From 0 to 5K in 6 Weeks: How to Start Running
Monday, April 2nd, 2012
As much as this blog tries to showcase the active lifestyle and the importance of everyday fitness, the fact is that many people simply do not know where to begin. We’ve covered yoga, meditation and the importance of (any!) movement, but for some people that may not be enough, sometimes there needs to be a clear goal at the end. With the popularity of 5K races for charity and sport these days, starting to run can be a great way to integrate fitness into your lifestyle with the addition of a clear “end.” The best part is that you don’t need six months to meet your goal either, you can go from couch potato to 5K runner in as little as six weeks with the proper training.
Getting Ready to Train
Before you even begin to train for a 5K, you will need to do a little investigating. First, it is wise to invest in a good pair of sneakers. Plan on spending about $60 to get a pair with good shock absorption and space for foot expansion – go to a sporting goods store and talk to a professional for help if you are unsure of the best fit.
Next, you need to find a place to train. A track at a local high school or college is really the best place. First, the dirt or foam surface is better for your joints and next, the 400 meter length helps you to gauge the distance you are going during your workout.
Break it Down: Three 2-Week Sections
The six week training period can be broken down further into three 2-week sessions designed to adapt your body to the stresses of running and the distance of the 5K.
Weeks 1 & 2
Get Moving ! Your workouts will take place every other day and should last for one hour. During these first two weeks, one of the major goals of your training is adapting your body to movement for 60 continual minutes. Start by walking for 50 meters, then jog 50 meters. Repeat this pattern with breaks every 5-10 minutes in order to stretch for the whole 60 minutes. If you cannot jog for a full 50 meters at the start, that’s okay – go as long as you can. Your goal is to build up the distance you can jog continuously throughout these two weeks which includes adapting your heart, lungs and muscles to athletic movement.
Weeks 3 & 4: Lengthening Your Run
Once your body adapts to the rigors of regular exercise (including the soreness associated with using muscles kept sedentary) you will want to work on expanding the length of your jogging as opposed to your walking. Make sure you are still exercising every other day for one hour, but now run for 100 meters, and then walk for 100 meters. Do this for the first 30 minutes. Take time to stretch, then, switch gears and run/walk for 2.5 kilometers straight, gradually reducing the amount of walking over the span of these two weeks.
Weeks 5 & 6: Getting Ready for Race Day
Now you are ready to kick your workouts into high gear in preparation for your race. Keep your workouts to every other day for 60 minutes, with a new focus on length and continuous running. Begin each session running 150 meters and then walking 50 meters for 30 minutes or 8 laps (about 3 kilometers) whichever comes first. Over the course of Week 5, try to eliminate your need to walk entirely. Then, step up the distance to the full 5K during the beginning of Week 6. By the end of that week, taper off and make sure that you rest on the day before the race.
Getting to the End: Race Day
When you are finally ready to race, make sure that you plan ahead and arrive at the location an hour before the start. Take time to warm up (including the run/walk sequence you have done since Week 1) and stretch. Also hydrate well and go to the restroom prior to the start. Once the gun sounds, start slow. Many people run too hard out of the gate and lose steam midway through the race. Run your pace and concentrate on the accomplishment of finishing strong your first time around. Invite family and friends to cheer you in at the finish line and celebrate once you’re done – this is a big accomplishment!
Though the 0 to 5K program is only 6-weeks long, there is no reason to think of it as ending once you complete your race. Many people find enjoyment in running 5K’s frequently throughout the year, bettering their time and encouraging friends and family members to join them on the course. Hopefully, once you start running, you will want to continue to do so, transforming exercise and wellness into a hobby that you enjoy and look forward to.
If you’re experiencing muscle aches and pains from your new running regime, Give us a call to book your massage or acupuncture appointment in Sherwood Park. (780) 410-1100.
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