It’s coming to the end of the year and the whole New year resolution fad is being talked about. A lot of people tend to set themselves goals to become fit, lost fat etc, in the new year (Lets be honest, the majority quit after a month or two). However, one thing you might want to do, is get into running and a good starter is to build up to your first ever 5km run. For me it’s not so much about how fast you can run the distance but getting the distance done. It’s a great sense of achievement. So I will be giving you tips that I have learnt and done, that helped me build up to my first 5km, early this year. These tips are useful for any distance of running!
- Ease into it
A lot of people who start running want to run everyday because that’s what they think will help them get fit. Whilst it will, as a beginner, it is the worst thing you can do. Firstly, you will get injured very quickly. You haven’t run before or for a long time so your muscles are not prepared for running so you must ease into it. Start with twice a week then increase every so often as you build up. Also, set realistic distances, don’t aim to run the 5km/3miles on your first run, try and run for 15mins on your first go, then build up over time. It’s a PATIENCE GAME.
- Slow runs are most beneficial
There is a lot of misconception about the best running method to build aerobic capacity and anaerobic capacity. To build aerobic capacity, slow long runs will help this. Your aerobic capacity basically helps how long you can run for. Anaerobic is how fast you can run for a period of time, so will benefit the shorter distances, like 1 mile, 2 miles and 3miles. Aim to do 1 or 2 slow long runs a week to build that aerobic capacity.
- Don’t go out fast
Every beginner runner, myself included has always started out too fast. Do not do this, you need to start slow and build up. Going out fast will not achieve you anything apart from you feeling faint and being sick. Get yourself a running watch like Garmin and use the pace timer to help you run at a slow pace such as 11 min/mile or something, not 6.30/mile. Like I said slow runs are better unless you are aiming for a certain time or preparing to compete, then add the speed tempo work.
- Do your stretches & strength work
People don’t realise the impact of strength work and stretches. Strength work builds up the muscles which massively helps you for running. People think that being really thin and not having big muscles is the best way to be when running. This is wrong. Having strong muscles enables you to run longer and further whilst significantly reducing injury risk. So do your strength work. Stretches is also very important. You want to be preparing the muscles to run and cool them down afterwards so they don’t cramp or pull, getting you injured, plus you will become more flexible. I have a post on stretches you should do for barefoot running which is also applicable to general running.
- Follow a plan
Finding a plan may be difficult, I have spent time scouring the internet for a good 5km plan. My advice is to follow aerobic capacity on Instagram, they post all kinds of running workouts for you to do which is hugely helpful. Or if you buy a Garmin watch, you can get access to running plans tailored for you, depending on how often you want to run and your level of ability. I used these when I was use to running and started to feel fit and picked one that I found fun and challenging.
Finally, remember to have fun, don’t think of running as a chore or something you have to do because you will not love it or enjoy it. Therefore not running at your best ability. So if you don’t feel like running either don’t run and do something else or push yourself because you always feel amazing afterwards and you won’t regret it! Do not compare yourself to what you see on the internet, it is your own journey! And make sure you get a good running technique, no heel striking, run on your front foot else you will get injuries and shin splints.
Have you started running or is it a goal in the New Year? Let me know if these tips helped you!
Thanks for reading!