Follow these guidelines and enjoy your path to the finish line!
Signing up to run a 5K race is the perfect way to kick-start a fitness routine and/or shed those unwanted pounds. 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.
Many beginning runners chose to enter the race world by participating in a recreational run, such as a Thanksgiving Day race. If you sign up to run a Thanksgiving Day race, start your training program in September to ensure that you are fit and trim for the beginning of the holiday season! 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 holiday season and into the new year, continuing the hard work you put in for three months.
Here are five essential tips to get you hitting the pavement and ready for the starting line, healthy and injury-free.
1. Sign Up For The Race
I know, 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. Photo: www.shutterstock.com
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 8:00 pace). Photo: www.shutterstock.com
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! Photo: www.shutterstock.com
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). Photo: www.shutterstock.com
Laura Ouimet, the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, is a running and triathlon coach and also puts on the Dana Point Turkey Trot in California. To learn more about the Dana Point Turkey Trot and to sign up, visit www.turkeytrot.com.