How To Prepare Your Body For A 5K
Whether you’ve been jogging for years or just started an exercise routine today, training for any type of marathon is essential for a healthy run. If you’re thinking about signing up for a 5K, we suggest following the guidelines below.
Your body is going to need the right nutrients, both while you’re training and during the 5K itself. If possible, try eating food rich in omega-3's, such as salmon or tuna. It’ll not only support your joints while you’re running, but also promote continued heart health. There are also many supplements on the market with vegetable-based capsules if you prefer a vegetarian option.
Before starting any exercise routine, check with your doctor. Most importantly, make sure that your heart and joint health are both stable enough for running.
Start each exercise session with a leg-swing stretch: Hold onto a sturdy object, stand on your left leg and swing your right leg forward and back. Do this twenty times, then swing your right leg side to side 20 times. Each swing should build until your leg is close to its full range of motion. Repeat with your left leg.1
If you’re a new runner, try to keep your first sessions short. On week one, we suggest sticking to a brisk walk for about 25 minutes a day, with a total of twenty 15-second running bursts interspersed throughout. Try to give yourself at least one day off each week.
After the first couple of weeks, if you’re ready, start increasing your running time to thirty 20-second bursts. Slowly continue to increase your time until you’re running comfortably for about fifty percent of the sessions.
Remember, if at any time you feel faint, slow down to a brisk walk and check with your doctor before continuing your training.
Check In With Yourself
Occasionally, new runners may experience stomach upset in their first few weeks of training. To help maintain your healthy microbiome, we suggest adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.
Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night will help give you the energy necessary to get up and work out. This is especially crucial if you’re not a fan of exercise –– being sleepy and having to do something you don’t enjoy is usually a recipe for disaster.
Even more importantly, a good night of sleep will help produce the growth hormones necessary to keep your muscles working well.2
We all know to bring water with us to the gym or on a hike, but it’s also critical to hydrate before and after your workout. Depending on your body size and type, try to drink around 2 cups of water two hours before you plan to break a sweat.
To make sure you’re hydrating correctly, try to measure yourself before working out, then after. For every pound you lost during exercise, drink 24 ounces of fluid. If you gained weight after, you might have over-hydrated and may want to try drinking a little less water next time.
Keep A Schedule
This is especially important if you’re just starting out. Getting into any new habit takes effort, but it’s even more difficult when you have to push yourself physically. Try to schedule your runs at least a few days beforehand, and treat them like appointments that you can’t reschedule. For extra motivation to stick to your plan, tell a loved one where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing. Their support –– and light social pressure –– will help keep you to your word.
The most important thing to remember when starting any exercise regime is to listen to your body. Make sure to avoid pushing yourself if you’re feeling too uncomfortable, and try to stay as hydrated as possible. With care, training and diligence, you’ll be ready to go for the big 5K day.