Recently, I wrote a blog post on how being healthy and fit is beneficial to being a parent. In that post I talked about being healthy and fit, making time for exercise, doing workouts you enjoy, and eating right. One way to stay health and fit is to train for a 5k race. As you train for a 5k, there are few things to focus on. Such as, what shoes should you buy? Should you focus on time or distance at first? And, the importance of recovery and rest.
What Shoes Should You Buy For Your 5K Race?
People have often asked me what running shoes should they purchase. I used to tell them to buy whatever running shoe was my favorite at the time. However, I’ve learned that what I like about a particular shoe doesn’t always mean other people will like it too. The most important thing when it comes to a running shoe is to buy what feels the most comfortable to you.
To figure out what shoes purchase, go to your local running store where you can be properly fitted. The sales staff at just about any running store will know what shoes to suggest by evaluating your stride and pronation. After you’ve been evaluated, try on all the shoes that the sales person suggests. As you try on shoes pick the shoes that are most comfortable. The sales person should give you some tips, such as there should be little to no movement with your heal and there should be plenty of room for your toes.
Along with shoes, it may be just as important to buy a good pair of running socks. Ask the sales person at your local running store what they suggest for socks. You’ll most likely want a pair of socks that are seam free and that can manage moisture. When I try on a pair of shoes I always pick a pair of new socks out to purchase at the store and then use those socks to try shoes on.
Remember the most important part in choosing a running shoes is a shoe that is most comfortable to you. Not a shoe that is most comfortable to someone else.
What’s The Most Important Thing For A Beginner Runner To Focus On?
Now that you have shoes and socks picked out you are ready to start training for a 5k race. So how should you start your training? If you’re a beginner who has done little to no running in the past then you should start slow. I’ve learned this the hard way. Even though I have been running for a number of years, I some times start out my training running too far and too long. Often times this results in an injury.
Time not Distance
To start slow there are three things you can do. first, focus on time and not distance. As you start running set a goal to run for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or 20 minutes. Base your goal off of your fitness level. Don’t be concerned about the distance you cover as you run for time. As you become more fit you’ll notice that you will begin to cover more distance as you run for time.
Second, as you begin to run use a run/walk plan. This means that it is absolutely okay to walk in the middle of your run. And it is definitely okay to walk multiple times. Doing these two things (focusing on time and having a run/walk plan) will help you to slowly build endurance.
Third, part of focusing on time and implementing a run/walk plan is maintaining a sustainable pace during your runs. Sustainable pace means gaging your stamina to complete your run/walk run without having to completely stop. Also, pace yourself so you don’t finish your run completely exhausted. You want to feel like you have some stamina left in the tank to continue on when you’re finished.
Another way to gage your pace is to monitor your breathing. If you’re unable to have a conversation while running then your going to fast and you should back off your pace. Do this by slowing your pace down until you can comfortably have a conversation with someone you may be running with.
Training Requires Rest and Recovery
I’ve heard it said that it’s not the actual act of running that makes you a strong runner. Rather it’s allowing your body to heal from your training runs. It’s the actual healing that makes you more fit, more healthy, and more strong. In other words, build into your training rest and recovery. This may mean you do some light strength training or you do a core workout instead of running on your days off. It also could mean that you take the whole day (or multiple days) off from any physical exercise.
Rest and recovery not only allows your body to heal, it will help prevent overuse injuries. The worst thing that can happen in training for a 5k race is sustaining an injury. In essence your training to get in shape for the race back fires. This can be frustrating feel.
In addition to this, as I get older, I’m beginning to learn that at home physical therapy is an important part of rest and recovery. What I mean by this is doing things like stretching, foam rolling, and cryotherapy can help prevent or heal over use injuries like shin splints or plantar fasciitis.
A good resource on the web for at home physical therapy products is Rehab Therapy Supplies. This e-commerce website has hot and cold therapy products as well as exercise equipment like weights and exercise mats.
Running Makes You A Better Parent
As a parent, it’s okay to curve out time during your day to train for a 5k. Give yourself permission to be “selfish” to do this. In the long run (pun intended), as you train you will become more healthy and fit. This means you will have the energy and stamina to keep up with the kids and their needs.