Tackling 5K Training!

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Happy April everyone! As you can see, Mother Nature decided to play the nastiest April Fools joke on us here in New England. It started up last night and it is still snowing!! Supposedly we are getting up to 12 inches this weekend, but I’m praying that it’s just an exaggeration.

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Tia doesn’t like all the snow and cold either! I’m hoping next year I’ll find some kind of exercise that I really enjoy doing outside, like skiing or snowshoeing, to help me get through these rough winters, but we’ll see! Right now I am just so over it and ready for spring.

Anyway, the main point of this post today is not to complain about the weather, it’s to document the fact that I’ve finally started training for running. Every other time that I’ve tried running, I’ve gotten so out of breath and discouraged that I decided to give up on it. This time I am determined to follow through and try my hardest at running a 5K this year.

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This time around, I decided that I wanted to use some sort of couch to 5K program to follow along with. My cousin Kati, who is someone I look up to both professionally and in terms of her commitment to health, used couch to 5K to start her weight loss and running journey, and has even gone on to run a 10K! Because of her success, I knew that this would be the best way to go about training for running.

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I chose to go with an app on my iPhone called 5K Runner. There are tons of different apps to choose from. I went with this one in particular simply because it’s free. Maybe in the future I’ll spring for one of the other apps, but so far this one has been working really well for me. As you can see, this is for someone who is completely new to running. It alternates between minute runs and minute and a half walks for about a half hour. I listen to music at the same as the program, but there is also a woman “trainer” who says encouraging things every once and a while and lets you know when to start running or walking. It sounds pretty cheesy, but it’s nice to have someone cheering you on while you’re trying to run.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it wasn’t quite as difficult as I was expecting. Since October, I’ve been walking nearly every day on the treadmill, often with changing inclines, and I definitely think building those leg muscles has helped a lot with transitioning into running. At the same time, it is a great workout for me and I am out of breath by the end of the program each day. Whenever I tried running before, I went in doing too much too fast, which also contributed to giving up easily.

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Truthfully, I am a little embarrassed that this is a pretty good workout for me and I feel like I should be doing more (remember, I have perfectionist tendencies and go all in on projects), but I also like the fact that I am able to start off slow with this program. I don’t necessarily have a specific 5K in mind at this point, so I’m just trying to focus on getting stronger as a runner and building up my lung capacity, as well as getting my heart rate up.

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Something else that has presented a challenge in my quest to be a runner is the fact that I have flat feet. According to runsociety.com, flat feet can often lead to over-pronation, which is when the feet roll inwards too much, and can cause pain on the ankles, lower leg muscles, knee joints, and hips. Having flat feet doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have over-pronation, but in my case, I do have over-pronation. To be honest, I think this may have been why I was so averse to exercise when I was younger, because my feet felt like they were getting tired too easily.

My flat feet are not an excuse for not exercising though, and I am very lucky that I was able to find shoes that really work for me and my issues with over-pronation. Right now, I’m using Brooks Ravenna 6, and these have been the best sneakers I’ve found for exercising with my flat feet. Unfortunately, it looks like the exact pair is no longer available, but if you’re interested, check here for the Ravenna 8 running shoes. These sneakers are made with flat arches in mind, and offer more support than the average running shoe. I’ve also found that ASICS has great options for people who need extra support. In general, I definitely think that doing my research and finding the shoes that really work for me, rather than just going with whatever’s popular at the moment, has helped me on my fitness journey.

I am only two days into my running training, but I am already feeling very optimistic about how I’m going to progress. I will definitely keep you updated on how I’m doing each week, so stay tuned for that!

Do any of you out there have tips for running or ways to make training easier? Let me know! As a new runner, I need all the advice I can get!

Love,

Sara

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