From couch to your first 5K, you can do it

On a daily basis I am in the business of encouraging people to become something they claim they are not.  As the owner of a local running store, I am often confronted with the disclaimer from customers that they are looking for a new pair of running shoes, but they are not a “runner”.  It usually turns out that after a few minutes of conversation about their current training and their goals; they actually are what they claim not to be.  A runner.

Even if you are not quite there yet, with some focus and a little bit of determination you can also become a runner.  More often than not the limitations we place on ourselves are what hold us back.    Take for example a 5K race (3.1 miles), it requires very little build-up, the training doesn’t consume your life and its over fairly quickly.  By getting in three to four runs a week; you can be ready to toe the start line at a local 5K in just around five weeks.  I feel there are several key things new runners should do in order to stay motivated, healthy and get to the finish line.

  •  First of all, pick a race and sign up. Setting a date at least five weeks out gives you the proper lead-time and allows you to correctly pour the foundation.  The motivational factor of having something looming on the calendar will also get you out of bed every morning.
  • Slowly increase your mileage; your body needs time to adapt to the increased activity.  You want to first focus on the amount of time you can run at one time, endurance comes before speed.  Build up to at least the distance of your race; most experts agree to go a little beyond.  Going beyond the race distance will give you some more strength and confidence on race day.
  •  Listen to your body, if you are a little sore take it easier the next day or switch running days.  Recovery days are very important with any running program.  Be sure to hydrate, stretch (post run) and get plenty of rest.  Also make sure you bookend all workouts with an easy five to ten minute warm-up and cooldown. Just a few minutes of post-run maintenance will keep you going.
  • Finally, find a training partner or group; accountability is a great motivating factor.  Knowing that someone is waiting for you will keep you consistent and vice versa.  Join a running group or run at a locale where others exercise.  In my experience, I always become more fit and have better training when I run with people who are at my level or slightly faster/stronger.  It’s very important to get out of your comfort zone.

Always remember the number one goal is to have fun.  Don’t get too focused on your finish time, it’s a race against yourself.  The progress that you have made is the most valuable part of the whole journey.  Get to the finish line and have a great experience.  One of the greatest joys of my job is having customers come back and seeing their satisfaction from reaching their goals.  From one runner to another, I can attest that you will catch the bug and want to do it again.

Daniel Brass is the Owner and Head Runner @ Black Dog Running Company, The Grand Strand’s Specialty Running Store. He is always happy to talk running, along with giving encouragement and training advice.
The store is located inside the Sport’s Corner, downtown Myrtle Beach and on the web @ www.blackdogrunning.com
843.685.5637

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