Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How I Survived My First 5k Race

If you can remember way back to three weeks ago, I had written a post journaling the start of my training for my very first 5k race, and this past Saturday was the culmination of all my efforts of the last four weeks.

Now, I don't want to seem like I'm bragging, but for me to finish a 3.1 mile race is something of a small miracle.

(that's me in the green, very excited to no longer be running)

Never in my life have I been a natural athlete, and certainly not a natural runner. My boyfriend had to actually teach me how to move my arms and legs in sync with each other, if that gives you any indication of my natural born talents.

I'm sure some people will scoff at running a 5k. "You only ran 3 miles? That's my warm up!" But I know that there are far more people out there who are thinking that they WISH they could run a 5k...and I'm here to tell those people that if I can do it, then so can you.

It literally takes nothing more than time and determination. Having said that, it can be hard to believe it's as simple as that, so I've outlined a few of the tips I followed and will share a few of the revelations I had along the way.

1) Start small, and don't overestimate your abilities
The first day I tried to run the full three miles after an 8-hour work day of wearing heels...it went about as well as you might expect. I ended up running a mile and a half before quitting with huge calf cramps and deflated spirit. It's key to just start off gauging your abilities. I'd say try running a mile (walking when needed) just to see what your fitness level is. From there, build up to the full 3.1 miles. There are TONS of programs on the internet, and Pinterest is a great place to find some easy to read programs. I have a ton of easy ways to get started and fitness motivation on my fitness board...check it out here!

credit: Jeff Henrickson Designs

2) You're capable of far more than you realize
This may seem to counteract what I just told you in point one, but it's also seriously important to recognize how amazingly adaptive our bodies are. The heart starts to condition itself for cardio activity as soon as after THREE cardio activities! That means your fourth workout could already start to feel significantly better than when you started. Telling yourself your aren't capable of something is the worst thing you can do keep yourself from a dream.

3) Don't compare yourself to other people
There was always a handful of people I was consistently passing up on the track...but far more who were consistently passing me. It can be discouraging to think that people are looking at you or wondering what you're doing. But I promise, everyone else is so wrapped up in their own workouts that they don't even hardly notice you. So try your best not to take notice of them and focus on how much better YOU are doing than the person you were yesterday.

4) No matter how crappy you feel during, you'll feel amazing when you're finished
The first time I actually finished the 3.1 miles in training, I felt like I was going to puke afterward, and it had taken me 40 minutes to finish. But as soon as I stepped off that treadmill (after cooling down for at least 5 minutes!) I felt like I was on top of the world. And this didn't get any less satisfactory as time went on.

credit: proteinfart.com

5) Don't skip two workouts in a row
This is probably the biggest and most helpful piece of advice I found, and I'll definitely be doing another blog post on it later down the road. The basic concept is that every one needs a day off every now and then, even if it wasn't out scheduled off day. And that's okay. But that skipping two scheduled workouts in a row building a psychological momentum that is hard to break. So even if you don't do what you planned on doing, make sure to do SOMETHING physical after an off day. It can be stretching, yoga, or a light walk around the block. Anything to keep your body from getting complacent with sitting around.

And that's about it. Of course it was super helpful that I had a wonderful cheerleader (thanks, Seth) making sure that I almost never missed a workout. However, I found the most important thing was to stick to a routine, even when I didn't feel motivated.

Have you ever completed a 5k? Half-marathon? FULL marathon? What fitness goal are you going to work towards now?
xoxo, KT