Couch to 5K
You have set your SMART goal. (Specific.Measureable.Adjustable.Realistic.Time-Frame)
You have signed up for a 5K.
Now, here is how to get started so you can be successful.
The good thing about running is you don’t need a lot of equipment but you DO need the right shoes. This is non-negotiable! Do not just walk into Target or Dicks Sporting Goods to get running shoes. Go to a running store - like Runner’s Soul in LaGrange and get fitted for the shoes that are right for your foot! Old shoes are the leading cause of injury to runners. Often times when clients tell me they have knee pain or shin splints I direct them to get new shoes and the pain typically goes away. Note - when you continue to run following your 5K (because you will fall in love with running) replace your shoes every 300 - 500 miles. Even if they don’t look worn down, replace them!
Make a plan before your run. Make sure the timing is good allowing for a warm-up and cool down and/or a nice protein smoothie or hot shower after. Allowing the time before and after will make your run enjoyable and successful. Set a route if you are heading outside. There are great apps out there to help you plan, track and monitor your runs and progress. Try “runkeeper”, “imapmyrun” or “DailyBurn”. Decide which one is right for you. Finally, create a running playlist that motivates you and will keep you energized for your run.
Your form will continue to improve as you run but it is important to keep form in mind, even when just starting out. Run tall - keep shoulders back and keep gaze ahead of you and avoid looking down. Keep your shoulder, arms and hands relaxed. Your elbows should be flexed at about 90 degrees and not cross your midline. Throughout your run, shake out your arms and hands to keep them relaxed.
Be patient! If you are new to running it can be very challenging. Don’t get frustrated. Start with a walk/jog just 3-4xs per week and then increase your distance but continue with just the walk/run. Alternate your walk/run days with 30 minutes of cross training - such a strength training or other forms or cardio (maybe the elliptical or bike). Select a realistic distance to start such as 1.0 or 1.5 miles and then build from there.
A typical 5k training program is 7-8 weeks. I like the programs Runner’s World puts together. Go to www.runnersworld.com and you can purchase a program for a low cost and it offers daily updates, motivational tips etc.
Good luck! You got this!!