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  • Writer's pictureJustin Roth

How to Run Your First Race

Updated: May 19

Training for your first running race can be an exciting and challenging experience, but with the right plan and mindset, you can accomplish your goal of crossing the finish line.

where to run in Long Beach, CA

Set Realistic Goals

First and foremost, set a realistic goal for yourself. If you are new to running, consider starting with a 5K or 10K race instead of a marathon. Give yourself enough time to train, usually, 12-16 weeks is a good starting point. It's important to note that starting with a shorter distance will help avoid injury, as the body needs time to adjust to the stress of running. According to a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, runners who increase their mileage by more than 10% per week are at a higher risk of developing injuries.

Make a Plan

Next, create a training plan that fits your schedule and lifestyle. Incorporate a mix of running, strength training, and stretching into your routine. Aim to gradually increase your running mileage each week and include one or two days of rest to allow your body to recover. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, strength training two to three times per week can help to improve running economy and reduce the risk of injury.

where to run in Long Beach, CA

Get the Right Gear

It's also important to invest in the right gear. A good pair of running shoes is essential to prevent injury and keep your feet comfortable during training. Investing in a heart rate monitor or GPS watch can also help you track your progress and make sure you're pushing yourself to reach your goals. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, using a GPS watch can help runners improve their running pace, distance, and time.


Incorporating cross-training activities like cycling, swimming, or yoga can also help to improve your overall fitness and avoid injury. Cross-training can help to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility. It would be best if you also considered joining a running club or finding a running partner who can help keep you motivated and accountable. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, running with a partner can help to improve running performance and adherence to a training program.

Hire a Personal Trainer

Working with a personal trainer can also help you to achieve your running goals by providing you with a personalized training plan, expert advice, and motivation. A personal trainer can help you to improve your running technique, increase your endurance, and avoid injury. They can also help you to monitor your progress and make adjustments to your training plan as needed. Contact me if you would like to schedule a free session:

Fuel the Right Way

Finally, don't forget to fuel your body with the right foods and stay hydrated. Eating a balanced diet that is high in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates will provide you with the energy you need to power through your training runs. It's important to note that dehydration can negatively affect running performance. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that dehydration can impair endurance running performance by as much as 30%.

where to run in Long Beach, CA

With dedication and consistency, you'll be ready to tackle your first 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, and beyond! Remember to take it one step at a time, and most importantly, have fun. Keep in mind that the key to success in running is consistency, progressively challenging yourself and listening to your body, and being patient with your progress.

The Best Places to Run (and Walk) in Long Beach, CA

Long Beach, California is a beautiful coastal city with plenty of great places to run or walk. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned runner, there's something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to run or walk in Long Beach:

  1. The Beach Trail: The beach trail stretches for miles along the coast, offering picturesque views of the ocean and the city. This trail is perfect for runners looking for a scenic and flat route.

  2. El Dorado Park: El Dorado Park is a large park located in the heart of Long Beach. The park features a 2.5-mile paved trail that is perfect for running or walking. It also has a lake, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

  3. Shoreline Village: Shoreline Village is a popular destination for runners and walkers. The area features a paved promenade that runs along the coast and offers great views of the ocean. It's also a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat after your run.

  4. The Riverwalk: The Riverwalk is a two-mile paved trail that runs along the Los Angeles River. It's a great place to run or walk if you're looking for a more secluded and peaceful route.

  5. The Long Beach Greenbelt: The Long Beach Greenbelt is a network of trails that runs through the city. It's a great place to run or walk if you're looking for a more natural setting. The trails are unpaved and wind through parks, wetlands, and natural areas.

No matter what your running or walking goals are, Long Beach has something to offer. So lace up your shoes, grab a friend or your pet, and hit one of these great trails today.


Need more assistance? Looking for a personal trainer in Long Beach?

Contact me for a free personal training session here:

Workouts & Fitness Tips @justinrothpt

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