A few years ago, if you had asked me if I liked running, I would have laughed and then smacked you. I HATED running. It seemed time consuming and exhausting to me and I never really saw the appeal. Sure I would try and run with girlfriends in high school and convince myself that I liked it…but I knew that I didn’t.
The big change for me was getting a full time desk job. I ended up in a 9-6 sitting routine and found myself with very anxious energy by the end of the day. A work friend suggested morning runs to me and since I am already a natural morning person I saw more appeal in that then I did in an evening run! The next thing I knew, I was hooked. Now I run 4-5 times a week (just 2-3 miles a day nothing too extensive) and it just starts my day off right. I feel more productive and energetic at work and I sleep better too!
With all of this running love in my life, it seemed only natural to start challenging myself to run in races. Personally, I started my racing life off with a Tough Mudder (10 miles and 22 obstacles) but I would strongly urge you to start a little smaller. A 5K is the perfect starter point!
And with that, I will end my babbling and give you the top 5 best 5K training tips I ever received!
1. Always eat!!!!!!
Since I always run first thing in the morning, I used to occasionally forget to eat beforehand and I would always get a side cramp or just lost steam much sooner than when I was nourished. Even if you run first thing, consider waking up and eating half a banana with a glass of water before doing some other parts of your morning routine and then going to the gym. If you are running in the afternoon, reference this guide for snack tips. Just be sure that you leave plenty of time to digest before running!
2. Pump up the jams
Maybe this is just me, but I feel significantly more motivated to run when I am listening to music since it gives me something to strive towards. I will tell myself that I cannot stop sprinting or running until the song finishes. Also just in general having a beat to keep you on pace or inspiring lyrics can be the extra push you need. My all time favorite running song is “Miracle Mile” by Cold War Kids. Additionally if you have an app like “couch to 5k” it gives you timers that ding between when you should be running versus walking and that has a similar benefit for me.
3. Invest in some good kicks (and a good bra)
I’ll be honest I did not believe this one for a while. I used to run in a pair of H&M $10 sneakers and a Kmart low impact sportsbra. I am not saying that anything that didn’t cost you a fortune won’t work (there are some great discounted brands out there), but you want to make sure that whatever shoes you buy have great shocks and whatever sportsbra you buy is made for high impactexercise. This will be such a game changer and will prevent hip and knee pain as well as back aches.
4. Learn how to keep a consistent pace and breathing pattern
It is so important to learn how to keep a steady pace because if you don’t you will wear yourself out (there is nothing worse than exerting all your energy before you’re even half way done!). This one takes some trial and error but learning how you can maintain your speed and for how long is key, as well as learning how your breathing patterns affect your running. I personally think that breathing varies for everyone but hereis a good general guide to breathing properly while running.
5. It is O.K. to walk sometimes
While it is wonderful to push yourself (within reasonable limits of course) don’t be too hard on your body. When it comes down to it, yes racing is competitive, but unless you are planning to become the next Usain Bolt you are probably just running for your health. Either way you are out there trying and that is automatically better for your health than you sitting on the couch. So if you get a side cramp or you feel out of breath, don’t be afraid to walk a stint until you feel up to running again! My first 5K I had to stop to walk 3 times and I still finished in twenty-seven minutes!
Most of all, HAVE FUN WITH IT!!!!!