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Running 101: Let’s Do a 5K

You’ll be running the Galveston Seawall in no time with these running tips from Fit Tri Run!

No matter what distance you have in sight, the most important step is taking the first step. There is no reason to feel intimidated by beginning a running program. This article is meant to act as only a guideline and to provide basic recommendations. It is best to consult with running coaches and/or find a running club in your area for guidance, assistance, and support. (If you are in or around Galveston, contact us!)  Enjoy the journey on your feet!

Here are the basics of getting started with a running program:

  •  Make certain that you are in good physical condition to begin. It is best to obtain medical clearance from your doctor.
  •  Make sure you get the right running shoes for your foot type! This is extremely important for injury prevention as well as comfort. Visit your  local running store (us) and be fitted properly. Don’t cheat yourself on this smart investment – it could be the one issue that will help you continue or stop you in your tracks.
  •  Make sure you are properly hydrated (water) before, during and after. Sport drinks are not necessary before these workouts– that just provides unnecessary calories at this time. Hydration is important all of the time – not just when it’s hot outside. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to drink. You should take a few sips of liquids every 15-20 min of exercise. Your body needs this fluids for basic functions. You also lose these fluids through respiration and perspiration. When you train your body to use the liquids you consume during the short distances, your body will better be able to handle and use the fluids in the longer distances.
  • Clothing: avoid cotton and jean materials when running or walking for fitness. Cotton absorbs and retains sweat. These materials can also cause irritation and chaffing. When possible, purchase “technical” clothing – clothing made for running. It breathes, it dries quickly, and it will not cause skin breakdown.
  • Women should invest in a good sports bra. No cotton bras. With the right bra, you should only need 1 bra at a time – regardless of your cup size. Your bra should not have a birthday nor cause chaffing. Visit us to be properly fitted.
  • Socks: avoid cotton for the same reasons as above. Technical socks made for running will keep your feet dry – even in the hottest of weather. You should not experience “hot spots” on your feet, nor should your feet become blistered, callused or wrinkled after you exercise – if they are, consider new socks
  • Before you start your workouts, make sure you “warm up” your muscles by walking briskly for 5-10 minutes and or skip, hop, jump a little. Do not stretch cold muscles. Only stretch after you have warmed up and increased your heart rate somewhat. Always end your workout with a “cool down” (lesser intensity walk, run, or jog) and stretch gently for 5-10 minutes.

Choosing the right running program

There are many programs and recommendations available for running. If you are not currently a runner, I strongly recommend following a slow, progressive program. The program below is condensed for those doing a “couch to 5K in 12 weeks”. If you have more than 12 weeks, modify this program and increase your running time by 1 minute at a time. Doing too many miles too soon or going too fast too soon is an invitation for injury or complications. Take it slowly and patiently. Allow your body to become a fat-burning machine. Running can be for life if you approach it smartly.

  • WEEK 1: walk for 6 minutes, then jog at an easy pace for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times. Try to do this at least 3 different days during this first week. Just do the best you can.
  • WEEK 2: walk for 5 minutes, then jog for 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Try to do this at least 3 days this week. Remember to stretch when you finish.
  • WEEK 3: walk for 3 minutes, then jog for 4 minutes. Repeat 4 times. Try to do this 4 days this week!
  • WEEK 4: walk for 2 minutes, then jog for 5 minutes. Repeat 4 times. Do this 4 days this week.
  • WEEK 5: walk for 2 minutes, then jog for 8 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Do this 4 days this week!You’re doing great and look how far you’ve come! Don’t forget to smile…it makes your body feel better.
  • WEEK 6: walk for 2 minutes, then jog for 9 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Do this 4 days this week.
  • WEEK 7: walk for 1 minute, then jog for 11 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Do this 4 days this week. Try not to make these days consecutive. Whoohoo!! Be proud of your accomplishment!
  • WEEK 8: Repeat week 7 workout. Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 11 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Try to do this 4 days this week. Give yourself rest days. Doesn’t this seem easier than last week? Great job!
  • WEEK 9: Warm up by walking briskly, jogging a few seconds, then walking again – do this for 5 minutes. Then jog for 15 minutes. Then cool down by walking briskly for 5 minutes more. Try to do this 4 days this week.
  • WEEK 10: You can do it!! Walk fast/ jog a few seconds for 5 minutes. Then jog/run for 20 minutes. Then cool down by walking fast for 5 minutes.  Do this 4 days this week.
  • WEEK 11: Increase the challenge! Warm up for 5 minutes by walking fast/ jogging for a few seconds. Jog/run for 30 minutes, then cool down by walking fast for 5 more minutes. Try to do this 4 days this week. Stretch after each run.
  • 12. WEEK 12: Repeat week 11. This should feel easier and you may be able to run faster.
  • CONGRATULATIONS!! Do you agree that the hardest part was taking the first step? If this is race day, just have fun! It’s all about the journey to the finish line. Walk when you need to walk. Try to focus on breathing deeply and regularly. Live in the moment. Get to know the people around you. Running can be beneficial physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.  Good luck! We hope to see you on a course one day soon.

Kimberly Bachmeier is co-owner of Fit TRI Run. She is a former Occupational Therapist, a certified Run Form Coach, has her Specialist in Fitness Nutrition Certification, teaches group fitness classes, and is the Organizer of USA FIT Galveston.