Become a Runner and Train for a 5K

Looking to increase your fitness, without spending lots of time or money? Consider running!

While marathoning may not be in your future, working up to a 5K is a reasonable goal.

According to Dr. Eric Chehab, a physician with Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, “Running is a terrific cardiovascular exercise, one of the best. Secondly, it’s a weight-bearing exercise, which is critical for bone health, and increasing density, which has tremendous lifelong benefits.”

Running can be done anywhere, requires little equipment, is a great social outlet and gets you outside in all weather.

How to Start?
Volunteer or cheer on a friend at one of the many running races in the area. Notice all the different ages, body types, sizes, and abilities. Running is accessible to almost everyone. Talk with your doctor before adding running to your program and start with a base of aerobic fitness from walking. Set a goal of completing a 5k to support a good cause, and recruit a friend to join you. Allow yourself at least 8 weeks to prepare.

Combine walking with running to start, and gradually increase your running time. This allows your muscles to strengthen and adapt to the stress, prevents injuries, and makes running enjoyable. Run for time rather than distance. Dr. Chehab recommends running on a track to start, so you don’t get too far away from home if you need to stop.

1. Start each workout with a functional warm up, which warms your muscles and helps prevent injuries. Walk for 10 minutes to complete your warm up.

2. Begin a series of five 1-minute run intervals, alternating with 1-minute walk intervals. (i.e. Run for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute, and complete 5 times.)

3. End the workout with another 10-minute walk. Try this same workout 2 or 3 times for the first week.

When your body adjusts, increase the total running time to 8 or 10 minutes with 2 – 3 minute running intervals. Gradually increase the total run time to 20 or 30 minutes over 8 weeks. Walking breaks lengthen the workouts and allow for recovery between run intervals.

Keep your running pace comfortable and shuffle, with your foot landing under your body rather than out in front of you. Stay upright, with your eyes focused on the horizon. Relax your face, arms and upper body. Your arm swing should be back and forth rather than across your body.

Join the legions of fit runners with this slow, sensible approach to the sport. Once you have experienced the ease of running, and the amazing fitness benefits—you will be hooked. Cross the finish line of a 5K and it’s official, you are a runner.

Need a goal? Join our Susan G. Komen team and run either the 10K or 5K with us. Also, if you’re already running, support GLASA’s upcoming GLASA 5K Twilight Run/Walk/Roll.

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