The only major problem when I did this training was that I was going from couch to 5k in only six weeks, having never done something like this before! Those six weeks were killer and a huge challenge for me. I also learned a lot about running and my body. I like to think I gained some useful knowledge worth passing on to you guys to maybe help you out with any fun runs you plan to take part in this race season!
1. Listen to Your Body
It sounds kinda weird and philosophical, but I mean it! Especially if you're new to running, your body is gonna tell you things. Apparently I have weak ankles, which I was unaware of before running. I had to research ankle-strengthening exercises and stretches. I also should have taken a few extra rest days in order to heal properly before continuing on in my training - overexertion is a real thing! Take it easy!
2. Make a Reasonable Schedule
This relates to point #1 - timing is really important. You have to work up your stamina and endurance, but you also need to allow you body to rebuild muscle. I recommend doing three training days a week, with rest days in between, and work up your running increments. Take one day a week to just walk half an hour to keep your muscles moving without straining them.
3. Invest in Proper Workout Gear
You're not going to be a happy camper if you try running all summer in old cotton T-shirts that you had lying around. Go out and get yourself a nice breathable tee or tank - you won't regret it! I also find new threads are a great motivator to get out and use them! And of course, make sure you're wearing proper running shoes. Many injuries can be avoided if you simply wear good shoes!
4. Learn How to Re-Fuel
Are you on Pinterest? I bet you are! If not, you at least have access to Google. There are so many great recipes or snack ideas for post-workout replenishment. Food = fuel and it's important to top up after exercise. You wouldn't finish a Nascar race and expect your vehicle to get you home after without gas in the tank. Some of my favourite post workout snacks include chocolate milk, peanut butter, fruit, cheese and crackers, or veggies and hummus.
Your training process will go a whole lot smoother if you take this last point to heart. Stretching is mega important for those muscles you've just been working like crazy! Give them some TLC and stretch them out. Always do a walking cool-down. Don't just end your run without cooling off and stretching!
Are you registered for any upcoming runs this summer?