Running is considered the classic cardiovascular exercise. It works the entire body, including the heart. Besides the physical benefits of increased muscle endurance, distance running also provides mental health benefits. Shown to lower stress and significantly reduce signs of depression, it’s a great choice for someone who’s looking to improve their fitness, lose weight, and improve their mindset. One of the best things about running is you’re not limited by equipment; it can be done just about anywhere for almost no cost (besides good shoes!). The only thing experts advise that you should be careful about is your training technique. Training for a 5k run can be brutal if you don’t know what you’re doing. Follow our weight loss expert’s running tips on how to prepare for a 5k, and you’ll be burning through endurance runs in no time!
1. Hot Tips: Training for a Run the Right Way
If you’re a total newbie at running, start with short intervals. For example, a basic pattern to ease you into running will be a 30-second run followed by a 60-second brisk walk. This simple running tip will help you build your stamina so you can make it through an entire 5k in a few weeks. For about every mile that you plan on running, you should train for approximately 3 weeks. This means for a 5k (just over 3 miles) you’ll train for approximately 9 weeks. Any pro runner can give you this tip: train your entire body, not just your running endurance. A strong body built by a combo of cardio and low-weight strength training is better equipped to handle long runs. We recommend resistance band workouts for low impact muscle growth or fun classes like Pilates! This will even out your workout so it’s not strictly your legs getting the benefits of a run. Make sure to rest every 4 – 5 days to avoid overexertion!
2. The Warm-Up is Almost as Important as the Run
Some of the most important running tips revolve around how you warm up. Don’t think of a warm-up as just static stretching; a good warm-up is also what you eat and how hydrated you are. A balanced diet is essential to an endurance runner. Plenty of lean proteins, fresh fruit and vegetables, and unrefined carbohydrates will replenish the energy you exert during the run, helping you to avoid feeling sluggish. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after your run keeps your cells hydrated. This can help avoid the dreaded side cramp so many runners experience. Small sips during the run can help boost your endurance and energize you to push through the last few steps. For stretching, our expert running tip is to do dynamic stretches before the run and static after. Dynamic is easier than it sounds – just move while you stretch! A few examples are walking lunges or knees, each of which helps blood flow freely through the muscle while getting it used to the movement. Static stretching relieves tension by holding the muscles in a stretched position and is best done after the run.
3. How to Prepare the Night Before and the Day of a Run
You’ve stuck to your training, picked up your bib, and are nearly ready to complete your run! What do you do the night before? We can tell you what not to do – drink alcohol or have a heavy meal. Lighter fare for dinner the night before, such as grilled chicken and veggies, is best to avoid a sluggish start the next morning. Loading up on carbs is also not a great idea, despite what the classic The Office scene tells us. Anything smaller than 10 miles is unlikely to need the extra fuel carb-heavy meals to provide and might actually make you sick. Do something relaxing the night of, such as watching TV or reading a good book to keep your mind clear. The goal is to stay off your feet and allow your body as much rest as possible! Runs are mentally challenging, so being on your a-game means getting plenty of sleep. For the day of, it’s a good idea to pack a light snack and some water. An excellent choice is a nutritious Proti-Bar to get you through any energy slumps during your run. Do not try anything new, such as new shoes. They make look nice but you run the risk of getting blisters or affecting your stride. You’ve put in the time to establish a routine, so don’t switch it up! Be confident, follow our running tips during your training, and get running! For more running and healthy lifestyle tips reach out to Advanced Medical Weight Loss and Wellness Center!