but also with cross-training. Coaches can help with accountability and are great at answering your questions. OTHS also offers group exercise classes (free if you’re a member!) for your active days that don’t including runs. Plus, if you’re someone who hates running in the cold and prefers a treadmill, joining a gym is a great way to stay motivated in the winter.

Trail Running in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in the early summer

Nutrition

While getting out there and completing runs is the first step, another important part of your training plan is the food you are putting into your body. Creating a solid nutrition plan during your training, and not a week before the race, is the best recipe for success. First, don’t get swayed by diets and do anything drastic with your nutrition. Just like running and exercise, your body needs to be eased into any changes you decide to make. With your new training plan in place, make sure your body is getting enough fuel including whole foods, plants, complex carbohydrates, and healthy protein. You can even talk to a registered nutritionist to help get you on track! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and invest in a hydration pack for you to carry water on your longer runs.

Know Yourself

Know yourself as a runner and learn what makes your body happy. Don’t be afraid to try out new gear you want to use and wear or experiment with various playlists. While consistency is key throughout your training plan, if you are sick or are having an off day, know when it’s ok to reset. It is important that you build up to longer runs and more challenging workouts. Sticking to your plan, resting on recovery days, and eating healthy are all important starting steps to your marathon preparation! 

Stay tuned for more posts about marathon training and be sure to follow us on Instagram for your Training Tip Tuesdays to learn more. See you at the finish line!

Running along the Elk River in the Steamboat Half Marathon.