Now What? What to do after you run a 5K

 

I know a lot of people who have had great success with the Couch to 5k program. It is structured, it is easy to understand, and it produces results. I think a lot of people love and complete this program, then fall off the face of the running earth so to say because they just don’t know what to do next. Well, you are in luck. I am going to offer you a few (of many) options for you after your initial 5k glorious runner’s high wears off.

Now What?

1.) Complete the couch to 10k program. Oh yes my friends. Lovers of the 5k program will be happy to know there is also a 10k version! Double the distance? Sure! why no right? You can do ANYTHING you set your mind to do!

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2.) Work on your strength. I found after running a few races that while my legs were getting stronger, the rest of my body was well…squishy. I decided to start lifting weights 3-4 times a week and I can definitely tell a difference in the shape of my body, and I think my overall strength is helping my running, and helps prevent so many injuries. Not to mention, I like flexing. Just kidding…kind of.

3.) Work on your flexibility. The same constant running motion can do a number on your body, specifically your hips. I have very tight hips and found that adding yoga into my routine to stretch out and get more flexible has helped with post run soreness and the amount of injuries I tend to get. More yoga = less injuries for me. I still feel awkward and odd in class, but I have gotten over caring about how I look because I know it’s helping me! No I can’t even touch my toes.

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4.) Stop running. This is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Some people just don’t like running and would rather participate in crossfit, yoga, or a team sport after completing their 5k. That’s ok! It’s not for everyone, so don’t let anyone make you feel bad if this is your choice. Just keep moving.

5.) Sign up for another 5k. While I am sure you are pleased with your time, most people’s next thought after finishing their race is “could I run that faster?” Why not! Sign up for another 5k and set an attainable time goal. You have already done it once so you know what to expect. The next one won’t be so scary. Cross my heart.  If a 5k is as far as you ever run, that is FINE! Keep running them (luckily there are usually plenty of local ones) and work on your speed and your form. Oh, and buy cute running outfits.

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6.) Take the plunge and sign up for half marathon. A lot of people love the 5k and go straight to the half marathon distance (with training, of course!) if you loved your 5k and training and want more more more, then keep running! SLOWLY add more mileage every week, and after a few weeks decide if signing up for a half marathon is for you. I love signing up for a race because then I know I have to train and keep on running, I already paid for the race.

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*Please note I do not recommend going from a 5k or 10 straight to a marathon without ever running a half. I know some people do it but I personally just don’t think it’s a good idea.

Whatever it is you do, don’t stop working out!! Keep moving no matter what your fitness passion or goal may be. Don’t forget to look back and smile at how far you have come! Remember, no matter how slow you run, you are lapping everyone on the couch.

QOTD: How did your running progression go? 5k to 10k? 5k to no more running? Share!

*Guest post call! I am in need of original content for guest posts! Needed by next Tuesday night. Please  email me if you are interested. [email protected]

Back to My Roots: Tips for Beginners

 

So, some of you may have seen this post on Twitter yesterday.

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Sigh. I was so ready for a nice, relaxing massage, and instead I spent an hour talking to someone who obviously knew NOTHING about running, but asking me a million questions. Was I annoyed? Heck yes! I paid money to relax! Not explain what a GPS watch is to you!

When I got home, I started doing some thinking. Was it wrong and very annoying what she did? Of course, BUT, at the same time, here was someone obviously very wowed by my running knowledge, eagerly wanting more info and tips. She actually jokingly (I think!) asked me to be her running coach. She also told me she would hate to see me kick someone as she was rubbing my calves. Is it weird that I took this as a major compliment by the way?

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Anyway, here I was thinking “how can she not know what a Garmin watch is?” and “is she seriously asking me how I am supposed to know how far I have run “are there like, marks in the road that tell you?” As I began to feel slightly proud and cocky, I was immediately put in my place when I remembered that there was once a time when I didn’t know the answers to those questions.

How silly of me to assume that everyone knows how to get rid of a side cramp, and how you know what kind of shoes you need. To the “normal” world, these are not common knowledge issues. I do so much reading and research every day, it has become so easy for me to forget that everyone has to start from somewhere, and learn as they go.

So, I have decided to go “back to my roots” shall we say, and go over some things I wish I knew in the beginning but didn’t know.

GPS Watch/Garmin: These handy watches are amazing and it is my favorite piece of gear. They work via satellite and track your distance, pace, time, elevation, etc. Then you can plug it up to your computer and download your info to have for a training log, comparisons, etc. There are also phone apps for this purpose as well.

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(wearing my Garmin)

GU/Chomps: When I first started running I had no need for this as I was just running 3-4 miles at a time. When I got up to six miles I realized I needed to start using something for fuel. I was scared to try GU, the consistency seemed nasty, but now they are my BFF and I love trying the different flavors. I can’t do the chomps (if I can help it) because they get stuck in my teeth. The GU is easy to “suck down” when I see a water stop up ahead.

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How to start training: If you are starting from scratch, I highly recommend the couch to 5k program. I have not done it myself but know people who have been very successful with it. We all start from somewhere, even if it’s your couch. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Sweat Wicking: You don’t want to run in cotton! It gets very heavy when you sweat and doesn’t feel good. Invest in some dri fit/sweat wicking workout clothes that wick moisture away from your body. I of course recommend running skirts for workout gear!

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Log your workouts: It can be dailymile.com., or writing workouts in a journal, but keep track of what you do, and how you felt. That way you can look back to see how far you have come, what conditions you run best in, time of day, etc.

Body Glide: go buy some. You will thank me later when you don’t have burns and rashes all over and your friends do.

Walk Breaks: are perfectly normal. I hate that there is a stigma that if you walk during a run or a race you aren’t really a runner. I have done some experiments, and I actually race FASTER when I take a 20 second walk break every 7  minutes or so after I hit mile 8 of a half marathon. True story. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you need to walk every now and then.

Rest: Being too ambitious in the beginning can get you burnt out or injured. Your body NEEDS rest days to recover and rebuild to make you stronger. Don’t forget to cross train as well. Build strength all over, and not just from running.

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These are by NO MEANS all the tips there are, these are just a few off the top of my head I wish I had know starting out (and some my masseuse asked me!) As always, if you have ANY specific questions, please feel free to comment here or e mail me at [email protected]. I love hearing from readers!

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Also wanted to add…I ran my FIST MILE since Thanksgiving Day today! It felt good! I took it slow, but ran the whole thing. I’m coming back! YAY!

QOTD: What is a running tip you wish you knew when you first started?

-Also of interest: This post I wrote on beginner running injuries.