There are countless reasons why people choose to run, including personal goals, stress relief, camaraderie, or competitive racing.
After getting through a long workweek, I often look forward to my relaxing Sunday bike rides on the trails around town. Recently, I’ve noticed an abundance of runners on the trails, too. This can only mean one thing... running season is about to begin!
There are countless reasons why people choose to run, including personal goals, stress relief, camaraderie, or competitive racing. Regardless of the reason why, it is important to properly prepare your body for the physical and mental stresses of running, especially if you are just starting out or coming back from a hiatus. With proper training and running attire, you will have a more enjoyable experience, with less chance for injuries and more likelihood to continue running in the future.
Even though I’ve been riding my bike, I know that I’ll personally have to start slow with my transition to running comfortably again. The concept of progressive overload, as it pertains to running, is based on gradually increasing the intensity of your training workouts to better prepare yourself for your personal goals.
Setting a goal time or distance for running is one way to do it, but one of the more popular ways to accomplish a goal is to participate in an organized running event like a 5K, which is just over three miles long. With so many local 5Ks scheduled over the upcoming months, this is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of them. Not only do you usually get a new T-shirt and medal for your accomplishments, but you are also surrounded by others with similar goals in a fun environment.
Completing a 5K may seem like a daunting challenge, but you can develop the skills you’ll need to succeed. Training programs, like Couch to 5K, are based on the progressive overload concept to prepare you for the physical and mental demands of running. As a high-school track coach and personal trainer, I can’t emphasize enough that you should add stretching and core strength training to further enhance your skill set.
Although some runners are able to follow the Couch to 5K nine-week training program exactly as designed, it’s important to listen to your body and to make adjustments as necessary. When opting for running for time versus distance, I prefer the time option. One of the biggest advantages of training for time is the ability to complete your workout anywhere, without needing to run on a track or other pre-measured route. As you steadily adapt to running for time, you will notice improvements in your distance due to your improved pace and recovery.
There are many training options available for you to get involved with running, but Couch to 5K training can get you started in the right direction. The first two weeks of the program are manageable for runners of all levels, but it is beneficial to repeat and even modify some of the progressions in order to develop a level of comfort prior to completing the next phase. The last thing that you want to do is get injured during your training by progressing too quickly. Give your body a chance to adapt properly.
Running season will come and go, but your health is in it for the long haul. The best advice I could offer is to have fun, be safe, get some running buddies, or join a local running group, and hopefully I’ll see you out on the trail one day!
Dom Calpe is a certified personal trainer at BeFIT Health Studio in Lake Mary. Dom is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys surfing, biking, inline skating, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.
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