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Five steps to running 5K - week three
So you've hopefully completed a successful week two of your training with the big prize waiting for you at the end being to be in good enough shape to cross the finish line of a North East 5K park run, in under 30 minutes.
The best way to do any form of training, is to build fitness slowly but surely.
Hence the reason I started you off by simply finding the right clothing and the tools to keep you safe and with a fail proof routine of 'run a lamp post, walk a lamp post' for 30 minutes.
And then I asked you in the last week to begin some very simple interval training mixing 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise to include running and walking.
And so to week three.
Now you need to be spending a touch longer running, but still mixing it with walking.
Try this plan:
Today: Run half pace for three minutes, walk three minutes, repeat four times.
Tomorrow: Run half pace for three minutes, walk one to three minutes (depending upon how out of breath you are) - repeat five times.
Monday: At home in the warmth, seven or eight minutes jogging on the spot, commence stretching routine of all major muscles including hamstrings, Achilles, quads and calfs, and most important of all, your lower back.
Wednesday: Run at half pace for three minutes, walk for three minutes - repeat five times.
Thursday: Run at three quarter pace for a minute, jog at half pace for two minutes, walk for three minutes.
The aim of this week is to really get you used to sustaining the pace and length of time at which you can jog. And by mixing half pace jogging, with three quarter pace running, and slowly returning to walking, you're beginning to build up some stamina and tease your muscles with a taste of what's in store.
And that's important, because the number one reason that you wont cross the finish line of a 5k run is a lack of stamina.
The best way to avoid an injury along the way to the start line is not to push yourself to fast too soon.
I've seen countless runners come through my physio room doors having trained for weeks and months for a big event such as the Darlington 10k, or the Great North Run, and just weeks or days before, are tempted to increase the intensity because they didn't stick to a routine in the early days.
They then ended up struck down with an injury that begun some weeks earlier and they refused to listen to and seek expert advice.
Had they done so, participation in the race was much more likely that hoping in vain that it'll just go away on its own.
Two big and very common training mistakes to look out for include a failure to cool down post training and waking up the next day feeling stiff and tired, which is almost guaranteed to happen if you're over 40.
Worse yet, using that excuse to postpone your training routine for another day. That is a surefire way to injury as your muscles will never get chance to adapt to this type of very safe routine.