By Scott Quill, Athletes' Performance
Completing a 5K is a huge achievement, and one that you can attain sooner than you may think. “Training for a 5K will provide motivation and purpose to your training, and you’ll gain confidence when you cross the finish line,” says Kevin Elsey of Athletes’ Performance. We explain what to expect so you can relax and have a blast.
1. It’s all about fun
5Ks are nothing like those grueling 1-mile test runs they used to make you do in gym class. They’re social events, usually tied to festivals and charities. You’re not worrying about your race time. You don’t even have to run. You’re just trying to complete the race and have a good time. So find a 5K, recruit friends to commit to it with you, and put it on the calendar. If you’re still not convinced, just think of the reward. “The bigger the hurdle it is for you to finish a 5K, the greater the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you succeed,” Elsey says.
2. See it. Believe it.
Do you know what five kilometers (3.125 miles) looks like? Drive it or ride it on your bike. It’s not so bad. Then choose a familiar route where you’re going to train and map out the distance. As you continue training, you’ll see yourself make progress along the route, advancing closer to the full 5K distance. This will help ease any anxiety you may have about the actual race.
3. Take time to train
Whether you plan to walk, run/walk, or run the full 5K, use a training plan. “Many people go out and run themselves into the ground,” says Elsey. “Assess your fitness honestly and then build your cardiovascular base.” If you can’t run for five minutes, select level 1 of the Getting Started cardio plan at miCoach.com. If you have some running experience, still give yourself at least three weeks before the race to prepare with miCoach. Dedicate three or more days a week to training, Elsey says, and explore the Single Workouts for some quick and easy warm-up activities.
4. Rest and recover
Proper recovery and nutrition habits help you get the most out of your training and keep your energy levels high. If you’re new to running, start on the treadmill to lessen the impact on your body. Then gradually work your way outside. Mix in activities like cycling, yoga, and strength training to keep things fresh. After each workout, glide your body over a foam roll, hanging out on any tender spots for 30 seconds. Or use a massage stick to ease soreness and help keep your muscles limber.
5. Enjoy race day
There’s no reason to feel pressure on race day, especially if you map out your day ahead of time. Wake up early enough so you can eat and get to the race location without feeling rushed. “About one to two hours before the race, eat a light meal like oatmeal with berries and nuts or a peanut butter and banana sandwich,” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research at Athletes’ Performance. She recommends drinking 20 ounces of fluid—either water or G2—to hydrate your body. Dress comfortably in apparel and footwear you’re used to running in. Don’t try out new gear on race day. (If you need new apparel at the start of training, check out (www.adidas.com/running.) When you arrive at the race location, go through a warm-up with your friends just like you would during your training. Then start anyplace you want when the race is about to begin. Don’t think you need to be at the front of the pack. It’s all about feeling comfortable. Use miCoach during the race to keep track of your distance and pace. When you finish, celebrate. You’ve earned it!