5 TopTips for preparing for a 5km run
Last week I described how good running can be and the many benefits it has on the body and mind. So, this week I wanted to give some advice on how to get started and run a 5km. Here are 5 Top Tips for preparing for your 5km run.
The right shoes
Running is a relatively cheap form of exercise to get into and you really don’t need any equipment except trainers, but I do suggest you invest in a good pair, for good reason.
So many people have come to me with injuries from running and a large proportion of those injuries can be related back to having trainers that are not suitable for the job. One client of mine had the same pair of trainers for 16 years and wondered why her feet hurt when she ran in them.
Your feet go through a huge amount of work when you run and importantly have your whole body-weight go through them, so it is important to look after them. If your feet are landing incorrectly, the ankle rolls or the arches are collapsed, it can cause further problems up the chain and lead to knee, hip, back and shoulder issues and ultimately stop you from running altogether.
So what trainers should you buy?
There are a huge number of running trainers available to suit all foot types and running styles so it's worth going to a specialist and getting your feet tested and measured so you can get the correct trainers for you. Some of you will need more arch support, some may need more cushioning in the midsole and you won't know what you need until you get expert advice.
The right socks
Aside from a good pair of trainers, I wouldn't underestimate the importance of a quality pair of running socks, especially if you are prone to blisters.
Socks that are cheap and uncomfortable can cause a number of problems as you run and again this may affect the way you run. You can see the theme here of looking after your feet. You can wear what you want on the rest of the body but you have to look after the feet first.
The right fuel and rest
On the build up to a run you should take care of your nutrition and how much rest you have been having. All are contributing factors to how your body performs. Getting ample sleep the night before a run will mean your body is in a well rested condition and therefore your muscles can perform better.
Eating the correct foods to make sure your body has enough energy to perform and crucially to recover and repair after is hugely important.
60 percent of our body is made up of water and it performs a huge number of important tasks needed for running such as body temperature regulation, cushioning and lubricating joints and carrying nutrients around the body.
If you are dehydrated the performance of all of these drops and your ability to complete the task effectively lessens.
As soon as you start running you start dehydrating the body. The temperature of the body rises, so to regulate this and cool you down your body sweats which means you need to increase your water intake to account for this change.
A good warm up
Before running it's important the body is prepared with a thorough warm up. You need to perform a warm up to increase the body temperature gradually, improve circulation and mentally prepare yourself for exercise, all of which may help prevent injury.
I suggest that you perform a series of dynamic warm ups at the beginning of each session, which are like short workouts in themselves to prepare you for exercise. These dynamic movements will increase your heart rate and stimulate muscles and joints, ready for the workout ahead.
Start with some walking for a few mins to start increasing the blood flow around the body and prepare your mind for exercise. After a few mins of walking transition into a gentle jog for a few more mins. After about 5 minutes of walking / running you can perform some dynamic stretches specific to running.
A proper cool down
At the end of a run the cool down is also very important but overlooked by many. Taking the time to gently slow the body down and lower the heart rate rather than come to a sudden stop is good for the heart. Slowly reducing the breathing rate after you exercise helps to return the body to a more balanced state and lowers you into your parasympathetic (rest and relaxation) nervous system.
A cool down also helps to remove waste products and toxins that have built up during exercise. This helps to reduce the muscles soreness you would feel the day after exercise. Start your cool down by returning to a gentle walk for 3-4 minutes. Then perform a selection of static stretches focusing on the muscles you have just worked, holding each one for 30s-60s. And finally add in a few minutes of deep breathing and meditation to calm the body and mind.
All of the above are practical steps you can take to help prepare you physically for a 5km run, however it is also worth remembering that to achieve a successful distance as a beginner to running you need to enjoy it, so start steady, create a good playlist or listen to a podcast you enjoy and choose a route you will like - whether it is a preferred scenic route or a terrain you find more comfortable. Start steady and have fun!
Founder of TONIQ
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