Road races and fun runs are great ways to raise money for charity or show support for a worthy cause. Some walks, races and rides are organized by large nonprofits that provide training schedules and fundraising tools, but participants who aren't professional runners or even habitual competitors might find the prospect of raising money and getting ready for a race to be a little intimidating.
From our experience with our own 5K charity road race, we thought it would be helpful to share a few tips and tricks that will help participants prepare for their own race or event. Whether you're a weekend warrior or a hardcore competitor, here are some tried-and-true strategies to get the most out of your fundraising fitness experience.
No matter your training regimen or fundraising budget, you can't run every race. So choose a couple of events that are most likely to help you achieve your goals. Feel strongly about making the most of your donations? Sign up for a race or walk for a cause that's supported by matching funds from your employer, or one that is significant to you and your family.
Want to achieve a PR while running for a cause? Look for a race whose course and location are most conducive running your best.
Beat the Crowds
Take advantage of online registration and early race packet pick-ups, which are often hosted by local running and athletic stores offering discounts and coupons for gear. Most race organizers make online registration and even payment very easy these days, eliminating the pressure to arrive extra early on the day of the race.
Mix it Up
There's a reason cross-training exists, and it's not just to alleviate boredom at the gym. Design a training program for your event that's balanced and varied. For example, if you're preparing for a long walk, include core-strengthening exercises to help support your lower back, which you will use to walk several miles.
For a bike race, include upper-body weightlifting to help power up hills. Runners may want to include yoga on non-running days to stretch out and improve mobility, especially in the hip flexors. Of course, you should consult your doctor and fitness professionals before starting any exercise routine.