From the Couch to a 5km: Tips on How to Become a Runner!
Posted Jan 24 2013 9:17pm
I hope you have all been enjoying your week!My students are all writing exams right now so work has been pretty low key minus all of the marking I have been doing (not that I am complaining!). The weather here in Ontario has been FREEZING, and Sarah and I are quickly regretting signing up for a 5km in January.... really what were we thinking??
Speaking of 5km races I was recently asked on twitter if I had any advice for someone who is looking to go from the couch to a 5km..... seriously, what an awesome question! So I began to think about it, and jotted down some ideas so that I could respond.... and than it hit me! This would make an awesome blog post!
Now I am not going to try and pretend that I am a running expert, because I am not. I have read a lot, I have spoken to a number of running coaches over the past couple of years and managed to go from being a teenager who hated running to a 29 year old who ran a marathon... therefore I have decided that this qualifies me enough to give some advice on how to get off the couch and start preparing for a 5km race.
2011 Toronto Zoo 5km
1. My first tip is to COMMIT! Go ahead and sign up for a 5km race now. Pick one that is a good 3 months away, this will ensure that you have lots of time to prepare. I find once I am commit to a race by signing up, I am way more motivated to train for it.
2. Invest in proper running shoes. The last thing you want is to injure yourself once you have committed to getting off the couch and signing up for a race.
3. Slow and steady! You might not win the race, but you will finish the race. If you are going from the couch to a 5km don't assume you are going to throw on your new pair of running shoes and run 5km without breaking a sweat. Your main goal for your first 5km shouldn't be about winning or how much faster you ran it than your friend, it should be about crossing the finish line and taking pride in the fact that you accomplished something you worked towards.
4. Take baby steps. Try running for one minute, walking for 2, running for one minute walking for 2 etc... and build up your stamina and increase from there. I have had a few friends get discouraged from running early on because they expected to be able to run longer and faster than they did when they started, to be honest I actually ran my first half marathon by running for 10 min and walking for 1 min. I finished in 2:07 which I was very happy with! I find this method easier on your body both physically and mentally.
5. Join a running club or find a running buddy! Most larger cities should have running clubs of some sort. If you join one of these you will probably feel more accountable, and therefore more likely to stick with a regular training regime. Here in Canada you can check out your local Running Room for more info on running clinics. Having a running buddy also really helps because you can help motivate each other, and push each other towards a common goal.
6. The numerous health benefits! I think it goes without saying that there are major health benefits to running, these include weight loss, cardiovascular health, better sleep, improved bone density.... the list goes on!
7. Run about 3 days a week. Make sure you get out and run about 3 days a week, I recommend your spread the days out so that you give your body a chance to rest, recover and relax. Try to walk/run for about 20 to 30 minutes each time you go out. 20 or 30 minutes might seem daunting at first, but remember 30 minutes of exercise a day is the minimum amount recommended for adults!
Post CIBC Run for the Cure 5km
I hope these little tips help! They definitely helped me when I first started running. Good luck to everyone running their first race in 2013, and too all of my friends, fellow bloggers and seasoned runners have already set their sites on races this season!