Starting from zero: How to get to a Good to Great 5k?
How does one run past the 5000 meter mark?
Even champion runners were once a beginner. You might have watched elite runners in admiration at some point asked yourself how they managed to get to where they are in their running form and fitness.
“It’s an age old idiom but don’t compare where someone else is now, to where you are right now”
Comparison not only can introduce unnecessary intimidation on your part but also can be a de-motivating force as well.
Take for example a heroic figure like Mo Farah (not that any of us will come close to his talent and achievements, but for this example…) he didn’t attain his legacy on a single day. He had a strategic plan which he closely adhered to. To those of us who are beginners and want to bring out the best out of ourselves, we can be bolstered by the fact that every person (even elite athletes) have to progress one day and one workout at a time.
We are going look at the progression step by step on how to make your 5k to marathon running visions come true.
Marathons and half marathons have been gaining in popularity since the 1970s. From the 70s to now recreational and competitive running has continued to quickly gain in popularity. The 5K run is perhaps the most popular and the best starting distance target for new runners to get started. We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘go big or go home’, however it’s best for novice runners to start with the 5K and then gradually work their way up to half and full marathons. Starting with 5k’s and working your way up will help you avoid injuries and also build your confidence and proper running formwithout compromising it by over-extending yourself.
If you’re really, truly going from being sedentary to wanting to run; a good starting point to gauge whether you’re ready to even start training for a 5K run is to see if you can walk at a comfortable pace for about an hour. Once you start building up endurance, another way to keep a track of your success is to see how much distance you can cover in 30 mins instead of a strict 5K target while training.
“Everything is achievable. With consistent and focused effort, you can achieve greatness.”
With some consistent training you can get past the 5k line. Building the stamina for your target distance is one of the key areas you must focus upon. Drink lots of fluids because you are going to need electrolytes for your muscles to work. To provide your legs with a consistent supply of energy you must first have competitive stamina.
Goals & Targets
Set a target to double your distance and twice a week press yourself to hit a personal best in distance while keeping a steady pace and solid running from. Increase this limit every week. This will increase your endurance if continued consistently each week. Do not over run yourself as it will drain you out and extend the time it will take for your muscles to recover.
Rest & Recovery
You need to give your muscles ample time to recover. While bringing up recovery, we have to emphasize the importance of sleep. Adequate sleep (which is at least 8hours per night while training; but for some people maybe more) will help you avoid injuries that could potentially hurdle your progress while elevating your performance at the same time.
Routine & Schedule
Every athlete has a weekly routine he sticks to. The time to wake up at, time to train, time to eat, what to eat, how much to eat, what not to eat, what to eat in moderation, what supplements are to be added in his diet.
Writing down and plan and sticking to it religiously will pay off immensely in performance gains.
Supplemental Exercises & Avoiding Injuries
It is common for some runners to develop imbalances which leads to the body having to do more work while running. Certain exercises, especially multi-joint exercises like lunges and squats are helpful for runners by engaging the weaker or inactive muscles. Some of the common exercises you can do to avoid common injuries include, squats, lunges, plank and push-ups. Including plyometrics into your exercise regimen will improve the elasticity and explosive power of the muscles thereby increasing speed and strength.
Choosing the right footwear goes a long way in avoiding injuries. There are three basic steps to choosing the right pair for you
- Analyzing your running style and the type of running you do
- Picking the right category of shoes for you with the major categories being cross-training shoes, road running shoes and trail running shoes
- Choosing the ones that fit you best. You might also want to look at aspects such as cushion level of your shoe as well as the arch type of your feet to get the optimum foot gear for you.
Diet & Nutrition
Nutrition is also an important aspect to keep in mind, when as a runner, you need to have the right amount of energy and proper nutrition to expend on your run and then to help the body recuperate and shore up energy resources forthe next run. Foods should consist of mainly whole food which means aslittleprocessed food as possible. High quality protein and green vegetables andfruits are great choices, as well as whole grains like quinoa and wild orbrown rice.
Supplements for a runner tends to be very specific. A lot of amateur runners end up buying a lot of different supplements without the proper research and spending a lot of money on supplements that may actually not be needed. The key basic supplements for runners include Caffeine which provides an energy boost before a run or training regimen, Branched Chain Amino Acidswhich helps maintain muscle mass especially when the body goes into a calorie deficit state, Glutamine which aids in recovery and increases endurance and rehydration, Probiotics to positively influence gastrointestinal health, Calcium to ensure proper bone health, and whey protein in case you are not getting enough protein from your regular diet.
Diet and Supplements
● Know your caloric requirements or you will be fatigued.
• You are going to use the aerobic system to fuel your muscles.
● Protein: 0.8g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
● Carbs: 2.7-3.6 g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.
● Fats: 0.45g of fat per pound of bodyweight.
Key Running Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Wear a good fitting shoe
Occasionally overlooked, a shoe is one thing which can affect how long you can run and how much resilience you have. Choose nice sport shoes that will give your feet the spring they need. If you are more about developing the leg muscles, then barefoot running shoes are the best choice for you.
2. Take short strides
Long strides can often make you lose you stability as the center of gravity of you body can tend to fall from your body’s limits. This can cause you to stumble and fall, in which you might injure yourself. Short effective strides will make you be stable and run for long.
3. As you run, land on the mid of your sole first
This makes the legs to be springy-like as the weight of body is properly supported. You can run for long distances without tiring and this is a plus for you.
4. Run at your own pace
Do not race the wind or cars, no, not even a fellow runner is worth it. Remember you are doing this for you and you don’t want to end up panting heavily and running short of breath. Sometimes a muscle-pull might even decide to punish you. Take a balance in pushing yourself to keep up a challenging pace but at the same time don’t press.
5. Increase the distance and speed with time
Make sure every new day there is a new goal to achieve- more distance to cover. If it’s the same distance then quicken things up a bit. It will help you build more endurance.
6. Time yourself
Have a stopwatch in order to know the amount of time you take to run a certain distance or to a certain rep. This will help you compete against yourself and you will achieve more. It also give you motivation to keep trying harder till you beat your idol(most probably you have one).
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