Running a 5-kilometer race sounded like a good idea back in January when you were making New Year’s resolutions. But as summer approaches, running to the mailbox may be the closest you’ve come to training for it. It’s not too late to reach that goal, and Canyon Ranch is ready to help.
Getting started is the most difficult part. For one thing, many people do not envision themselves to be runners. Avid walkers may view the gap between walking and running as a huge obstacle that they’re not willing to overcome. Although running is more difficult than walking, it is doable.
Demystifying the 5k
Don’t let the distance scare you. A 5k race only amounts to 3.1 miles. If you are a walker who’s afraid to run, consider this: Running is harder because it requires a higher degree of fitness. So why not decide up front to take yourself to the next level? It may be a challenge, but you’re up to the task.
Once you make a commitment to begin training, you need to find a race in your area. You can search online for local running clubs, which will typically link to a calendar of running events in your area. Sign up right away. Making that public promise is a great way to get motivated. Then you can focus on preparation.
Ready, set, GO!
You’re jazzed and ready to train, but on your first day of running, you feel winded after five minutes. Don’t get discouraged.
“When people first decide to run, they are so excited about it. They get new shoes, sign up for a race, then they actually hit the streets and on their first attempt, they want to quit. It’s important to remember that most people cannot run three miles nonstop today. There needs to be a slow build-up, allowing time for your fitness level to improve,” says Mike Siemens, Director of Exercise Physiology at Canyon Ranch in Tucson.
He suggests allowing 10 to 12 weeks for your body to get used to running. Start with walks spiced with brief running intervals. Do your normal walk two or three times a week. Then, as you progress, start adding periods of running. In the beginning, these intervals can be for as little as 30 seconds at a time, eventually building up to two minutes of running. Follow these running intervals with two to four minutes of walking to allow yourself time to catch your breath.
Whether you are a novice or more advanced, Siemens suggests using one of the following eight-week training schedules:
Week Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri Sat Sun
1. Rest or Run/Walk 1.50 mi Rest or Run/Walk 1.50 mi Rest 1.50 mi 30- to 60-min. walk
2. Rest or Run/Walk 1.75 mi Rest or Run/Walk 1.50 mi Rest 1.75 mi 30- to 60-min. walk
3. Rest or Run/Walk 2.00 mi Rest or Run/Walk 1.50 mi Rest 2.00 mi 40- to 60-min. walk
4. Rest or Run/Walk 2.25 mi Rest or Run/Walk 1.50 mi Rest 2.25 mi 45- to 60-min. walk
5. Rest or Run/Walk 2.50 mi Rest or Run/Walk 2.00 mi Rest 2.50 mi 50- to 60-min. walk
6. Rest or Run/Walk 2.75 mi Rest or Run/Walk 2.00 mi Rest 2.75 mi 55- to 60-min. walk
7. Rest or Run/Walk 3.00 mi Rest or Run/Walk 2.00 mi Rest 3.00 mi 60-min. walk
8. Rest or Run/Walk 3.00 mi Rest or Run/Walk 2.00 mi Rest Rest Race
Can you handle it?
Before beginning a fitness program, Siemens says you should determine your fitness level, which may be the deciding factor for whether you run or walk the 5k on race day. Always consult your doctor before beginning any fitness program.
Now that you’ve made the commitment and have the training schedule, what are you waiting for? Start moving toward a healthier, happier you.