Oh running…. how I despise thee. However, I do think it has it’s place in fitness and to be honest, running 5K’s with your buds is pretty fun.
I would rather pick up heavy things and put them down over and over again. With that said, I am actually quite good at running. I don’t mean to toot my own horn here but since I am given the platform, I will. I can run fast! There I said it. If you are any good at running, like to run, or are thinking about running then hopefully this little guide will help. The main purpose is to get you ready to tackle your first 5K. Or second or third, or 10th if you sucked at the previous ones.
FROM COUCH TO 5K. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND.
If you are reading this and all you have been doing the last 6 months is picking lint out of your belly button, eating jelly donuts, and your exercise routine consists of squatting and standing every time you use the restroom then I suggest taking it slow.
- Start walking
- Get in some incline hiking
- Active sports. Tennis, volleyball, basketball
- Light jogs, 10-15 minutes
- Longer light jogs, 20-30 minutes at a consistent pace
- Interval training. 20-40 second sprints with 2-3 minutes walk rest
You’ve got to start somewhere. I know I can be pretty impatient sometimes but just think how hard it will be to run a 5K from your hospital bed. I guess you could run it in those cute robes they give you.
Now hear this friends. If all you want to do is run then consider the following asterisks a slap in your face *** Runners need to be strong, flexible, and coordinated. So even if all you want to do is be Forrest Gump you need to still emphasis strength training a minimum 2-3 times per week. There is a super awesome strength coach named Charles Poliquin that knows a thing or two about this. Here are some of his tips as to why runners need to strength train.
Increase your pace: Strength training will improve leg strength and your body’s effectiveness at using oxygen and energy. By decreasing the amount of oxygen you need to run at given speeds you will be able to keep a faster pace. Yeah boy!
Lower body fat: Imagine trying to run when you look like Fat Bastard. No imagine trying to run when you look like this beast. Now tell me which one you think would be easier on your body. In order to maximize your fat burning effect you need more muscle. More muscle means a faster metabolism which means less junk in your trunk. Running alone will only make you skinny fat. Close your eyes and picture a marathon runner. Now picture what a sprinter looks like standing next to them (you probably did not read that part if your eyes were closed). Don’t over due the long stuff. Mix in some sprints and weight training and dominate your next race.
Prevent injury: How can you get your run on if you’re hurt? Weight training will help correct structural imbalances that would otherwise create potential injuries such as planter fasciitis and bunions. Weak muscles in your calves can cause shin splints and weak hamstrings can lead to knee and low back pain. Uni-literal exercises like lunges and step-ups can help to balance out some of the common issues.
Strong core: Runs of longer distances can wreak havoc on your low back and knees. Lifts like the dead-lift, back squat, and pull-ups will not only work large muscles groups that help to build that lean LGN body (“look good naked”) but also utilize the core muscles for stabilization. This will translate into less pain and injury for runners in the knee, low back, and hiney regions.
Less stress: Large amounts of long distance running as been shown in many studies to lead to chronic inflammation. Strength training helps to increase antioxidants in the body to combat any inflammation that may occur. A yin and yang thing if you will.
If you don’t know by now well then hear my battle cry. I preach nutrition. I hope you don’t think you can just run on end and be in great shape. Nutrition plays an important role in both performance, health, and looking damn good. If you have not been running and have been focusing on leaning out a bit your carbs may be a little lower. If you are looking for performance improvements in your 5K or are just wanting to increase your runs every week you may want to think about increasing your carbohydrates. This is not something you will need to do drastically nor does it mean you can start eating ice cream and drinking Kool-Aid again.
Start slow and stick to your paleo plan. Lean meats, veggies, nuts and seeds, and fruit will go a long way into helping you perform and look good doing it. Monitor your energy levels. If you are sleeping enough and not over-training but feeling a little run down and lethargic try adding in some quinoa, yams or sweet potatoes, and extra fruit in the form of berries. Focus on getting these foods early in the day and after your training sessions. Add them in slowly and pay attention to how you feel and look.
FIRST RACE COMMON MISTAKES
If this is your first 5K and have been googling around to get some info on how to train for it you may have common across some real garbage. On the day of the race you also may find yourself a little anxious and prone to some mistakes. Here are some common mistakes and quick fixes.
Premature speed: If you’re laughing, you’re welcome. A little pun there if you will. Often first timers can get out of the gate to quickly. Endorphins are going, nerves are heightened, and you’re just damn excited to get going.
Fix it: start out running a pace you could carry a conversation with. Then every 800 meters to a mile try to pick up the pace.
Carbohydrate loading: A ton of runners and endurance athletes advocate carbohydrate loading while training and for races. Blasphemy I say! A 5K race is short enough to where you will not need to alter your current nutrition plan very much.
Fix it: stay on course with your current nutrition plan. Add a serving of berries or yams after your runs while training if you are feeling a little run down. On race day eat something very light a few hours before hand. A small handful of nuts is perfect to keep your blood sugar stable.
Injuries: If you are new to running or are a seasoned runner looking to avoid injuries then a proper warm-up is needed. Imagine the Flash running down a mugger only to pull a hamstring. Embarrassing right? A 5-10 minute warm-up is usually sufficient. Some might need a little more time. Here are a few link from super runner Jason Fitzgerald over at Strengthrunner.com.
Following the above warm-up and recovery programs would do the trick. Basic foam rolling, stretching, and body weight movements should be done on a regular basis as well to make sure that you are staying loose, flexible, and balanced.
Drum roll please…. boys and girls, here it is. A 4 week plan to getting your self into beast mode for your first 5K. Complete with some weight training and all. Props to the boys over at OPT, Crossfit endurance, and Strength running for providing some valuable research tools for me to put this together.
So I had the plan all typed up in this post but then realized it made it super long and intimidating to read. So why don’t you just click here instead for the plan.
THE WRAP UP
The plan outlined will get you started on completing your first 5K or possibly improving on a previous 5K time. If you really enjoy your first 5K or want to pursue a 10K, marathon, or ultra run then stop by these resources to get some valuable info under your belt.
- Jason Fitzgerald: Strengthrunning.com
- Brian MacKenzie: Crossfitendurance.com
- Runner’s World
- Cool Running
- Active running
Wether this is your first 5K, second 5K, or 10th I’d be curious as to your time. Give me a shout and let me know how it goes. If you have any questions I am also here for you.