The Boilermaker Road Race is a Central New York tradition. Run the second Sunday in July, the race attracts thousands of runners from all over the world. If you're thinking about stepping up to the starting line, we've got some tips that will get you ready for the big day.

First, decide which race you want to run. 

There's the 5K - which is 3.1 miles long, and the 15K, which is almost 10 miles long - 9.3, to be precise. The 5K is a great distance if you're just starting out, or if you can't dedicate a lot of time to training. The 15K is more of a challenge - especially if it's hot - but it's completely do-able if you're willing to spend the time to train. Pick one, and go for it!

Second, find a good training program. 

Training plans are available online. You just pick one and follow what it says on the plan each day.

If you're thinking about tackling the 5K, there are some great training programs online you can follow. One of the most popular is the Couch to 5K training plan, designed for people who haven't run before. There's even an app. If you've been running for a little while, you can follow Hal Higdon's training plan to run your first Boilermaker 5K.

Want to step up to the 15K? Hal Higdon has you covered. He's got training plans for the Boilermaker 15k, whether you've run it before, or you're ready to run your very first. If it's your first, follow Higdon's Novice 15K Training Program.

You can also find a running group.

The Utica Roadrunners have a training program that meets at the Fitness Mill beginning in February.

The Roadrunners also offer developmental runs that cover a part of the Boilermaker course during the summer.

There are running clubs in nearly every community - check them out and see if they have group runs you can get in on.

Make sure you have a good pair of running shoes. 

One of the great things about running is that you don't need a lot of gear. Ultimately, you really only need a good pair of sneakers. It's worth it to see the experts when selecting your first running shoe. Sneakers today are designed with specific types of runners in mind and can help minimize the risk of injury. You can buy sneakers anywhere, but you'll need to head to a running shop for real expertise. If you're near New Hartford, it's hard to find better experts than those at The Sneaker Store.

Follow any of these plans, and you'll be ready for The Boilermaker. And remember, no matter how slowly or quickly you run, there's still and a big party and beer at the end!

BONUS VIDEO (in case you're looking for somewhere to eat after you run):