“Training for your first 5K” – Originally published on HealthForHappiness.in. This is an edited version.
For beginners, it’s not always important to run at a steady pace or maintain a particular speed. In fact, just the act of running will naturally improve this aspect in amateurs and those who have just started. However, if you have come through that phase already and are ready to tackle your first 5K, then you need to train harder to make an impact on your debut.
To reach the next level and to really make an impact on your speed, it’s crucial to train in the right way and develop speed. For one, stronger muscles will be able to respond to the exertion better, and with increased flexibility and agility, your running form will naturally result in higher speed while training for your first 5K. Building your muscle and core strengthen is hard work, but if you aim to compete in races, it’s the bridge that must be crossed.
Running is a form of plyometrics. Simply, put it is a jumping exercise, and doing plyometrics specifically develops the jumping element in running. Try doing a round of plyometric exercises such as squat jumps or sumo squat jumps. In addition you could try jumping jacks, box jumps, burpees, knee-tuck jumps and skipping, which are improving your response time for certain movements, such as the lift-off from the ground or your landing. You won’t even realise how much it will improve your running times on your first 5K.
To truly enhance your pace, it’s vital to set a target in your head. An ideal target for those serious about competing for time is 30 minutes for the first 5K. Through mobiefit RUN’s Pro 5K program, we have guaranteed a 30-minute finish for the 5K distance, even for beginners.
Thanks to our in-house variation of the C25K program, we are able to train you from scratch with a super effective combination of walk-runs (in the very beginning), continuous runs, tempo runs, interval runs, fartleks and long runs. Learn from the tips provided by Milind Soman, one of India’s Ironman triathletes and the mobiefit RUN in-app fitness icon.
Light weight lunges
Lunges help you get better balance and improve your foot placement in situations where you are stretching. By adding weights you are making the balancing act even more difficult, which will give you a formidable centre in your posture when running. With feet hip-width apart, step forward with a long stride. Lower your upper body straight down, and shift your weight backward, while extending your forward leg. You should feel the tension in your hamstring and knee muscles. Return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg. Do about 10 reps with each leg. The lunge mimics the airborne position of running or sprinting and helps you stretch those crucial hip flexors, which are vital to gaining speed.
While squats chiefly work on the glutes, depending upon the variation you choose, it can also be an effective workout for your quadriceps, hip muscles, and calves, which will play a vital role in giving you that pace and speed. A particular variation that provides a great stretch to the inner thighs while working your hips, thighs and butt is the lateral squat. Essentially a combination of a squat and a lateral lunge, this stationary routine is excellent for toning the legs and improving overall balance.
A strong core helps you ward off injuries, by maintaining the crucial balance between your upper and lower body and aiding coordination. Core workouts such as planks, crunches, Spiderman pushups and hip rotations will enable your body to get stronger. Do the planks after your run to cool down and add more strength to those crucial abdominal muscles. You don’t even need to step out of the home to do these.
Throw in some basic dumbbells into the mic for an ever harder core workout. What dumbbells do is not just make your core stronger, but also work on your arms which play a crucial role in helping you build speed, and maintain momentum. Your arms will be swinging lightly throughout your run and over time, with weak arms it becomes harder to maintain shape or speed. So check out these light weight core workouts that we can recommend for all beginners
Step aerobics is more than seeing how fast you can run up and down off a certain height. With a well-rounded program you can manage your weight, tone muscles and even burn up to 10 calories a minute. Regular sessions on the step will provide both cardiovascular and muscular endurance, which translates to faster times over a longer period! The only hurdle in step exercises is getting the actual accessory i.e the step. If you have a gym membership, you will have easy access to one.
Of course these five are just the tip of the iceberg for your first 5K. Through daily runs, your cadence and rhythm will improve automatically. However, for real improvements, you have to couple some of the above drills with strength training with some light weights or gym equipment. That’s what will take you to the next-level of running.