For some of you, you may run 5km before even opening your eyes in the morning – in which case, this article probably isn’t for you! For those of you who find running a bit more of a struggle, then it’s best to slowly build up to your first 5km.
First things, first. You’ve gotta get your mindset right.
I LOVE running. Actually, let me clarify that. It’s the feeling after a run that I REALLY love – it makes me feel proud, happy and exhausted all at the same time. The endorphins make me feel like I’m pretty chuffed with myself. Even when I’m doing the run – I kinda enjoy it, its therapeutic and feels like I’m doing good. So why is it, knowing all that, I still sometimes get the feeling before a run that I don’t want to do it?
It entirely comes down to mindset, it’s because it’s more physical effort than collapsing in-front of the TV.
So, the first thing I’d suggest is to write down right now WHY you want to get to your first 5km. What is your driving force? Do it now, whether it’s taking out your phone and writing it in a note, or actually writing it down in a diary or book, just write it down. Capture your current mindset – you’ll need to remind yourself at some point why you’re doing it!
Then, when you inevitably get that feeling that you can’t be bothered to run, go and look at why you want to achieve this goal. Remember what’s really driving you. Once you’ve done that, we’ve got your starting block.
What awesome gear should you wear?
You want to look the part, right? You want those funky looking shoes, with some matching headphones and screw it- some matching socks too! Whilst a lot of these items might look like they’re just for show – there is actually purpose behind them.
The most important thing you’ll need are a good pair of running shoes. Some shops in the UK will offer a service where they look at the arch of your foot, and tell you which shoes are suited to your specific feet. You’ll want shoes with good flexibility, and good cushioning. Running is a high impact sport – so you want your shoes to take some of that impact!
Then for the women – for many, on a par with the importance of the shoes – a well fitting running bra. Whilst I’m not well versed in this area – I’m assured by Jenny that without a good running bra, your boobs will be hurting like a bitch after! A well fitted bra should keep them snug to your body and prevent any kind of chaffing.
Probably next most important are running socks. A good pair of running socks will allow your feet to “breathe” and can be the difference between getting blisters and not. Blisters are horrid things which can set your running back weeks.
Then I would say your headphones are important. For me, I REALLY don’t like running without headphones, it’s what keeps me going on a run – being able to just zone into the rhythmic beats of my blissful drum and bass or electro swing. I find if I use wired headphones when running I end up getting through headphones like there’s no tomorrow. So I like to use a good pair of water resistant (sweat resistant) Bluetooth headphones.
Then when it comes to shorts and t-shirt etc, the lighter, more shiny type material is designed to whip the sweat off you and allow proper airflow. Which means you don’t end up overheating so quickly in the hot months!
Now you’re looking awesome and totally pumped – you can now get your arse off the coach.
So, you’re pumped, you know why you want to get to the 5km, well done – that IS the first step, the next thousands of steps to actually run your 5km are much smaller and easier steps – trust me.
1) Get off the sofa and start moving, but start it with stretches. You need to stretch – especially if you’re someone trying to get your first 5km. Do some mobility exercises, a lot of leg stretches and open up the hip joint.
2) Then before you actually start your jog – go for a brisk walk to get your heart rate up, muscles warmed and synovial fluid ready to protect your joints.
3) On your first jog – only run for as far as you can at a sensible pace (that’s one that doesn’t half kill you to do!). Then walk for as far as you can toward 5km. If you can, intersperse the walk with some running. It doesn’t matter how quickly you do it, the important thing is you’re doing it.
4) Once you’ve got your first run under your belt, start to improve on it. Next time you go out for your run, which should be a few days after that first bit of jogging – try and do a bit further than you did first time. It’s a simple as that.
5) Try and go for a few jogs per week. At first, you may find after your first jog, your legs ache like hell. Especially if you’re not used to it. Once you start running more though, the recovery time will be quicker. So, at first it may be a case of doing 1 or 2 runs a week, but try to get to at least 3 a week – then you’ll see the progress really start to show!
6) After a couple of weeks of simply trying to get a bit further and further with the run each time, mix things up. If you’re doing 3 runs a week, make the goal different for each. For the first run, see how long you can run for (don’t worry about speed). For the second run see how quickly you can do a set distance in – 1km say. Then the third run see if you can do the distance you did in the first run, but a little bit quicker (don’t worry about beating the distance, just the time you do it in).
7) Then in the following week, you’ll set a new further distance at the beginning of the week. You’ll find it gets easier and easier over time, and you’ll eventually be able to run 5km without stopping.
Good luck with your running journey! I hope you found this helpful. Keep me updated on how it goes!