July 12, 2023

 

There will be days when it is hard to stay motivated, and that is normal! Motivation ebbs and flows.

May is behind us, but that does not mean that race season is over. Fall is a runner’s paradise — there are countless races to choose from across your city and state.

For some of us, running a race may feel like a stretch. The good news — there is plenty of time to hit your running goals before fall.

Welcome to part one of our Couch to 5K series. This three-part series will follow our content marketing manager, Josh, on his training journey — culminating at the finish line of the Monumental Marathon on October 28.

Whether it has been a while since you have gone out for a run, or you just want to gear up for the next race on your bucket list – follow along from the couch to the finish line.

Background

No matter your goal, your training plan must start with a realistic look at where you are today. I sat down with Josh to lay the foundation for the race this fall.

What brought you to decide to want to train for a 5K? What are your motivators?

Josh: I used to be a relatively consistent runner. During the pandemic I fell off and became relatively stagnant. I would love to get back to a point where I can build running into my exercise repertoire and find a sense of accomplishment and fun in it. My main motivator is that sense of accomplishment and a desire to be back where I once was.

Tell me about your goals for the Monumental 5K. What are you hoping to achieve?

Josh: As I think about the Monumental 5K, my main goal is to finish at a steady pace. Ideally, I would like to average around a seven-minute mile. But if I maintain a consistent pace throughout the race and do not have to pause to walk, I will be happy.

Talk to me about where you are at activity-wise.

Josh: My current activity level is lower than I would like it to be. I take long walks with the dogs consistently, but exercise is often the first thing to fall off my priority list. I have run a few 5Ks in the past, but today I know that even gearing up to run a mile feels like a challenge.

What concerns do you have?

Josh: My main concern is building a training plan that does not leave me in pain. I struggle with aches and pains and muscle tightness due to a high school back injury. If running makes me uncomfortable throughout the day, it will be hard for me to stay motivated to continue. I tend to go from zero to one hundred when it comes to training and then I end up sore and quitting again.

How much time do you realistically have to train?

Josh: I think I could run three days a week and then also build in some light workouts on off days.

Before You Run

One of the quickest ways to derail your race goals is to just step outside and hit the pavement. Here are a few things to consider before you run.

Proper shoes and attire (test before race)

Ask almost any runner and you will hear the importance of properly fitted running shoes. Check out a local running store, where you can get fitted with the right shoes for your foot type.

Proper attire is just as important. Whether you are training in the heat of summer or the chill of winter, the proper clothing can be crucial to help you continue running long-term. When searching for running gear, opt for moisture wicking clothing instead of cotton.

Fitting training into your schedule

Spend some time planning how and when to fit in your workouts. A little planning can go a long way. Think about and name the obstacles that usually get in the way of consistency. Create a plan to overcome those obstacles should they pop up (they will).

Listen to your body

In the beginning, a new workout routine plan can be exciting, and it is easy to get carried away and overdo it. Increase your mileage gradually. While initial soreness is normal, injuries can occur if your training load is too much.

A good way to prevent injury is cross-training. Cross training like cycling or swimming is a great way to keep up your endurance with less impact on your joints.

Keep your goals and mental health in mind

Spend some time thinking about the goals you have for yourself. Having goals and knowing your “why” can help you dig deep when motivation is low.

There are going to be days where you just do not feel motivated — that that is normal! Motivation ebbs and flows. Oftentimes, the last thing we want to do after a tough day is move our body, but it is a great way to boost our mental health.

Prioritize sleep and eating right (fuel)

Proper food and sleep are vital fuel for your body during training. Since you will be moving your body more than usual, it is important to make sure you are eating well-rounded meals and getting enough calories. Check out this great article from Runner’s World on proper fueling for running.

Sleep is when our body repairs itself! So, sleeping the recommended 7-9 hours is crucial in repairing sore muscles.

Finding a training plan

The final step is to build a training plan and start the hard work. There are many plans to choose from to prepare for an upcoming race. I will be working with Josh using some of the resources below:

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/5km/a760067/six-week-beginner-5k-schedule/

https://www.runnersworld.com/training/

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/beginners/a772727/how-to-start-running-today/

https://www.runnersworld.com/beginner/a40267826/couch-to-5k-runners-program/

https://www.nike.com/running/5k-training-plan

 

Check out part 2 of this series here.

Weekly Recipe

Balsamic Steak Skewers with Mixed Vegetables and Grilled Sweet Potatoes