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Running Your First 5K And What You Should Expect!

Are You About To Start Training For Your First 5K?

Couch to 5K (C25K) programs are a great way to train without getting hurt, but you may be wondering what to expect from these programs. Here are five basic things you’ll experience as you go from sitting on the couch to finishing a 5K.

  1. How to get Started

You can achieve your first 5K in a number of ways, on your own, through a run club, running shop, social or work group. Being part of a group is highly recommended. Safety in numbers, knowing it is not just you on starting out on this journey. Motivation, we all have bad days and groups are great to keep you going, not everyone will have a bad day at the same time. Milton Keynes has some great organisations. Both The Running Shop and The Sweat Shop have beginner’s groups. Milton Keynes also has one of the largest and still growing run clubs in the country. The Redway Runners has a numbers of beginners groups at different times of the week and run throughout the year providing a friendly, supportive and convenient way to reach your 5k target.

You will start out by walking more than you run. Each C25K program will vary slightly, but they will all start with you walking more than running. You should expect to have intervals of several minutes of walking with short “bursts” of running at the beginning (this should still be comfortable – try to maintain a steady breathing pattern) if working in a group work to your own pace. THIS IS A VITAL PART TO NOT GETTING INJURED. As you improve, the intervals will shift to a little less walking and more running until you reach the point where you can run the entire distance. If the idea of running a full three miles makes you nervous, don’t worry. The program will get you there gradually, and will guide you each step of the way.

  1. Taking the first steps

As you start training you will feel some soreness and muscle aches along the way to your 5K goal. Some soreness is normal—in essence, it’s your body building stronger muscles—so don’t worry if the pain is overall mild to moderate. You should not feel stabbing or debilitating pain of any kind. If you feel severe pain, you should stop training immediately and seek advice from a sports therapist. It is better to miss a session or two of training and get checked out than “push through the pain” and risk an injury that could stop you training for weeks.

To help minimize and/or cope with the soreness you will feel, make sure to buy good trainers before you start training. Good trainers can help tremendously, but realize they won’t prevent muscle aches. To lessen muscle soreness, make sure to warm up before each run, and stretch after each run. The stretching will help your muscles loosen up and reduce soreness. If the muscle aches are more towards the moderate scale, then you may want to try a foam roller. A foam roller is a large tube of foam-like material that you use after a run to massage your muscles and relieve the aches and pains associated with exercise. You can find a foam roller at most running stores and online

  1. Keeping Motivated

You will experience periods during your training where your motivation is low. There will be days when you’d rather stay in bed or on the couch than run. Be assured that even the pros have days when their motivation is low. When low motivation hits, tell yourself that you will just go for a five-minute walk. You’ll find that once you get going, you will usually keep going. If you happen to miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on track the next day. Remember that nobody is perfect. Setting your end goal is a great way to keep motivated. Pick a 5km event as your target and tell your friends and family. Those who are close to you are a fantastic source of motivation and can play a major part in keeping you on track. Your local Park Run is a fantastic first event. Milton Keynes has one every Saturday morning 9am at Willen Lake.

  1. When self-doubt strikes

You will have periods of self-doubt where that negative voice in your head tells you that you can’t do it—you can’t run a 5K. When that little voice creeps in, feel free to talk back and tell it where to go. Remind yourself that you are strong and that you can reach your 5K goal. This tip is especially important on those days when your run is tougher than you’d like. On those days, remind yourself that even pro marathoners have bad runs, and that tomorrow your run just may be terrific often the best runs come after a bad run and these are the ones to remember. Most of all keep your mind focused on your goal. You can do it!

  1. Crossing the Finish Line

CELEBRATE!!! When you reach your goal and cross that finish line on race day, expect to feel ecstatic. You worked hard, didn’t give up, and you finished your first 5K!

For further advice on training, injury assessment, treatment and prevention in the future you can call Jimmy on 07515695660

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