From Couch to Finish Line: 5 Weeks to your first 5-K

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Even if you’ve never run a day in your life, if you are reasonably healthy and without any major injuries you can probably learn to run a 5K in 5 weeks. 5k stands for 5 kilometers. While that sounds like a long distance, it only adds up to about 3.1 miles and is easily doable with practice, determination, the right training schedule and a good attitude! Been dying to run for your favorite charity? Here’s your chance to get in shape and make a difference!

1. Sign up—today!

Sure, you can make a promise to yourself, but you are more likely to make yourself accountable if you are already signed up for a race. Just thinking  about the cause you are running for (or the money you invested to run the race) will get you lacing up your sneakers and out the door! “A race keeps runners accountable,” says Susan Paul, an exercise physiologist and coach. “You’re training, not just running for fitness, and you have a plan, a starting point and an end point.”

2. Get Ready To Run.

Don’t just stand there! Get moving! Ok, but you don’t have to actually run a 5-K right away. The most healthy way to jump into any exercise is to build your stamina and strength up gradually. If you haven’t already been exercising, you might want to first spend several weeks running and walking until you can run for 10 minutes or until you feel like you have developed a stronger cardiovascular system. Never run on consecutive days and always try to do a little cross-training like swimming or yoga to keep your body strong in other areas. Here is a sample running schedule:

Week         Tuesday         Thursday        Saturday
1               1.5 miles         1.5 miles        2 miles
2               2 miles            2 miles          2.5 miles
3               2 miles            2.5 miles       3 miles
4               2.5 miles         2.5 miles       3 miles
5               2.5 miles         2 miles          Race 3.1 miles!

3. Race Day—Now What?

The night before:

- Don’t carbo load. Just eat normally. If normally means cocktails and bar food, then eat healthfully!

- Get your clothes and shoes ready and make sure you’ve run in them before. You want to know that you are comfortable in what you are working out in.

The day of:

- Eat your usual breakfast just as long as it’s light and healthy.

- Drink 8-16 ounces of water one to two hours before the race, but don’t drink too much water or you might cramp.

- Make sure you arrive an hour before the start to park, sign in, pin on your race number, and stretch.

While you are racing:

-Pace yourself. Assess how your body feels. If you need to walk, walk. Don’t let pride get in the way of having a healthy and enjoyable run.

-Be proud of yourself and have fun!

  • Have you ever run a 5k? Do you have any advice for running newbies?

[Source: Yahoo! Shine]

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