As a teen in high school I hated running. I could never go more than five mintues without feeling like my lungs were on fire and about to burst out of my chest. In my twenties I was determined to overcome this obstacle. Every extra minute I could manage felt like a life accomplishment.
Five minutes slowly turned into 10. And 10 minutes turned into 20. I eventually fell in love with running. I was hooked! But I never considered it anything other than a great way to work out and keep fit. Then after a knee injury and rehab last year, I finally decided to do my first marathon – a 5km run.
One day, as I was scrolling through my twitter feed, I came across the tweet below. I honestly don’t know what possessed me but I thought, “Yes!” I signed up for my first 5km marathon. Two hours later, I was registered and asking myself, “What have I done?”. I justified my rash decision by reminding myself that I wanted a challenge. I needed to have progress in my life and do SOMETHING this year.
A 5km run may not be much for some, but for me it’s a big deal. I wanted to do this run because there’s a lot in life that’s out of our control. But we can control some things. Knowing that my progress is dependent on my own efforts, makes me feel like I’m in control. As long as I work hard, physically train and mentally prepare, I know I can cross that finish line.
Training has been hard work. But I’m enjoying the process of pushing myself to new limits with each workout. With only one week left to go before race day, I know I still have a lot of work to do. Even when I cross the finish line, I know I’ll only be half way there.
Thinking of challenging yourself this year? Here are my tips on training for your first 5km run.
1. INVEST IN A GREAT PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES
At the gym, I strength train in the Nike LunarLaunch
running shoes. But on the pavement, treadmill or trail, I run in the Nike Vomero+ 4
. It’s ideal for a neutral running gait and has enough support and cushioning for high mileage training. If you’re not sure where to start, try the folks at The Running Room
. You can even get your running gait analyzed to see if you’re a neutral or pronated runner. This will impact the type of shoe that is great for you.
2. STOCK UP ON THE RIGHT APPAREL
I love running outside, no matter the time of year. I’ve invested in really warm winter running tights from Lululemon. They are extra thick and have pockets on the legs for my keys. But now that it’s warmer, I’ve started wearing capri leggings from Fabletics
. I also have a ton of sports bras. I mean, a ton! The most recent pairs I’ve bought are from Under Armour.
I picked up two pairs of the UA Eclispe Bra
. The right sports bra that fits correctly is essential. Remember ladies – no sports bra – no run. Some thing that you might not even think about getting for your workouts are headbands. These have become super important. I hate fussing during my workouts so whether I’m at the gym or on the trail, I like to push my bangs back out of my face with a stretchy headband. I picked up a couple of these ones
from Lululemon just the other day.
3. DOWNLOAD A RUNNING APP OR BUY A GPS WATCH
I briefly mentioned this before
, but I’m so glad I’ve started using the Nike+ Running App. The marathon for me is all about progress so I really wanted to be able to track how I was doing in my training. But I really, really didn’t want to have any extra gadgets to fuss with and carry along during my workouts. The Nike+ Running app is perfect because it’s already on my phone, has all my songs and running playlists plus I love that you can have a separate playlist for POWER songs.
Of course the real reason I really love it is because I can track my pace, my timing and of course my distance. It also helps that the little voice comes on to tell me how I’m doing and… when I’m done! If you really want to be fancy-pants, you can use the GPS feature to see where you land in the rankings of certain routes in your city.
4. FIND A RUN CLUB YOU LOVE
Sometimes it’s nice to run solo and get lost in your thoughts. Other times, it’s just so much fun to be social with a run club. You can laugh and chat as you run. You can push yourself to keep up with someone else’s pace or help pace someone looking to get faster. I try to get out with a club at least once a week for the camaraderie.
5. LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY FUEL FOR YOUR RUNS
There are many different perspectives on proper nutrition for running with so many articles out there. I suggest some reading and experimenting with what works for you. Before going for a 5km run, I sometimes have a Gatorade. I need the extra fuel to get me through the 30 minutes without wanting to stop for water before my miles are up.
After a long workout, water is usually what I grab. A big guzzle always hits the spot to rehydrate. Then a hearty dinner with protein, brown rice and lots of veggies. Yum! Everyone is different and you will eventually find what works for your body best. You can also work with a nutritionist. Lots of water, well-balanced meals and a multi-vitamin do the trick for me.
6. GET YOURSELF A FOAM ROLLER
Breaking down tight muscles is a key to recovery. When you break down tight muscles, you give them the chance to heal. Most runners deal with tight IT bands, which run down the outer sides of both thighs. The IT band tightens due to your glute muscles firing and can sometimes cause pain in the knee area where the band inserts into the joint. By foam rolling your legs before and after runs, you can minimize injury and maximize recovery time.
7. DON’T IGNORE ANY TYPE OF PAIN
As I previously mentioned, last year I dealt with a knee injury. I had been running on it for months but ignored it until it got to the point where I could barely walk without grimacing. After months of physiotherapy and not even jogging, I was given the green light to start working out again. But the pain will never be completely gone. I run with a knee brace on my right knee, I never skip warm ups and after every workout, I have to ice it to bring down the swelling. The moral of the story? Treat the onset of pain immediately.
8. SMILE AND LET YOUR MIND WANDER WHEN RUNNING. ENJOY THE JOURNEY TO YOUR FIRST MARATHON.
Image via Like, Wutever