No lamb, no garden, no immaculate conception but there IS something about me.


How to build yourself up to a 5k

In my experience there seems to be two major milestones in running that people seem to gravitate towards: the 5k and the marathon. Oddly enough, neither of these are mileages that I like. A 5k is way too short for me and a marathon is much too long. I like to hang out in the 10-15 mile category, it's my happy place.

The 5k seems to be becoming more and more popular, I think in part because it's a great jumping off point if you want to start running and you can always find a 5k race somewhere. It's a great goal if you're just starting out and by the time you achieve it you should be able to tell whether or not running is your thing or if you should move on to another activity. I often see "Run a 5k" on a lot of people's bucket lists or popping up as New Year's resolutions and it makes my little heart so happy. Sometimes I see "run a marathon" on there by a non-runner which is just crazy talk but I'm not judging (ok, I am, start with a 5k and go from there, ya overachiever!).

A 5k may seem daunting to some people but it doesn't have to be! In American terms (because we loathe the metric system and all the awesomeness it entails) that is 3.1 miles which is a great base. In my opinion if you can run 3 miles you can run 6 and if you can run 6 you can run anything. Seriously.

If a 5k is your goal then first find a race that you would like to do. Whether it's 12 weeks away (totally doable if you're in decent shape) or a year away once you fork over the $20-$30 entrance fee your motivation will increase like you wouldn't believe. I first found races by googling 5k's in Syracuse NY and then came across the website CNY Running which is how I keep track of my races now. I'm sure there is something similar in most areas and if not check out your local running store, they always have fliers for races. Next do some research and find a good plan to stick to to get you there. As I've mentioned before I think the Couch to 5K program is great. I also love Hal Higdon's plans which are basically the same idea. There are tons of resources out there too like phone apps and computer programs and even the Nike Plus foot pod to help you keep track of how you're doing. And books! My lifeblood! There are lots of great books that will have plans in it (although for the most part I think C25K is aces. I also highly recommend the book The Runner's Rule Book to get you ready for running and for your first race:

Check it out on Amazon!
It's an awesome, comprehensive book that's FUNNY and easy to read.

Also, pick up a copy of Runner's World magazine at the grocery store or bookstore. The more you learn about something the more you will want to do it. Or is that just me? I have no idea, my sense of reality is warped since I am convinced I am the sun and the world revolves around me. But just do it, you'll get some good tips.

Ok, so you've chosen a race, you've got a plan, you've got some good shoes because you read THIS post and you've done some research. Now comes the tough part...the running. Regardless of what plan you have start out slow and then slow the hell down! Yes, it's called a race but I'm going to try and break this to you aren't going to win. Unless you you keep running until you're 70 and end up the only one in your age group chances are high that you aren't going to pull a Kara Goucher and qualify for the Olympics right out of the gate (I love her, she's my favorite runner). Be easy on yourself. It isn't about speed, it's about getting it done and if you try to bang out even an 8-9 minute mile your first run it's not going to be pretty. take your time and don't worry about how long it takes you to run it. Some weeks will be harder than others. Some DAYS will be harder than others and we all have them. Two summers ago I remember I set out to do a pretty easy 8 miles with my running group and turned around a mile in and walked back to my car because I was just too tired and couldn't go another step. It happens to everyone so don't get yourself down. If it takes you two weeks to get through Week 1 of C25K so what? No one is judging you. My saying is that no matter how slow I am going I am still faster than the person sitting at home on their couch and my goal is to just not come in last (which is STILL faster than the person on the couch). Most importantly follow your plan. It's ok to redo some days but unless you've run before I wouldn't try to jump ahead *cough* like I did *cough* and do more than the plan calls for. It's helping you build up your resistance, your ability to run and most importantly to make sure you don't get hurt (try pushing yourself and let me know how those shin splints feel). And TAKE YOUR REST DAYS. Rest days are just as important as run days because they give your body a chance to rebuild itself from the beating you're going to be giving it once you hit 5k and realize that you want to do a half marathon ;)

And on that note I am getting out of bed now and going to go run. Happy trails!

Oh! And here's an AWESOME race that I just came across and am trying to do (even though it's a 5k, grumble grumble) so if you're close to one you'd best be signing up because it looks amazing!

The Color Run
*This post dedicated to my friend Andrea who called me a b**** for the fact that she just started C25K. YOU GO GIRL!!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Mare I appreciate the blog. I have to say I was on Runners World yesterday morning reading about appropriate clothes before I left to run. I then realized I have nothing appropriate, but I need to make this a "thing" before I drop the dough on the stuff that goes along with it. Day One went great, Day two tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration!