Tuesday, July 16, 2013

5K Running Tips -- AKA: How a naked Ryan Gosling will help me finish this damn thing

I'm running my second 5K on July 20, so I've spent quite a bit of time over the last few weeks building up my endurance and stamina. I started (just like I did for my last race) with the Couch to 5K running program, which I do recommend for beginners. The problem I have found is that I get bored of the podcast's music choices, and prefer listening to my own tunes while pounding pavement.

In the spirit of things, I thought it might be fun to include some 5K running tips in case any of you were also training for an upcoming race.

  1. Register: It sounds simple, but by paying the entry fee, you are more likely to mentally to commit to your training regiment.
  2. Practice: Waking up on the race day intending to run will only result in injury. You should be running three times a week for 3 months beforehand, gradually building up distance, to prepare.
  3. Train with Intervals: Running 3.1 miles in one go can be intimidating for new runners. I really do recommend training with the Couch to 5K running program, which will gradually train your body to run using walk/running intervals. For instance, your first week, the program coaches you through a warm up walk, then 60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds walking, for a total of 90 minutes. By week 4, your body is fit enough and has the stamina to run for 5 and 3 minute intervals with intermittent walking. 
  4. Eat Smart: This one is two fold. First of all, make sure you eat a light meal a few hours before the race. Secondly, training for a 5K is not an appropriate time to go on Atkins. Carbohydrates are a natural energy source and your body needs them while training. Stick to whole grains, though.
  5. Stretch: Your muscles will get tight if you do not stretch after runs -- focus on gluts, quads, calves, 
  6. Breathe: When your muscles start hurting, focus on your breathing. Concentrate on breathing in through your nose, holding that breath for a few steps, and then slowly letting in out through your mouth. 
  7. Switch your focus: As different muscle groups start to ache, I find that concentrating on my breathing, or the natural swing of my arms as I run, gives a bit of a mental reprieve from my tired leg muscles. 
  8. Stay Positive: First and foremost, remind yourself that you have done the training, and you have what it takes to run the 3.1 miles. If the going gets tough, don't be afraid to talk to yourself. Thinking a mantra along with each footfall -- "I've got this" or "Just keep swimming" will bring you closer to the finish line. 
  9. Wear the Right Gear: You should outfit yourself in things you've worn while training, that you KNOW you're comfortable running in. Also, race days are NOT the time to break in new shoes.
  10. Give Yourself some Mental Motivation: My friends have been super supportive all throughout my training. One said to pretend that I am an antelope running in this 5K, and a hungry lion is chasing me. Another friend told me to pretend that Ryan Gosling was waiting naked at the finish with a cold beer and nachos. I'm not saying which I'll be thinking of.... but damn, do I love me some nachos. 

1 comment:

  1. wish you the best of luck, a strong mind will over come anything.