Friday, October 23, 2009

Top Tips for Training to Run 5km

If you are looking for motivation to gain fitness and lose weight, a goal of competing in your first 5km event would be a great carrot to stick to your workouts. However, to comfortably run the distance does require fitness and don't feel sore for the week after the event, you need to take into consideration the following top tips:

  • You can aim for a time from anywhere between 20-40minutes. My first 5km event (it was a duathlon) was 23minutes straight after a 20km bike leg.
  • Take the step of actually registering for your first 5km event, this will give you alot more incentive to train and commit to the event. 1-3 months will be sufficient time to train for the event.
  • You will want to train at least 3-4 times per week. Starting with short 15min runs (combined with walking for 2minutes every 5mins or so), increasing to 20mins by the end of the week. Your body will be in shock in the first week, but you need to be consistent and keep adding 1 min to your run time each day. Make sure you do a good 15 mins of stretching afterwards.
  • After your first week, you can start increasing your tempo by running slightly faster than your normal pace for 2mins and then dropping back to your normal speed. Try to run 10mins before walking for 2-3mins. By the end of the second and third weeks you should be able to run 30mins comfortably.
  • After 2-3 weeks of 30 min runs, you should be able to build up your mileage so that you can run 6-8kms quite comfortably. No more than 8kms. This should take no longer than 45mins. After the first week, continue to add 1min per day till you reach 45mins. This is where I find it is the optimal amount of training for 5km or even eventually trying out the 10km events.
  • Introduce one "long session" a week, which will be 45mins (8km or so) done at a slow-moderate pace. Two run sessions should be faster, one being interval focused where you will run out of your comfort zone for 5mins, then slowing down to a jog for 10min recovery before repeating the 5min effort. Aim to do this 3 times during your 40-45min run. The other "fast" session should be to hold your maximum sustainable pace for 25mins, finishing with a 5 min slow run.
  • Because running is hard on the joints, it will be a good idea to do some bike riding as well for 30-60mins each week. This will improve your cardiovascular fitness while giving your running muscles a break.
  • Stretching after each running session is of vital importance and 15-20minutes of your time invested in 4-5 good stretches will help with your flexibility and recovery from your workouts.
  • Consider taking high quality vitamin supplements to aid your recovery and improve your immune and energy levels. Introducing a multivitamin supplement to your diet will help introduce more much needed anti-oxidants to your system to fight the increased number of free-radicals that are being produced as a result of your increased physical activity.
  • Race day - warm up for 5 mins of easy jogging will get the blood flowing through your legs and prime you for a faster time if you are seeking respectable a time. Eat minimally before your race, focus on eating easily digested food such as bananas and dried fruit. A good energy drink will also help with your performance. I drink REV 3 surge with my water ( prior my race events and during (although you won't need to consume fluids during a 5k).
  • Relax and have a good time. If you have trained consistently for the past couple of months prior the race, you can unleash it and achieve your personal best 5k time. If you have done limited training, then I would focus on going at a speed that is comfortable for you and increase your intensity as the end approaches.

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