By Kent Pittman
Have your friends challenged you to run with them in the next fundraising 5K in your town? Or, are you ready to take control of your body and lose those extra pounds?
If so, follow these foolproof steps and you’ll be on your way to crossing the finish line.
First, get the right gear. Keep in mind, running is a hobby and does require some financial investment. If you want to be a runner and minimize your risk of injury, it is important to get the right shoes, socks, and running clothes.
The shoes are the most important part. It is a good idea to meet with an experienced sales associate in a trusted shoe store in order to find the pair that meets your needs. Good running shoes can range anywhere from $70-$200 depending on the brand.
Also, the average shoe can only take about six months or 300 miles of running before losing support, so be prepared to replace them when the time comes.
Second, make a plan. If the 5K you want to run is next week, you might want to pick another.
For beginning runners it can take over two months to get in shape for a 5K run, which is 3.1 miles. Pick where you will run, when you will run, and make measureable goals. There are thousands of resources, calendars, and mobile apps to help you create a schedule. Apps like “Couch-to-5K” are easy for beginners with no running experience to use.
Most importantly make sure you stick to the plan.
Third, watch out for injury! Beginning runners can experience runner’s knee, twisted ankles and more. Stretch before and after running and always run with supportive shoes and socks. Also, don’t be afraid to walk. If you know you are pushing yourself too hard, take a break.
Fourth, make lifestyle changes that will improve your running. Limit the amount of processed sugar you consume and try to consume a diet rich in lean protein, fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to drink water. Also, look for low glycemic index foods that don’t spike your blood sugar. It is important to maintain your body’s blood sugar to keep from losing energy during a run. Quick and healthy snacks like almonds and raisins are perfect for runners who need an extra boost.
Finally, have fun! Running should be a way to relieve stress and improve your life. Run with friends or in a park with a nice view.
When training for your first 5K don’t get discouraged. Think about all the races you will be able to do in the future! If your time isn’t good the first time, don’t worry because there’s always room for improvement!