The 5K is an introductory distance. It is the most empowering distance that gives a person a sense of accomplishment and curiosity as to what could be next in their athletic ambitions. It is a distance that takes more perseverance to achieve equal to that of a marathon. Yes. I said it. A 5K is as difficult to achieve as a marathon. Why? Because running is hard! So if you have ever tried to get into running and after about getting to two miles you think eff this! You are not alone. If you want some encouragement to get past that 5K, push through a 10K and find your self loving half marathons, I’m here for you.
I forgot how difficult it is to get to a 5K. Once you run for a while, 3 miles seems like a warm up. Then you take too much time off and well, starting over is the only place to begin. My current inspiration is drawn from my mom, my friend Gwen, and others who have reached out to share with me their achievement of their first 5K. Heck, my mom had a PR in CROCKS, yes Crocks shoes. I am overwhelmed with acknowledging that my love of running has inspired others and now, as I remember how to get back out there, you inspire me. Thank you. So here is where I remembered to begin and how I got back into the love of my own 5K glory.
1. Love your gear. Be comfortable in your clothing. shoes, and equipment. People tend to just “make do” and feel guilty for wanting gear. I say hogwash! If you feel comfortable, you are confident, you are ready to keep going. Warning, you may find yourself changing your favorite gear as you change up your running levels. I started out loving yoga pants, t-shirts, a ponytail, and an arm band for my phone. Little by little my clothing preferences changed to tights, tank tops, a bun, and a belt.
2. Run to your own beat…or find a program to help you explore your style. I tend to just get out there and run. But getting back into my happy pace included a lot of excuses to keep me on the couch. Adam and I decided to start with a Couch2-5K program. This helped us with accountability, a schedule, and getting into a habit. One morning, after a few weeks using the app, we hit 3.1 miles using a walk-run method and my body yearned to pick up the pace for another half an hour. It was then I knew I had found my happy pace again. Ultimately, I eased back into my three days a week schedule.
3. Listen to your body but know that your mind is usually the one who entices sedentary behavior. The battle is REAL between your fit and your lazy self. So encourage the fit self to be stronger than the little voice that says to walk or stop. Reward your lazy self on your rest days. Look forward to them and plan them accordingly.
4. Eat well to feel awesome. When you pick great food, you will choose to stay active longer. Your body will just love feeling good and will want to stay feeling that way.
5. Enjoy your surroundings. If you prefer a treadmill, awesome. But if you are like me, outdoors is where I need to be. But if running around your neighborhood is boring like my old block was 2 miles MAYBE so running that loop 5 times felt like torture, find a new spot! Make a destination of it. People like to go to the gym because they like the surroundings. Runners like to find their spot be it downtown or at a park. At time it IS about where you are.
6. Just keep at it. If you end up loving to walk, just keep walking. Add in some running here and there until you are adding in more running than walking. Might sound odd, but do stuff while you walk to keep your mind off of the activity. Adam likes to listen to books. My friend Jess likes music. I like to people/traffic watch or run TO a destination to for an errand (no pun intended) or get a treat.
I know this all sounds so simple. But take time to be in wonder and awe that your body can move when you want it to and it will respond with strength and resiliency. The runners high isn’t for everyone, but you will feel the amazing effects of exercise and finding time to turn off the daily grind. Soon a 5K will feel like a walk in the park and an accomplishment to smile over!