Training Tips for 5K Run

This contest involves your choice of a 5K or 10K run. Gina will time your starting run and your final run, on a treadmill or at a local track (to eliminate hills and make measuring distance simple). The keys to this contest are to avoid overtraining and to peak, meaning to perform your best, for the final timed run. You can either run for every cardio workout, or cross-train using other cardiovascular activities such as cycling, swimming, an elliptical trainer, a stairmaster, or aerobics classes. (If you can manage to stay injury-free, you will achieve best results by running for all your cardiovascular workouts rather than cross-training, but the decision must be heavily weighed against the injury potential. Rotating between running on the treadmill, on the track, and outdoors will help reduce your risk of injury). You should also perform a full-body weight-training routine twice per week. Your weights routine should include a variety of rep ranges, periodized over the 12 weeks of the contest. Advanced trainees should lift in the 8-12 rep range during the first four weeks, then lift in the 4-6 rep range during the next four weeks. Finally, in the last four weeks you will lighten the weights and lift them as quickly as possible. Weight-training newbies should stay in the 12-15 rep range.

For your running workouts over the contest you will work in the following “zones”:

Rest from running No running at all. Walk, bike, or swim, if you want to--just not very hard. Don't regard rest days as "nothing" days, but rather a different kind of training that allows your body to recover while it absorbs and consolidates the endurance gains that your harder workouts produce.

Easy Runs These should be totally comfortable. You should be breathing hard enough to know that you are running, but still be able to hold up your end of an on-the-run chat. If you can't talk, you’re running too hard; on the other hand, if you can sing show tunes en route, you’re running too easy. This is a good day for weight training as well (BEFORE your run or at a different time of day).

Long Runs These include anything longer than race distance. Their purpose is to build endurance, specifically the ability to run for longer and longer periods of time without fizzling out.

Speed Workouts These are shorter than race distance, but faster than your goal race pace. They may range from hard, to very hard, to nearly flat-out. They result in increased leg speed, elevated lactic threshold, improved stamina, improved biomechanical efficiency, and the ability to tolerate the discomfort that is essential to racing fitness.

If you are overweight, your speed will improve if you lose some bodyfat. See the article on page 2 of this newsletter, and be sure to stick to a relatively low-carb, high-protein diet. You may have up to two servings of whole grains or starchy vegetables per day, up to two fruits, and unlimited vegetables. If you are at a lean, healthy body weight, choose a diet a bit higher in carbs to keep your glycogen (carb) stores in your muscles full. Choose 3-6 servings of whole grains or starchy vegetables per day, protein three times per day, and a moderate amount of fat. Everyone should drink even more water than usual, as you will sweat when you run (even if your body is cold and you don’t see the sweat, you ARE sweating: it is just evaporating before you can see it). If you develop knee, ankle, back, or any other pain, cross-train for some of your workouts, take more rest days, or run a bit slower until your body feels good again. Update your sneakers every couple of months and be sure they are the correct model for your foot type. Consult a professional if you are unsure.

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