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Training for a 5K

I want to participate in a 5K road race, how do I get started?  This is a question lots of my patients ask me during our post surgical exercise visits.  As patients lose weight and engage in regular, consistent exercise they experience increased stamina, strength, and an overall healthier fitness level that helps them realize “I can do anything…even jog!”  Training for a 5K is a great place to start your journey of becoming a runner and it can keep you motivated to stick with your consistent exercise routine.  The typical length of time it takes to go from never running a step to completing a 5K is about 8 weeks.  You also do not have to run 5 days per week, usually 3 days of running and 2 days of cardiovascular cross-training (i.e. elliptical, stair climber, bike, swimming) and strength training are an adequate plan during training.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.  First, find the race you want to participate in; remember to give yourself 8 weeks or so from when you begin.  One of the best resources in the Knoxville area for race schedules throughout the year is the Knoxville Track Club (www.ktc.org).  You also want to be sure you purchase a good supportive pair of running shoes.  I recommend patients, friends, and family members head to Runner’s Market (www.runnersmarket.com; two locations in Knoxville) to have their gait assessed by a professional and be properly fitted for footwear for jogging.  Your feet are the only thing between your body and your jogging surface so you want to treat them well and keep them healthy.  A supportive pair of shoes that fit with your gait is a crucial aspect to keeping your joints and body healthy when performing a high-impact activity like jogging.  Be sure to keep your jogging shoes exclusively for jogging and nothing else.  Also commit to replacing them when they are worn out.  Runner’s Market’s website also has links to Knoxville-area running routes, community group runs (if you want to meet others in the jogging community), and races.  Connecting with a friend and training partner can be a great way to add motivation and support to following through with your goal!

Once you are set with your “Goal Race” and the gear you need to start, you need a plan to follow to train.  I have found a great 8 week training program written by Sage Roundtree, a USA Triathlon Certified Expert Coach and Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, among other accolades.  The Couch to 5K program (complete with an app for your smartphone) is another great training program to use.  Below is Sage’s training program and here is a link to finding a Printable PDF version on the web: http://www.athleta.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/5k-training.pdf.

Click on the hyperlink below to view the eight week training regime.

12_2013 Training for a 5K Race

Remember to listen to your body, follow your nutrition plan as prescribed by our registered dietitians, stay hydrated, and take your vitamins.  Fueling your body well is as important as having a good training program to follow.

Rebecca Johnson, ACE-CPT
Exercise Physiologist

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