NRC

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HOW TO
PICK A RACE

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Decide what distance is right for you: NRC Head Coach Chris Bennett and NRC LA Coach Blue Benadum break down what it takes to tackle—and how you can benefit from training for—everything from a 5K to a marathon.

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5K

If you're new to running, the best thing about signing up for a 5K is that it makes you work toward a specific goal, which is one of the best ways to grow as a runner. 5K training is also the perfect marriage of speed and strength, so it's a great tool for seasoned runners who are looking to pick up the pace.

What it Takes to Tackle:

How much time you need to train for a 5K totally depends on what you want to accomplish. If your goal is simply to finish, then as long as you know that you can cover 3.1 miles, you can take that starting line. However, if your goal is to PR, then you should give yourself enough time to train your mind and body for success—whatever that means for you. In general, you should work your way up to completing two Speed Runs and one Long Run (with some Recovery Runs sprinkled in) each week.

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10K

The 10K is like a bridge that takes you from the 5K on one side over to the half marathon on the other. You'll get to experience some longer runs, but you'll also spend time on the track doing speed workouts. If you're used to completing longer distances, 6.2-milers give you a chance to race more often, without the need for so much recovery afterward.

What it Takes to Tackle:

When training for a 10K, you'll perform similar workouts (Speed Runs, Long Runs, Recovery Runs) as you would during 5K training, but your Long Runs will be longer and the Recovery Runs will be slightly higher in volume. Low-stress runs are super important to build endurance both mentally and physically.

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HALF MARATHON

As a beginner, this race pushes you to potentially increase your mileage more than ever before, which improves endurance and boosts motivation. And if you already run a lot, the beauty of a 13.1-miler is that it requires a controlled, challenging pace, but unlike the marathon, it's not so long that you have to worry about storing enough energy to finish.

What it Takes to Tackle:

Most half marathon training plans are about 12 weeks long, but it depends on what kind of shape you're in to start with. Your main goal should be to get stronger, faster and better equipped. This is done through a series of strength, speed, distance and recovery sessions. Your total weekly mileage will vary from plan to plan.

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MARATHON

The mental strength gained through the process of training for a 26.2-mile race is unlike anything you'd experience in a shorter distance event. You'll run more aerobically-paced (easy to moderate) miles, increase your fat burning metabolism and learn how to properly fuel mid-run. But more than anything, you will be stronger and more prepared than ever at the start line, and feel so incredibly accomplished at the finish.

What it Takes to Tackle:

Most runners (newbies or not) should plan to do about 16 weeks of focused training leading up to the race. You will need to progressively increase your strength, speed and volume—through strength training sessions, Speed Runs and Long Runs—during that time. These three ingredients, together with an emphasis on recovery when needed, will make you feel not only prepared, but also confident come race day.

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CHRIS BENNETT NRC GLOBAL HEAD COACH @coachbennett

BLUE BENADUM NRC LOS ANGELES COACH @blue_benadum

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For more running inspiration, motivation and advice, follow these NRC coaches on Instagram.