Your First 5k
If you have been exercising for awhile now and are looking for a way to challenge yourself, or if you are just starting out and looking to get yourself into shape, participating in a 5k may be the way to go. Running (or walking) in a marathon is a great way to set a goal and to challenge yourself. Even if you have never been a runner before, you can do it.
There are certain things that you should know before making the decision to run a marathon. The most important thing is to check with your doctor and make sure that you are physically healthy and can handle the stress of training. This is especially important for people over 30 and anyone who has had a medical problem in the past. Once you have been cleared, you need to do some assessments of your own. First off, where are you physically. If you have problems walking up stairs and are carrying a great deal of weight, this will be a longer (though still doable) journey then if you are in fairly good shape and are pretty active. There are many different ways to train for a 5k. Take some time to investigate a few on the internet or in books and decide which is right for you. If you start one program and it isn’t working for you, try another. Not every plan is made for every person, some may be more successful for you than others. Second, do you have the time and emotional strength to dedicate to the training. Training can be difficult. If you are starting from scratch, it can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks or even 10 to 12 weeks to get into the condition needed for a 5k. You will need to run 3 to 4 times a week, taking time off in between, for your body to rest. You also need to make a contract with yourself, that you will make time for the training and most importantly not give up. Perseverance is an important characteristic for the long distance runner.
It is helpful to enlist the help of some supportive friends and family members. They can give you the support and cheering that is necessary to reach your goal. If you have someone who is willing to take the journey with you, that is even better. You can cheer each other on and help each other on days when one of you just doesn’t feel like training.
Once you have committed yourself to running a 5k, make sure you have a good pair of running shoes for your training. You may have to make some small dietary changes depending on how you usually eat. Eating whole grains and plenty of protein will ensure that you have the strength and endurance to handle this type of challenge. Make sure that you get plenty of rest. And most importantly, if you feel pain, listen to your body. You may be overdoing it or you may have injured yourself. Go slowly and steadily and you will achieve your goal in no time!
Sydney Garrison is an avid cyclist and sports enthusiast. She is also a partner in an online bike rack store.