Im going to be straight up, I still cannot run an entire 5k without stopping. I have never run before, ever, I decided to take up running November of 2012, so roughly 3 months ago, we are looking at about 16 weeks. Still not a straight 5k *sadface*!! I have covered roughly 267km in that time, which equates to 16.5’ish km’s a week. I average a K at 9’43″/km – BOO! This frustrates me to the max, because I need to do better to be able to keep my running enthusiasm. I love running, I am not the best at it, and I am not my best at it, trouble is, I know exactly why I suck so much at it and am not improving in a hurry! I am getting so much of it wrong, so I got to researching a bunch of stuff and came up with some helpful explanations and ways to get my shit sorted once and for all, Garr!
How to run a better 5k:
Get the gear
Even if you are a novice and have never run before, you need the good shit. Efficiency is what we are looking at. Getting the right gear to become awesome at running is crucial for lots of reasons!
Reducing Injury – Shoes! Don’t be a dick like me and waste money on a shoe that was on sale, fit perfectly (so you think), and looked pretty choice. Go get your run/feet/stride analysed, get some expert advice and get the best shoe for your feet! This will ensure you are not putting any unecessary pressure on hips, knees and ankles which encourages strain, inflammation and breaks!
Comfortability – Threds, and not just any threds, breathable, comfortable, wicking threds! Potentially costly, but will last a fair while and help with your performance. Cotton even in dry conditions will tend to weigh you down. While okay for short casual runs, they tend to hold sweat which can actually make you cold and/or heavy. Also cotton doesn’t allow your body to breathe as well as it could, encouraging your body to overheat leading to uncomfortability. Chaffing!!! Not really a runners best friend! Wicking materials help with this, reducing chances of chaff and blisters!
I read a study a wee bit back about dressing to look good while you run lol!!! And I gotta admit that even I feel heaps more comfortable when I wear something I feel ok in while running in public!
Performance – Especially when dealing with Compression wear, which most wicking materials tend to be. Close to the skin and supporting your muscles, compression gear helps with more efficient blood circulation. Although most studies are not definative in proving compression wear relates to better performance, a lot of runners swear by it and admit they would never go back to non-technical running clothing.
Mood and Attitude – As I was saying up there ^^^^, if you look good you feel good! Do it right and get some sexy shit! Don’t waste your time on stuff that is going to make you self-concious and discourage you from running, do it to it and try a million things on, go on a fitness threds date with yourself and try it all. You want to make this a positive experiance if you want to make it ‘your thing’, it needs to be sustainable from an attitude perspective and every little bit helps!
Start with building a good Aerobic Base
Classic tool for this, you will most probably have heard of – Couch to 5k. It is a gradual programme that starts you off with short intervals of running and walking. As you move through the programme, improving, you do less walking and more running. This programme gets you running 3days a week, advising you to break these up throughout your week allowing for rest in between. As a rookie runner, you need these! Be sure not to skip days or weeks, you want to put stress on your body slowly and not shock the shit out of it so that it decides to pack up and refuse to work for you. Even if it feels easy, complete it as the programme says.
Stretch – why it helps…
Its a way of helping your body out. Dynamic and Static, you gotta have ’em both!
Dynamic – This is your pre-workout stretching. Loosening up those muscles, increases heart rate and blood flow, helping with increased range of motion. LIMBER UP! It’s all good, but make sure it is specific to the training you are planning to do i.e. you wanna go with some butt-kicks, leg lifts a couply lunges and the like. Stretching with movement!
Static – Post-workout stretching. Where the target muscle is stretched by opposing muscles. Limited movement, lengthening that muscle helping it to relax after the stress it has just been through. i.e. Hamstring stretching, Quads and calves, Google it, Get on it!
There are other types of stretching, but let’s not over complicate things, theres only so much info one wants to store at any given time!
Diet and Hydration
This is self explanatory. I am not talking about having you start counting your calories, and I am not saying you need to start over-analysing every morsel you currently eat. Quite the opposite really. We need fuel to perform, we need the right fuel to perform efficiently. Im no expert on this, infact I cant say that I have got it completely right, but we are looking at pre and post work-out Carb snacks. I found this a while back now, What, when, and how much should you eat postrun? That depends on the workout. A simple guide to making sure you don’t over do it or pass out!
And Drink!, For god sakes drink your water!
Pre-hydrate – You need to chug what you are going to sweat out, I can’t tell you exact volumes, I am no scientist, But better to be safe than sorry, trial and error on amounts.
Depending on run duration or exhertion, Hydrate during the act, better to take on the smaller amounts here as to not leave you feeling bloated and too heavy to carry on, not a big believer on beginners using the gel thingys, unless you are all about over-exhertion and doing it hard!
Re-hydrate – Drink like you have had a night ONIT! They say drink enough so you need to use the bathroom within the next 60-90 minutes. However much that is…just drink!
Lets get all over this running business and enter a comp, even if it is just a fun run. If you are the ‘comp’ way inclined, this will help you to work toward something, and hitting up a comp will for most, validate all the work they have done and make it a bit more official.
There are smillions of events to partake in, but lets start small… a simple 5k walk/run, even the smallest of achievements are steps to bigger and better things, if you take on too much, and don’t meet your expectations you will most likely be left feeling like you wasted your time and want to chuck it in.
Got a smart phone? Get some App’s – Nike Running App, MapMyRun, c25K, ZombiesRun, Endomondo, RunKeeper, the list goes on, most are free. This is one of the most important things for me personally 🙂
‘Like’ every ‘Runners’ FB page you come across, having it in your face will keep it top of mind and may just amp you up that little bit more.
Get some Amigo’s! You probs already have a whole bunch, but like minded people who work toward similar goals help us to keep on track, secretly you know they are trying to keep on top of that leaderboard, but that is what pulls on the determination strings.
Follow a whole bunch of blogs, start writing your own, get amongst the online action!
Anywho, I hope this helps, sure did help me researching the shit out of this topic. Game plan on!
Happy running homies!!