Follow these guidelines and enjoy your path to the finish
Signing up to run a 5K race is the perfect way to kick-start
a fitness routine and/or shed those unwanted kilos. For many beginning
runners, the initial training routine can seem daunting. However, there are a
few tips to follow that will not only make training manageable, but also fun.
By beginning with a structured and realistic training
routine, you will begin to create a healthy and active lifestyle for yourself
that you can carry through the year.
Here are five essential tips to get you hitting the pavement
and ready for the starting line, healthy and injury-free.
1. Sign Up To The Race
You don’t want to sign up until you know how you are going
to feel or what your plans might be or if you will even want to run, but don’t
wait! Without making the commitment to yourself and registering for the race,
it is too easy to give up if the going gets tough or procrastinate until it’s
too late. There is no time like the present; sign up before you lace up! It
will be the motivation you need to complete your goal.
2. Set A Realistic Goal
It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are to anyone but
you. Set three goals per race: your big goal, your moderate goal and your
minimum goal. The big goal is the time that may not possible to attain, but the
one you’re aiming for. The moderate goal is a time you know will require an
all-out effort to achieve, but it can be done. The minimum goal is the time that
you must hit. For example, if my average pace is 8:30 on a typical training
day, my 5K big goal may be 23 minutes (sub 7:30 pace), my moderate goal may be
24 minutes (sub 7:45 pace), and my minimum goal may be 25 minutes (about an
3. Create Your Program
Training plans are available online and can be obtained
through a personal trainer, or located in fitness or running magazines. There
are many training plans to choose from, so the trick is to find one that is
simple, easy to understand and works for your lifestyle. The basic training
premise should be at least three days of running per week, with additional days
of strength and/or cross-training. Once you have your program, write it on a
calendar and stick to it! Training is a matter of commitment. If you are
committed, you will achieve your goal. Be committed!
4. Get Proper Running Shoes
I cannot stress enough the importance of this. Go to a
specialty running store and get your feet and gait analyzed. Treat your feet
right and they’ll protect the rest of your body. Running in the wrong shoes or
worn-out shoes could lead to injury and won’t bring you to the start line, let
alone the finish line.
5. Start Running!
Your training program should include at least one day of
speed work, a day of moderate to easy running and a day with a long run
(working up to the full distance). Rest is important as you train and you have
to let your body heal after each of your workouts. To keep your focus and
motivation, make sure to mix it up. Don’t run the same route every time,
download a new podcast or album or try some fartleks (speed plays).
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