Students begin training for Drake Road Races

A group of Running Club members participating in the Couch to Road Races program are adopting the lifestyle of track athletes as they prepare to compete in the Drake Road Races. 

The Couch to Road Races program, led by track and cross-country student athlete Rachel Selva, is a training program designed to get its participants ready to compete in one of the three Road Races held before Relays Week and counts towards Group X classes. The Road Races offer a 5K, 10K, and half marathon and anyone in the Des Moines Community is welcome to register and compete. 

 Selva, who also teaches Group X yoga classes, has prepared training plans for the Couch to Road Races participants. She has them tackling a workout schedule that mirrors her own.

“I wrote them training plans from January 27 to race day,” Selva said. “They have a couple off-days, days where they cross-train like do the elliptical or the bike or the pool, and then I have them doing interval days, that kind of thing.”

Along with the training, Selva also sends out a monthly newsletter to participants.

“I put a fun recipe that they can do to fuel their bodies with their training, a pro tip, or recovery,” Selva said. “This coming newsletter has ‘Beat the Treadmill Blues’ because running on the treadmill is not fun, I know from experience.”

The main goal of the Couch to Road Races program is to get the runners able to cross the finish line and be able to run the entirety of the race. To do so, runners from each race are taking on different ways of training. 

 “Specifically training for the half marathon, every week, we’ll add a mile. We’ll start at three, and then we’ll end at 12,” Running Club President Emily Hanna said. “The 5K training is a little different and geared more towards non-runners, so learning how to build your endurance up to that 5-mile pace and how to do that in an efficient manner.”

When training gets hard and motivation becomes scarce, Hanna recommends runners listen to music, distract themselves, countdown the distance, or talk to others when running in groups. 

Couch to Road Races runners aren’t only getting advice from Selva and Hanna, but also Colleen Quigley, a pro-runner for Bowerman Track Club, whose tips Selva is relaying in her monthly newsletters. 

“I DMed [her] on Instagram and she was really, really helpful,” Selva said. “She gave me good tips about running with a buddy and don’t do too much too fast, which is definitely what I would tell them, too.”

Hanna, who competed in the Road Races last year, is looking forward to trying to beat her previous time and partake in the Relays Week tradition once again. 

“You end on the Blue Oval and there’s a lot of pictures and I think Griff was there,” Hanna said. “It was a really great feeling just to finish the race and be successful in it. It also brought in a little bit more Drake culture as well being able to participate in something so deeply in Drake tradition was really cool.”

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