Thinking of trying a 5K this spring?

Too many people have been turned off of running simply by trying to start off too fast. Does this sound familiar? Feels good at first so you keep going, then you do too much, go to far, and pay for it later.

Quality not quantity is the key to running.

You should ease into your running program gradually. In fact, you should start by walking and gradually adding in running intervals.

It’s easy to get impatient, and you may feel tempted to skip ahead in the program, but hold yourself back.

Don’t try to do more, even if you feel you can.

Don’t feel pressured to continue faster than you’re able. Repeat weeks if necessary and move ahead only when you feel you’re ready.

One sure rule, is not to get too far ahead of yourself. Increase your routine by only a few minutes each week! And be sure to space out these three days throughout the week to give yourself a chance to rest and recover between efforts.

And don’t worry about how fast you’re going. Running faster can wait until your bones/connective tissue are stronger and your body is fitter.

Focus on gradually increasing the time or distance you run.

There are two ways to run: you can run for time or run for distance.

Either one works just as well, choose the option that seems easiest for you to keep track of. If you go with the distance option, and you are not using a track to measure the distances, just estimate.

It’s not important to have the distances absolutely exact.

Make sure to precede each session with a five-minute active warmup, walk, or jog. Be sure you recover on your own time, even if your program doesn’t call for it. Here is an example of the first week in my beginner runner program but a walker program is also available.

First workout on Tuesday: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Second workout on Thursday: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Third workout on Saturday: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. When you begin your regimen, above all, listen to your body!

Cross training and yoga/pilates can also help you avoid injury and stay balanced. I strongly recommend attending one of the clinics at Two River Treads in Sheperdstown or see me at Capitol Rehab for gait analysis.

– Laura Bergmann writes from Jefferson County. She runs a multi-sport coaching business, Core Connections Coaching LLC

and works at Capitol Rehab and Gold’s Gym in Charles Town.

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