More Tips for Training for a 5K

More Tips for Training for a 5K | NSDA Walk for Talk

So it’s week two of training for your 5K as part of the Walk for Talk Benefitting the NSDA. Here’s some advice to keep in the back of your mind.

Do not skip that warm up—In the first email about training for a 5K, I included the importance of warming up your muscles prior to your run/walk combination. A good warm-up will raise your body temperature. As your temperature increases, oxygen becomes more available to your muscles, allowing them to contract and relax more easily. You reduce the risk of a pulled muscle or strain because warm muscles have more elasticity. Your heart also gets to prepare, meaning it won’t be too strained during your 5K training.

Stop if something hurts—In every workout class I teach I tell my friends; the moves aren’t supposed to hurt. It can be difficult to finish, hard to maintain the stamina you need, you may even want to quit, but it should never, ever hurt. So, you might get a minor ache but if in the middle of one of your training sessions you have real pain, listen to your body and stop. Be kind to yourself and take a break. Let your body heal. Even if you end up walking on race day, you did the right thing by your muscles, joints and ligaments.

Training is easier with a friend—There is nothing like the comradery of friends working together toward a common goal. So if you can, ask someone to train with you. He or she can be a novice like yourself, or maybe it’s your fit granddaughter. Ask if they are interested in being your buddy in this journey to a 5K. Maybe they can only be there for your Saturday training or they progress faster than you. The best part is sharing time with someone special while you prepare for your race. Maybe they will even join you on race day, after all it’s free to register. A training buddy also keeps you accountable so you don’t skip workouts, helps you stay motivated and makes working out fun.

Show your feet some love—When your feet are overworked and underappreciated they will start to complain. You might get a blister or a common foot problem like plantar fasciitis. There are things you can do to take care of your feet before, during and after training. Before a run, self-massage your feet, shins and lower legs. You can also place a towel on the floor and move it with only forward and back using only your toes. Make sure you wear good running shoes that fit well. This prevents friction that can cause calluses and blisters. After a run, roll your feet over a ball to message them, making sure you include the balls of your feet and heels. You can even use ice to prevent swelling if you have noticed symptom after a hard training session.

Train in a safe well-lit area—I know I probably don’t have to say this, but make sure that you are training in well-lit safe areas and ideally with that training buddy. We want you to be safe at all times. Keep your phone in a backpack with your water bottle or carry a whistle. We want this to be a positive experience, enough said.

Practice the proper running form— Your unique running mechanics are determined by the strength and flexibility of certain muscles and how your body is built. That means the better your form, the easier running will be. Runner’s World lists the following as important features of the proper form:

  1. Keep your head up and look in front of you and not at your shoes
  2. Don’t tilt your chin up or down, keep it aligned
  3. Keep your ears in line with your shoulder. Your head should not lead the way.
  4. Pull your shoulders back. Hunched shoulders will impact your endurance.
  5. Arms should be at a 90-degree angle. Fists should move from chin to hip to help propel you forward.
  6. Try to keep your hands relaxed.
  7. Keep a tight core and a long spine while running. Your torso should shift toward the same side as the forward leg.
  8. Have a slight lean forward as you run what is coming from your hips (not shoulders). Torso slightly toward the hips.
  9. Your knee should be in line with the middle of your foot so that when your foot strikes the ground, it’s right under your knee.
  10. There’s no right or wrong way for your feet to hit the ground, as long as you’re actually using them to push off (instead of just lifting them).

This seems like a lot of work to master, but good form prevents injury and improves endurance.

Please post pictures on social media with the hashtag #walkfortalk and on the NSDA Walk for Talk page. We can’t wait to see your training pictures and your commentary about training for a 5K. We want to be on of your training buddies too.