“A Goal Without a Plan is Just A Wish”
Running a marathon is definitely not for everyone, but I know anyone that set their mind to it could do it. It seems impossible for those who have never even run a 5K, but it isn’t. If I had a dollar for every time a person said to me, “I could never run a marathon”, I could go on a rather nice shopping spree. If you have the desire to run, you absolutely can. You just have to start low and go slow. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day right?
Regardless of the distance you are aiming for, there are a few rules that apply across the board when you are attempting to up your mileage and run a race. It can be a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon, or a full marathon. Even if you are starting at a place where you can’t even run one mile, I am here to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT. The one mandatory thing you have to have is the WILL (the want or the desire). The rest is absolutely achievable. (My husband included will be reading this blog!)
Top 10 tips for 5K training
1. Keep a training log and have a training plan. (Plan, prepare, perform) There are several ways to do this. A notebook is fine, and there are several apps out there now that will create training plans for you. Whatever plan you decide to follow, map it out and put it in your calendar. Visually it helps to see you results as well as seeing what you have ahead.
2. Increase your mileage about 10% each week. You have to have enough of a jump to challenge yourself but not so much that you hurt yourself. This is why a mapped out plan is necessary.
3. After 3-4 weeks of increasing your mileage, have a step back week when your mileage is decreased. This will give your body a chance to rest.
4. Take one day off each week so that your muscles can rest and repair. Overuse and muscles can make you prone to injury.
5. Run 3-4 days a week. Running once or twice a week is not enough to condition your body for a race. Consistency here is key.
6. Cross training is important. While running is what you may spend most of your time doing, cross training twice a week will increase your aerobic activity and help you gain strength. (Once a week at minimum) Stair stepping and interval training are two of my favorites for helping build endurance on a run.
7. Recruit a friend for accountability. If you can find a friend interested in the same race, that will make it more fun and it will help hold you accountable. If an activity tracker helps, use it. Many of my friend have Fitbits. My new Apple Watch has helped re-energize me this year. I like the visual and I almost feel guilty if I don’t complete the goals I set for myself. You have to find the tricks that work for you.
8. Music! Create the perfect soundtrack for your run, it really does help. I love my music!
9. Reward yourself for meeting milestones you set along the way. New running gear is one of my favorite things to reward myself with, after all when you look good you feel good! (and yes I do reward myself with things like a McDonald’s dipped cone, whatever works right!?)
10. Pay attention to your body. If something hurts, rest. Stretch your muscles before and after a race. If you are tired and your body is trying to tell you that, listen! There is going to be aches and pains, but stay in tune with your body so you know when an ache is more than it should be.
At any age, setting goals and achieving new goals can do so much for your spirit, your confidence, and your happiness within yourself. Remember, every accomplishment really does begin with the simple decision to try. You have to be the best version of yourself in order to be great for others.
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self confidence is preparation.” Arthur Ashe