Running As a Hobby – 5k Running Tips For Beginners
by Slavko Desik
Running is one of those activities that people either love or hate at the beginning. But the true passion for running doesn’t necessarily start with putting your shoes on, or even with the first mile behind you.
It’s more of a relationship building thing, if you know what I mean. Going through that initial effort to force yourself to run, and overcoming the obstacles can be very difficult in the beginning.
Why do I say so? Well, simply because statistics show that most people approach running in order to lose weight, or solve some medical problems. And you don’t have much passion there per se.
So how can you “fall in love” with this healthy activity if you haven’t already?
Well, simple, give yourself a goal and force yourself to pursue it from the start. The next thing you know, you will be watching at the clock, waiting for the day’s running session to come. And the best thing I strongly recommend to any of you is to put that goal in front of you every single day.
Running a 5k Race
For some this distance of 5 kilometers or little over 3 miles may sound too much at the beginning. And that’s quite normal.
For those of you who consider a 5k race to be something that is relatively hard to achieve, don’t worry. As you progress each and every day, your stamina, fitness level, lung capacity and muscle endurance will drastically improve.
So never think short term, but rather try and see yourself, let’s say, months ahead. That alone will give you some different perspective, and after all, courage to succeed in the goal ahead of you.
Here are some tips that can help you prepare you for a 5k race:
Start Slow With Stretches and Strength Exercises
You don’t have to get yourself in your best shape in order to start this. However, if we are talking about months of not doing some physical activity, then it’s crucial to get yourself in some decent physical shape.
You can start doing some stretches and some minor strength exercises three to five days a week. Then you just have to start slow, and build up from there.
Buy Comfortable Clothes and Running Shoes
Before you start running, make sure that you have comfortable clothes and most importantly, shoes, because discomfort can lead to injuries. There is nothing more discouraging at the start than the pain from an injury.
Blisters are always common with beginners, so really pay attention to this one.
Eat a Healthy Diet
From now on forget about eating junk food, or even staying up late drinking with friends. This will not only make it easier for you to run but also contribute to a healthy lifestyle in general.
Use a Running Calendar
These tips were more about the start, but what then? First of all make a calendar for running. I call mine “The 5k calendar” (yes, I gave it an obvious name, don’t judge).
In there, you should make plans about which days you want to run, and what time usually fits best in your schedule. Running four days a week will give you great results, since you stress and rest the muscles just the right amount. At least for beginners, that is.
Ideally, you would want to make two consecutive days running and give yourself time to rest between the others.
I run on Mondays and Tuesdays, make time to rest on Wednesdays, and again run on Thursdays. Then I rest on Fridays.
My longest run is on Saturdays where I push myself more than usual. Following a similar calendar should give you the best results.
Don’t Be Competitive at the Beginning
Maybe this sounds silly since we are not talking about professional runners here. However, preparing for the race, and racing against yourself each and every day may put a big pressure on you.
Never think minutes and kilometers while you run. Sure, you can count that and make the calculations about where you stand after the practice session, but try and think about different things while you run.
Since you will prepare at least a month for the race with four out of seven days in the week, I strongly advise you to restrain yourself from competitiveness early on. Believe me – this will save you a lot of pressure and disappointments.
A good night’s sleep should be something very important for you. If there is lack in quality sleep, forget about success in your running efforts. Learn how to use this as much as you can, so you can wake up early feeling full of energy.
Relax Muscles with Nice Warm Baths
Start to implement nice warm baths, and massage in your routine if you haven’t by now. Relaxing the muscles is crucial at the very beginning. After the initial period you will probably be just as fine without it, since your endurance and muscle strength will be ten times higher. But here is a little secret – it’s addictive.
Enjoy your preparation for the 5k race; and witness how your muscle strength, endurance, lung capacity, cardio capacity, will improve. Indeed your lifestyle will become better by the day. On top of that you will start losing some extra pounds and solve some medical problems as well.
Have fun and enjoy the race.
(Slavko Desik is a writer and editor at LifestyleUpdated where he tries to build a community of like-minded people that share the same passion when it comes to living full time. You can find Slavko on Google+ or Facebook.)