If you’re ready to start training for your first race, it doesn’t take much to get started. When it comes to running long distances, however, it’s important to train properly so you reach your goal and avoid injuries. These seven easy steps from Silk Pastelle will help you achieve your 5K running goals in no time.
The first thing you want to do when you’re preparing for a 5K is to set up a realistic training plan. It might seem tedious, but sitting down to plan out your workout is important. You’ll want to train at least twice — but no more than four — times a week to reach your goal.
If you’re new to running, plan for four to five days a week to build both muscle and muscle memory. If you already have a stable exercise routine, you may only need to set aside two to three days a week for training. Workouts should last between 30 minutes to two hours per session.
To ensure success, hold yourself accountable by putting your training times in your calendar. You can also team up with an accountability buddy and work toward the goal together. Plan on carving out four to six weeks to train before your big race.
If you’re setting up a home gym for your cross-training, make sure you keep the area as decluttered as possible. Also, listening to music will help keep you motivated, as will keeping your windows clean to let in more natural light. For the latter, simply search Angi for window washing services near you; on average, it only costs $2 to $7 per glass pane.
Focus on a run/walk routine. Your first week of running should have 20 to 30 minutes of run/walk two to three times a week. Don’t forget to stretch both before and after your workout, and plan at least five minutes of cool down before your post-run stretches.
Once a week you’ll want to focus on cross-training for strength. Choose a 30-minute strength workout (with five minutes of pre- and post-workout stretching) that includes exercises geared toward building your core, quads, hips, and glutes.
Before your feet hit the pavement, you’ll want to make sure your muscles are properly warmed up. Participate in active stretching pre-workouts, doing stretches that require constant body movements such as deep lunges, butt kicks, and more. In terms of gear, the goal is to feel as positive as possible, so try something stylish but comfortable. Focus on static stretches for your post-workout in order to let your muscles fully relax. After your workout is also the optimal time to foam roll your legs.
Running longer distances isn’t about sprinting speeds, it’s about maintaining a consistent speed. As you run, ask yourself if your pace is sustainable. If it isn’t, slow down until it is. The more you train, the easier running becomes. Focusing on endurance allows you to slowly increase your speed over time. As you develop as a runner, you can add speed workouts to your routine.
Technology is a great way to track your progress and stay safe as you run. Using a fitness tracker or a smartwatch are two excellent ways to benefit from the power of tech. The new Apple watch series, which will be available soon, has incredible fitness tracking abilities such as the electrocardiogram (ECG) technology that will track your heart rate with pinpoint accuracy. The latest Fitbit model is also useful and can be paired with a smartphone. Today’s technology also includes safety features such as SOS buttons and fall detectors.
Improper running technique can lead to injuries. Keep the following in mind as you run:
● Don’t slouch – run tall and straight.
● To avoid looking down, look at the horizon instead.
● Shorten your stride uphill to maintain an even pace throughout your run.
● Let gravity do the work when you’re heading downhill. Lean forward slightly and trust your feet.
Take a few days to let your body get the much-needed rest it needs to perform. The worst thing you can do the week before your race is ramp up your training. Instead, do a few light workouts, stretch plenty, and get some downtime.
Now you’re ready to rock and run your first 5K. Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of positive reinforcement and remind yourself that running should be a fun, enjoyable, and rewarding activity.
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