Ten Tips to Complete A 5K by bengreenfield


									                                            Ten Tips to Complete A 5K

Training for and racing in a 5K run can be a perfect way to add motivation to a stale workout, spend more time
outside in the spring and summer months, and shed a few extra pounds for shorts and t-shirt season. But it can
be intimidating to know exactly what to do to get ready and what to expect during the race. Here are ten tips for
completing your first 5K event:

    1.  It's about 3.2 miles. Depending on how fast you walk or run, expect the 5K to last anywhere from 20 to 40
        minutes in the event (although very fast individuals can complete the race in under 15 minutes!
    2. Register for the race. It may sound simple, but if you reserve a spot and pay for the race, you will
        automatically gain more incentive to train. Knowing that your name is on the registration sheet will make
        you want to be ready, so take the first step and find a race. Depending on how fit you are right now, 1-3
        months is sufficient time to prepare.
    3. Train 3 times a week. One day should be your "fast day", in which you either walk or run a short distance
        at a very fast pace. Begin with 1/4 mile at a fast pace, and gradually add to the distance until you can run
        or walk very fast for a mile. Another day should be a "tempo day", in which you walk or run the 5K
        distance at a moderate intensity, at about a 7-8 on a scale of 1-10. Begin with 1-2 miles, and gradually
        work yourself up to 3.2 miles at a moderate pace. Finally, include an "endurance day" in which you go
        long and slow, without pushing yourself too hard. On these days, begin at about 2 miles, and gradually
        work yourself up to 3-4 miles.
    4. Combine walking and running. If you feel completely exhausted during your training, then attempt a brisk
        walk instead of a jog or run. Use a landmark, a telephone pole for instance, and walk one pole, then jog
        the next. You'll eventually increase your endurance, and this can make the training easier, both mentally
        and physically.
    5. Cross-train. You'll improve your endurance and oxygen capacity, and allow your joints to have a break
        from the impact of fast walking or running. Try adding one bike ride and one swim or elliptical trainer
        workout into your routine, preferably in between your walking/running days.
    6. Lift weights. Resistance training is a great way to strengthen the supporting ligaments and tendons while
        building up resistance to injury. Try a full body program, with 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions, performed 2-3
        days a week.
    7. Stretch. Anytime you increase walking or running volume, certain muscles in your body tend to get tighter.
        Your primary flexibility focus should be on the muscles of the upper leg: the hip flexors and the
        hamstrings. While a yoga class will do a great job stretching these muscles, you can also stretch them
        yourself with this simple two step stretch: 1) get into a lunge position, with one leg back and one leg
        forward. Straighten the back leg to stretch the hip flexors. Return to the starting position, then straighten
        the front leg to stretch the hamstrings. Hold each stretch about 15 seconds.
    8. Warm-up before the race. If you feel like performing at a faster pace, this becomes very important, since it
        allows your body to attain a higher intensity without as much "burn". Perform an easy jog for 2-3 minutes,
        then a few short 20-45 second efforts at a fast pace. Try to finish your warm-up within 5 minutes before
        the race begins.
    9. Don't eat too much before the race. A simple meal of 200-400 calories about 2-3 hours before the race
        will allow you to sufficiently digest your fuel, but still have energy for the event. If you tend to get hungry
        directly before exercise, try a small pick-me-up, like half a banana or a small handful of cereal, just 5-10
        minutes before the race. If you tend to get the butterflies in your stomach, avoid excessive fiber, like
        apples and oatmeal. You don't want to be on the toilet when the race starts!
    10. Don't feel performance pressure during the race. Many individuals simply walk their first 5K. Others
        combine walking and running. Nobody expects you to go a certain speed, so relax, have fun, and perform
        at a pace that is comfortable for you. Usually, it's best to complete the first couple miles at steady pace,
        then increase your intensity at the finish line gets closer.

Most newspapers do a great job listing local 5K events, and many gyms have postings on an event board or local
racing magazine. It's easy to find a race, and even easier to register. So what are you waiting for?
If you’d like my FREE newsletter and weekly audio podcast, simply visit http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com. For
a more personalized online fitness coaching, fat loss, human performance or nutrition consulting, you can also
visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net.

                                                                                           Until then, train smart!

                                                                                                  Ben Greenfield

                                                                                    M.S. PE, NSCA-CPT, CSCS

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