If you’re like me, and have never been much of a runner, the thought of signing up to a 5km fun run does not seem ‘fun’ at all. Despite my lack of prior running enthusiasm or training, I am challenging myself to complete my first ever 5km running event. Like all you other non-runners out there, the thought of it is daunting to me, however I have developed strategies of my own to motivate and support myself through the training. Hopefully these tips can help you to complete your first running event!
1. Download some good tunes
Music is motivating!! Download some upbeat, fast-paced songs that will get you in the mood for a good run. Music is not only motivating, but it distracts your mind, allowing you to run further or faster than you would have otherwise without music. If you aren’t sure what tunes to download, there are loads of playlists online.
2. Fuel your body with protein
When you exercise you get little tears in your muscle fibres which require protein to heal them. Be sure to consume different sources of protein throughout the day such as lamb, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, quinoa, tempeh, natural yoghurt, cheese and brown rice. It’s a good idea to have a protein shake such as Synd X powder straight after your run to replenish your muscles.
3. Consistency is key
There’s not much point going for a run and then taking two weeks off (unless you have an injury). You need to be consistent in your training. Look at your schedule for the week, and lock in 2-3 times that you can train, to build up your fitness and prepare your body for the run. Write these in your diary and commit to them. It is best to start training 4-8 weeks before your running event if possible.
4. Stay hydrated
You lose a lot of water through sweat when you go for a run. For this reason, your water requirements increase with exercise. Be sure to drink water before your run, after your run and consistently throughout the day to ensure you are adequately hydrated. If your urine is dark yellow you haven’t had enough water!
5. Mind over matter
You know that feeling when you’re running and your brain keeps telling you that you are tired and need to stop? Well, it’s all in your mind! Your body is physically capable of running, but your brain tries to convince you otherwise. As you’re running, keep telling yourself positive affirmations like “I can do this”, “I am strong”, “I am motivated”. You will be surprised how much a simple change in attitude can improve your training ability.
6. Get mineralised
All that sweat you’re losing on your run isn’t just water and toxins- you’re losing minerals too! Magnesium is the key mineral to note here as it is required for healthy muscles and can can help to ease muscle cramps and spasms. Try adding Magnesium Ultrapotent Powder into your training regime.
7. Focus on your breathing
When you’re running, it is important to focus on your breathing. If you are breathing in and out too fast, you won’t be getting enough oxygen into your body and your muscles. Everyone has a different breathing pattern, but I find that breathing in for 3 counts through my nose, and out for 3 counts through my mouth helps to control my breathing and prevent getting a stitch.
8. Don’t overdo it at the start
A very common mistake when embarking on a run is to go really hard at the start. The problem is, you can’t maintain this fast pace and you end up fatigued and have to walk the rest of the way. I find that it’s much better to start off with a slow, steady pace that I can maintain consistently to complete the distance.
9. Run with a friend
It’s a lot easier to take a short cut or to walk the whole way if you aren’t being held accountable by anyone. I find it great to go running with a friend as you can motivate each other and run just that little bit further than you would have if you went alone.
Finally, keep your eye on the prize! The early morning starts, the breathlessness, the sore legs, the sweat and even tears will all be worth it on race day when you cross that finish line! You have set yourself a challenge and you are going to achieve that.