Fall is here and so is road race season. From 5ks to marathons, races spring up across the country to take advantage of cooler weather. Whether it’s the local turkey trot or a bigger event, you could be in trouble if you haven’t been training throughout the summer. Without consistent training, the pounding alone can wreak havoc on your knees and hips. The program below is designed to get you from the start to finish of a 5k with a smile on your face. Along with your cardio routine, don’t forget to incorporate strength training. It’s imperative to keep you injury free and on the roads for the whole season.
The Basics of Ruling the Road
Before you step foot on the pavement, set yourself up for success by picking out a pair of great running shoes. You don’t need top of the line, but do yourself a favor and have your gait analyzed at your local running store. They will look at your running form to determine the proper shoe category for you and give you a few choices to find what you like best. Good shoes alone can mean the difference between a fun 5k and a nightmare death-march.
Before you head out for the first run, take a look at the past few months of training. If you haven’t done a decent bit (at least 1-2 days per week) of running, start the first week with a walk/run approach to training. This will ease your muscles, joints, and lungs into running. Complete the distance listed on easy days, but break it up into running segments of one to two minutes intermixed with 30-second walk breaks. Don’t risk injury by jumping in headfirst. Also work on perfecting your running form. Improper form alone can leave your knees aching and you dreading the next run.
How It Works
To develop the cardio necessary to get through a 5k, your training should incorporate intervals as well as longer, easier runs. The program below incorporates both in a three-day schedule per week leaving time for strength training and plenty of flexibility work. It also progresses slowly ensuring that your joints, ligaments, and tendons have time to adapt to handle the pounding.
Frequency Perform the following cardio workouts three times per week with at least a day in between.
Time Needed 30-45 minutes each day including warm-up and cool-down
How to Do it
Start each workout with a dynamic warm-up and five minutes of easy walking to increase blood flow and decrease chance of injury. Perform the easier runs at a comfortable pace that allows you to complete the full distance. The interval days should be completed at a speed you can maintain – meaning try not to vary your pace too much from interval to interval. Cool down from each workout with stretching and foam rolling.
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