Whether you're a beginner walking a half mile every morning or you're training for a marathon every day after work, there are a simple rules that are essential to increasing your progress. Always remember, life is a marathon...don't sprint! That goes for your workouts as well...create a routine that's sustainable now and in the future, otherwise all you're doing is creating a fad for yourself. Here are a few rules to keep in the back of your head for getting prepared for that 5k.
Just like everything in life, when you commit to something you know you're on the line if it doesn't happen. The same is true with a race. Whether it's just another one to chalk up on your resume or it's your first one, the moment you sign up for it, it's real. And the last person you disappoint is yourself. Committing to the race is half the battle...and once you do your focus and training will be come a reality.
Just like hitting any challenge in your life, you must break it/them down into realistic goals. If you want to throw out a goal to finish in the top 10, good luck...you're throwing out an aspiration. A goal has a realistic set of sub goals and milestones attached to the back of it. For example, if you want to finish in the top 10 of your race, establish a pace that will put you in the top 10 and work backwards. For the month prior to the race, set a goal to average 15 seconds above that pace. Two months prior try to average you goal pace. Three months prior try to get within 15 seconds...continue this trend in order to set milestones.
Hitting these goals are powerful and they are part of the battle. They increase confidence and they allow you to believe in yourself. The more goals you can set and accomplish the better. The hardest part is setting and following through on the first few...do that and you'll be off to a strong start!
Goals are important, but without a program or strategy to execute on them you can get lost in actually achieving them. The program is very specific plan that breaks down diet, sleep, exercise routines, etc. It essentially says HOW do we hit the goals we specified above. These include specific short-term milestones in order to hit your objectives. Within each milestone should be sub-goals including diet and lifestyle changes as necessary. Depending on how ambitious your goals are you may need to increase your sleep schedule and/or remove some or all alcohol.
As much as you want to look cool out there flying back everyone on the track, health is always number 1. Running is not easy on the back or the joints. As the first order of business, get yourself some shoes that will protect your feet. Everyone's feet are different. Different running shoes are specifically created for each style of foot and running style. If you're going to be putting in a lot of training, go to your closest specialty running store and get your feet analyzed. The right shoes can save you a lot of pain in the long run!
Your training program should include a variety of different workouts, different speeds, and rest. Focus on speed work one day then change it up to moderate paced run and then finally a longer slower paced run. Always make sure to find yourself a playlist that's going to keep you amped up. There are plenty of studies out there that show the positive affects music brings to a workout...get the phone set up Spotify, Pandora, etc. or download your favorite playlist. In order to maintain motivation, make sure to not only mix up your music selection, but also to mix up your running routes. New routes and new music is key to keeping your motivation at an all time high. After that it's easy...just RUN!