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Start Off on the Right Foot, Get Moving
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​Start Off on the Right Foot, Get Moving

As temperatures climb, you may notice a number of running events popping up in your local community. If your first thought is, “I could never participate in one of those,” do not be so quick to count yourself out. Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and adding a new level of challenge and interest to your exercise program may not be as difficult as you think!

Do not be discouraged by the distance, a 5K is 3.1 miles. You can be well prepared for this in less than two or three months, and the best part is, no prior running experience is necessary!

To reduce the risk of injury, stress or fatigue, 5K training incorporates a mixture of running, walking and resting. Many schedules recommend three days a week a run-walk combo to build up your endurance. For instance, during week one on these days, you might run for 15 seconds and then walk for 45 seconds, repeating for 30 minutes. The exact breakdown varies by training program and your personal health, but the goal is to gradually increase the amount of time running and reduce the amount of time walking. 

Some experts also recommend spending one to two days a week strength or cross training. This can include simple core routines including moves such as modified bicycle, plank,  leg lifts or other floor exercises such as squats or push-ups. These training schedules often suggest completing three sets, doing each move between 45 seconds to one minute, transitioning between movements without rest. Between sets, it is also important to spend one or two minutes recovering. Another option is to work in 20 to 30 minutes of exercise by biking, hiking or swimming. And remember to give your body time to rest and recover throughout the week.

Whether you are a beginner looking to participate in your first race, or ready to take on more distance, there are countless training programs available. Doing the research to find a trusted program that is right for you, and has the flexibility to fit into your daily schedule, will give you the most success in conquering your goal!

Sources: www.shape.com/fitness/training-plans, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/5k-run/art-20050962