By Bonnie Mechelle
If you are a person who is thinking about becoming a “runner” nothing will motivate you more than training for your first 5K race. A 5K is 3.2 miles, and you need to give yourself 3 months to train (if you’re just getting started). The goal should be to run the race all the way through without stopping to rest or walk. This may sound intimidating at first, but when you put yourself on the proper schedule and plan ahead, this can be easily accomplished (so don’t worry).
You can make some time to go online and search for a local 5K race in your area that is three months from now and sign up. Another thing that is great about running 5K races is that you are usually running for a great cause, and the money you spend signing up will go to a great cause or charity. You’ll get in better shape, improve your self-confidence and be a do-gooder all at the same time. When you start to run, don’t have a mindset of a person that has to finish first. It is an accomplishment just to finish the race, and often times there are age groups that you can place in when crossing the finish line.
Let’s talk about your personal plan and schedule for running this race that you’re signing up for. You want to try to run as far as you can without getting tired then stop to walk when you initially train, eventually by then end of the first month you’ll be able to run one entire mile without stopping (exciting huh?).
As you begin training for your first 5K, you want to measure a half mile in your car. You can do this in your own neighborhood or at a local park with a trail. You can also measure a half mile by using your bicycle if it has a speedometer on it. Continue to run/walk as your mileage increases until you can run your desired distance without running out of breath (don’t get discouraged if you can only run a short distance. It’s okay, you’ll get better).
Set benchmarks for yourself and make a goal to be able to run pass four houses without stopping, or to run to the next light pole. You may also visualize yourself being pushed by the wind, or being pulled by a horse (I know this sounds crazy), it really works. These tips will give you the extra motivation to push yourself to go further and faster.
Set weekly goals for yourself as you make time to train 3 to 4 days a week. Be sure to pay attention to your body, so you will not get hurt. Running injuries are common, one of the things you can do to prevent injury is to have proper form when you run and to stretch properly before and after each training session.
Keep a journal of your training and write down the days of the week that you plan to run in your calendar. Treat your training schedule like a doctor’s appointment (something that has to get done), so nothing will stand in your way of getting your workouts completed. It also helps to have a supportive network of friends or a running group to workout with, for a higher level of accountability and motivation.
Make a plan, stick to it and do it. You will feel like a champion after you finish your first 5K, do everything you can to get the support that you need to succeed, and before you know it you’ll be running like the wind!
About Bonnie Mechelle
Bonnie Mechelle is the founder of Victory Steps Christian Weight Loss Coaching for Women and the co-author of Bold Physical Identity the 5K 10K Half Marathon Training Guide for Beginners. If you're ready for faith-based weight loss support or specific training on how to run, please visit ((www.victorysteps.net))
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