Company Wellness Challenge: Training for a 5k
With Spring and Summer worksite wellness challenges underway, a great idea for company's participating in a challenge is to sponsor or participate in local walks and races. It not only gives employees and their friends/families the opportunity to exercise for a local cause and add steps and minutes to their personal goal, but also gives the sponsoring company an opportunity to offer a source of encouragement and added community support.
How do you go from desk exhaustion to running a 5k? It takes a bit of steam and a solid plan coupled with some serious encouragement. You don't have to sign up for the Boston Marathon right away; Check out the ideas below:
Create a Company 5k - Ask your wellness provider!
Try a Color Run 5k in your area:
What is the Color Run?
The Color Run is a one of a kind experience that is less about speed and more about enjoying a color crazy day with your friends and family. Our events, are all about people of all different speeds, ages, shapes, and sizes toeing the start line. Whether you are a casual morning mall walker or an Olympic athlete, the 3 miles of the Color Run course will be the most enjoyable real estate you’ve traveled in a VERY long time. You will love this Color Dash of fun!
How does it work?
The Color Run pretty much has 2 SIMPLE rules. 1. White shirts (any mostly white T will work great) mandatory at the start line and 2. Color plastered EVERYTHING at the finish! Runner/walkers begin the 5k at the start line like a brand new pristine coloring book, they end looking like they fell into a Willy Wonka… tie dyed… vat of colored goodness.
How to train:
From the Greatist Blog: Going the 13.1-mile distance requires more than just some sweet kicks and an iPod loaded with motivational tunes; it requires some real — sometimes intense — training. It also helps to have a background in running (think at least 6 months of consistent running totaling at least 10 miles a week) and a solid training plan. But first let’s get started with these essential tips:
- Get going. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. But having a solid running foundation will help decrease the likelihood of injury during training, Kalley says.
- Pick a race. Everyone needs that goal set in stone. Just remember: location, location, location! Finding a race close to home can make travel easier and calm race day nerves. Traveling can also be fun, too, but may cause extra stress. The key: Pick the race in advance and make the proper arrangements so that race day is nice and relaxed.
- Cross train. Running is crucial, but strength training and other methods of cardio are important as well. For Kalley’s trainees, that means at least 30-40 minutes of strength work twice a week, including single-leg exercise that improve running performance (such as single-leg squats and single-leg deadlifts). For other aerobic activities, find something enjoyable that’s low-impact like swimming or the elliptical.
- Master the form. Get the form down pat to increase efficiency and feel better while running. Kalley’s two main tips to reduce stress on the body: Have a higher cadence (more steps per minute) and keep your feet “light and low to the ground.” For cadence, aim to have between 85 and 95 strikes per minute (that’s counting both feet).
- Stick to the plan. Even if the workouts feel easy, Kalley advises sticking to the written plan (laid out below). Adding runs or tacking on some additional distance can lead to overtraining and injuries down the road.
- Go the distance. For beginners attempting the half-marathon distance, endurance trumps speed.Jonathan Cane, coach for Nike and JackRabbit, stresses the importance of taking the long runs slow. Runners should finish feeling like they could run a mile or two more, Cane says.
- Get fit… for shoes that is. A good pair of sneakers is vital for distance running — both to look good and feel good, too! Visit a local running store to get properly fitted. They’ll do a gait analysis to narrow down the perfect pair of kicks. Thinking of going minimal? Cane suggests beginner runners shy away from minimalist kicks and take some time to develop the musculature to handle long-distance running.
- Do the extras. Resist the urge to head straight to the showers after a hard run. Always take some time to cool down and do some flexibility work. Kalley stresses the importance of foam rolling and stretching to his athletes. These added extras will help stave off injuries in the long run.
Get to Work! — The Program
For individuals with some consistent running under their belt, 12 weeks should be sufficient time to prep for a half-marathon. Here is Kalley’s custom training plan to get you to the finish line feeling great!
Ready, Set, Go! — Race Day
Race day can be extremely stressful — or it can be a walk in the park with proper planning. Here are some helpful tips to make the big day go as smoothly as possible.
- Get there early. To avoid being rushed (and to snag a sweet parking spot) arrive a couple hours before start time. In general, the bigger the race, the earlier you should arrive, Kalley advises.
- Scope out the Porta-Potties. Bathroom lines tend to be long at running events because of pre-race nerves, says Kalley. Hit the lines early to avoid the last-minute crowd.
- Keep things consistent. Race day isn’t the time to try out new sneakers or hit the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. When it comes to the big day, “Don’t rock the boat,” says Jonathan Blake, triathlete and personal trainer at the New York Health & Racquet Club. Stick with what has worked during training to avoid nasty blisters or a stomachache that may hamper performance.
- Get loose. Running a half-marathon doesn’t require an extensive warm-up, but some dynamic stretches and light jogging will help you avoid hitting the start line cold. Try high-knees, butt kicks, and some skipping to get game-ready!
- Drink up. Dehydration has been shown to detrimentally affect performance, especially slowing runners down in latter parts of the race. Rather than worrying about a specific hydration strategy, focus on drinking when thirsty. If you aren’t parched, feel free to skip the water station.
- Start off easy. Avoid the temptation of going out hard the first mile. Instead, try to negative split(making each successive mile faster than the previous one) throughout the race.
- Run the tangents. Cane advises runners to stay calm during the first mile. Don’t run 13.3 miles instead of 13.1 by running around people and dodging through the crowd. Save energy and make up time when it matters.
- Get some carbs. For those that are running for longer than 2.5 hours, having a quick source of carbs like an energy gel might be a good option to stay fueled and on pace.
- Be realistic. Avoid going into your first half-marathon with a strict time goal. Having fun and finishing should be the number one priority. Cane’s advice to runners: “Enjoy yourself, enjoy the contest.”
- Keep moving post-race. Take some time to relish in the post-race limelight after the race, but avoid being stationary. Gather up the friends and fam and go for a short walk to cool down. And rather than taking the next week off, focus on low-intensity activities like swimming or bike riding for 15-30 minutes to keep blood flowing and help ease soreness.