Running can be very rewarding, both physically and mentally. There is some debate as to whether ‘running’ is different to ‘jogging’. Traditionally jogging is a slow paced run, or a fast paced walk, however you want to look at it.
I think of them both the same when we’re looking at long distance running. In fact, you may find yourself varying speeds from jogging to almost a run-speed when doing your long distance running.
So, well done for taking the plunge and deciding to do a 5k run. Let me tell you, once done, it’s a great achievement. If you’ve never ran before, you’ll want to start off with short distances, and even run at intervals. Slowly you’ll build up to running 2k, 3k and finally 5k without stopping, and at ease!
Let’s look at a 4 week schedule that will get you prepared for your first 5k run.
Monday: 2k (1 minute running, 30 second rest)
Wednesday: 2k (2 minute running, 30 second rest)
Thursday: 2k (1 minute running, 30 second rest)
Friday: 2k (2 minute running, 30 second rest)
You can plan your routes on websites such as mapmyrun. You need to make sure they are on flat-ish roads with no hills or mountains involved! Week 1 is all interval running which will get you used to just simply running a distance – yes with some rests, but this is OK – you don’t want to push yourself too hard. Your body, and mind, need to ease into this, slowly.
Monday: 3k (2 minute running, 30 second rest)
Tuesday: 2k (5 minute running, 1 minute rest)
Thursday: 3k (5 minute running, 1 minute rest)
This week we’re moving onto the 3k’s, and longer running intervals, ending with a flat out 2k on the Friday. Don’t worry if you do have to stop, just try your hardest to complete the route with no stopping.
Monday: 3k (5 minute running, 30 second rest)
Tuesday: 4k (5 minute running, 30 second rest)
Week 3 has 2 rest days, but much deserved! Here you’ll be doing a flat out 4k on the Thursday.
Monday: 5k (10 minute running, 1 minute rest)
Tuesday: 4k (10 minute running, 1 minute rest)
Week 4 will see you tackling the 5k for the first time, with intervals, and one flat out, finishing off your week nicely.
Find Your Pace, And Run Slower…
Some people when they start running – or jogging, they think they have to run as fast as they can. I’ve found, the best results in long distance running is when you find your optimal pace – what you feel comfortable with, and drop that down even a little more (maybe 5%). This will ensure you endure the route, comfortably, whilst enjoying your running experience. Therefore, you’ll be more likely to do it again! There’s plenty of time to work on speed.
Go With The Flow
Most trainers will advise long distance runners to find a pace and stick with it all the way through the run. I say go with what your heart tells you to do. If you feel like notching it up a gear, go for it. If you feel like slowing down, that’s cool too. I used to speed up for uphills, and take it really easy on downhills. I say listen to your body, and if you feel like a mad dash, go for it!
Don’t Eat For At Least 3 Hours Before Running
If you’ve eaten and then been for a run, you’ll know why. Eat afterwards.
Diet & Supplements
You most probably won’t need to change your diet too much – if you’re already eating healthily. I would just remember that junk food really will affect the way you run, as will alcohol and smoking. Even if you eat junk food or smoke on the weekends, and run in the week, you’ll feel it. As with supplements, some trainers or sports companies recommend things like HGH human growth hormone, or energy tablets to enhance your strength and endurance, but just having a black coffee before a long distance run can be very effective.
Good Luck Future 5k Runner!