It’s that time of the year when so many of us are sitting at our laptops, opening a bottle of wine, and preparing for the year ahead; We’re planning our career goals, relationship goals, and perhaps our fitness goals (there’s a reason why the gym rush after January 1st is real). It’s a time when resolutions are made and project plans are set. After all, how could you possibly achieve a goal without a training plan?
That’s why there is no better time than now to work on your Spring and Summer fitness. With so many likeminded people around making resolutions or perhaps well underway in their fitness routine, there is plenty of motivation to go around. But if you’re just getting into the gym or fitness community, you might be overwhelmed at where you should start.
Weights? The elliptical? Perhaps the treadmill?
If the treadmill is calling your name, know that I’m right behind you – and with smart products, of course. Smart products are so motivating – my Garmin 920XT really helped me as I prepared for my first Triathlon – so if you’re ready to run your first 5KM in the New Year, I’m here to show you how it can be done.
Here’s how to run your first 5KM (with a little help from smart gadgets!) in 2017.
Maybe these corgis will provide some treadmill motivation…
Plan your schedule week by week – and set distances to achieve every other day.
Since you’re likely to just be starting out, look out for a watch that will provide everything you need at an affordable price.
I’ve gone through my fair share of 10km, half-marathon, marathon (and more!) training plans, and the only thing that works is if I plan my training schedule week after week.
There are a number of ways you can do this, but I use two different methods. As I work with a coach for my triathlon training, I use the mobile app Training Peaks. If I have busy weeks at work or with friends, I then bring my training calendar into my iPhone calendar, so I can slot my training sessions accordingly.
This is perfect if you’re running and training for a 5KM race. Every Sunday, plot your training schedule into your calendar, then place your smart watch on your bedroom night table or kitchen counter. I love the Fitbit Surge in particular for training as it tracks your heart rate, calories burned, steps taken and so much more. The added bonus is that the Surge will send you notifications when your phone rings or when you get a text, so if you’re out on that 30 minute run on the weekend, you’ll keep connected along the way.
Once you plan your schedule or training plan, be sure to check out the Surge – or another smart watch of your choice – to accompany your weekly plan.
Keep track of how your body reacts with each and every run.
Even if you are using a watch, it’s important to feel how your body reacts to every run.
It’s true – running can be hard on your body, especially the longer and faster you run. I suggest heading into the trails if you have the option every once in a while (check out that incredible photo above) to alleviate some of the impact on your knees and hips.
Speaking of your knees and hips, make sure you’re keeping track of how your body feels with each and every run, especially with your longer weekend runs. If your knees are hurting more than you feel they should, consider taking an extra rest day. If your body is feeling strong, consider pushing yourself on your next run. While you might be using a smart watch that will tell you how your body is performing, it’s also important to listen to your body without smart products every once in a while, too.
Stay motivated, especially in those long training sessions.
Not feeling like a run? Use smart products to stay motivated.
Everyone has those moments – the morning alarm comes far too early and you’re just not ready to run. It’s too dark, and all you want to do is press the snooze button. We’ve all been there.
It’s important to stay motivated along the way, while knowing that these situations of low energy or a need for more motivation could happen.
That’s why I love music. Hip-hop, rap or even the occasional Top 40 really helps me set the mood for a great workout. Consider the Apollo 7 or Jabra Sport Coach Bluetooth headphones that are great for not only runs, but also when you’re cross training in the gym. As they’re Bluetooth, there are no wires that will get in the way.
Plus, a new smart product can provide motivation in itself to get up and running, if you’re lacking the energy. Just like buying new gym clothes, brand new smart products will often spark the fire you need to get up and on the pavement or treadmill.
Watch what you eat (and what you drink!) especially before a run.
As much as that Big Breakfast with four slices of toast and extra hash browns might sound great, they’re not…
I’ve had my fair share of nutrition mistakes before races. Didn’t eat enough, ate too much, had one too many glasses of wine the night before a long run – I’ve truly done it all.
So – learn from my mistakes. Before running a long distance, especially if you’re starting your journey on building your way to a 5KM race, here’s what you should eat.
The Evening Before a Long Run: Grab those carbs, but balance it with with a healthy amount of vegetables. Think one cup of pasta or potatoes, plenty of broccoli, and a green salad. Plus, drink a few glasses of water the night prior.
The Morning of a Long Run: For me, a light yogurt with granola or a banana and oatmeal work very well, but the morning of a long run is really up to you and how your body reacts to food you eat. Perhaps a couple of eggs and a glass of milk might do!
Take care of your body, especially in those first few weeks of training.
If you’re moving from couch to 5KM, the first few weeks are so important.
If it’s your first time really getting back to the gym and focusing on your fitness, or perhaps your first time in a number of years, it’s important to really take care of your body in those first few weeks.
And you can make it fun, too! Why not consider booking relaxing massage once you reach three weeks in your training, or attending a meditation class once per week? It’s important to shut your mind off and focus on something other than getting your miles in or clocking those hill repeats.
Much like listening to your body, make sure you pay attention to taking care of your body throughout the training process.
As you’re getting started with your first 5KM training plan, the initial process might be daunting. You might have just asked yourself “what are hill repeats?” when I mentioned them in the fifth tip.
Hill repeats are typically included in your training plans – this means you’ll find a hill and literally repeat it a few times. It will help strengthen your legs and prepare them for a potentially hilly 5KM course.
Ultimately, getting started should be easy. All you really need is a smart watch – like the Surge I recommend above – a great training plan and you’re off to the races.
Speaking of races, make sure you select a fun 5KM race that you’ll love participating in!
Are you running a 5KM race in 2017? Share with us on Twitter.