Training for a 5 kilometer run is the perfect way to test your physical fitness while adding some variety to your regular workout routine. However, if the proper training regimen is not followed, it is easy to injure yourself or get discouraged. Running a 5k requires at least two months of regular training for your body to adjust. Experts recommend easing into a program gradually. These tips and training programs are all highly successfully and can be of help to both beginners and intermediate runners regardless of fitness level. Start training for your first or next long distance run today!
Running for long distances can take a toll on your body and mind, however it needn't take over your schedule as well! Starting by setting aside a half hour a day is enough time to train for a 5k and is an easier commitment to incorporate into your busy day. 30 minutes a day is also the recommended amount of exercise for optimal physical fitness. Ensuring that you are healthy and fit throughout your training program will do wonders for your stamina, energy, and endurance on a day to day basis.
The proper diet is essential to maintaining a strong body. Good nutritional choices before and after a race ensure that you have enough energy to fuel your run. Because your energy requirements increase with strenuous physical exercise, it is important to eat right. All athletes benefit from complex carbohydrate combinations such as whole grain breads and pastas, legumes, and vegetables. "Carb-loading" is a term many marathon runners are familiar with, and indeed eating healthy carbohydrates the day before the race ensures you have enough energy to complete the distance. Make sure you are getting the most out of your food choices by focusing on sweet potatoes, beans, quinoa, rice, or whole grain pasta with vegetables before your race.
Hydration is key. Don't forget to drink the recommended 64 ounces of water each day, and cutting back on caffeinated drinks such as coffee and soda. These are diuretics which sap your body of necessary fuel. Try green or herbal teas instead and keep a water bottle or nalgene full of water on hand. When training, learn to carry your water with you comfortably so you get used to the practice of hydrating throughout your run. This will also teach you how to recognize when your body's dehydrated.
Lastly, runners should keep in mind that there is a difference between running for time and running for distance and to measure accordingly. Either option works for tracking your progress, however make a note of which one you choose in order to avoid confusion or feeling discouraged.
Studies have shown that new habits are more successful when you track your progress. Recording your run times each day you train on a personal calendar, agenda, or computer program are all excellent ways to stay organized and on track to your goal. There are even applications, such as RunKeeper, that you can download on your smartphone which will record the duration and distance of your run for you!
Following a training program is the best way to get in top notch marathon shape while ensuring that your body has enough time to adjust to your running regimen. There are several sites with programs developed by running professionals who guarantee you'll be off your couch and in shape just in time for your 5k. One popular, easy to follow version is aptly titled the "Couch-to-5k" running plan by website Cool Running. Divided into nine weeks, this workout program gives you three workout options to follow each week for variety. This program is great for beginners, as it starts mostly with walking and jogging and slowly builds you to a full three mile run. Download their workout schedule and tape it to your front door or sign up for their free tracking program online to measure and record your progress.
The highly respected Mayo clinic also offers a detailed running regimen to help you train for your 5k. This version promises to get you up to your desired level of fitness in only seven weeks. Similar to the Couch-to-5k plan in that it alternates running and walking, this program is a bit more basic. While it is easier to follow in that it advises simply running or walking for 30 minutes every day with a day of rest on Friday, it can be daunting for those beginner's who need a bit more guidance in getting up to speed. This program is a great tool for those familiar with the marathon training regimen and desire to get back into shape for an upcoming race.