A Confession + 5K Trainging Tips

How to Train for a 5K

Aunt DiDi, Anna, Jake, Ari

Saturday I ran a 5k with my 14 year old son, Jake, and my 13 year old daughter, Ari, and their Auntie Di Di. Truth be told, I hadn’t been training for it. It was totally last minute and I was just elated that my teenage kids wanted to race with me.

To set the scene, it was a frigid 28-30 degrees (and if you know me, anything below 70 and not in direct sunlight is cold). I had on long underwear, Winter running pants, wool socks, ….let’s just say lots of layers.

The race began and Jake took off ahead of us right away. Knowing I couldn’t hold his pace, Ari and I held back to a more manageable speed. I was feeling good and making decent time. More importantly I was keeping up with my daughter. Woo hoo!

Then about half way through it happened…

Pain on the outside of my right knee.

My ego reminded me that I help other people eliminate pain. I’m not suppose to get pain! The head chatter got louder.

“Sh..! I should stop. This race is for fun and not worth an injury”

But my competitive side said, “Keep going. You are not actually going to walk are you? This is a race.“

This head stuff went on for quite a while. With each step the knee pain intensified. Then I remember one of my last blogs.

Not even a week before I had hugely emphasized the importance of listening to your body and of not pushing through pain.

I began to feel like a hypocrite.

So out of guilt I stopped, stretched and then walked for a couple of minutes. Letting my daughter disappear into the pack without me was a bit defeating. I continued the rest of the way alternating between run, stretch, walk until I reached the final part of the course. My ego kicked in again and I gave in— pushing hard at the end, I was determined not to cross the finish line with a limp in my gait or a grimace on my face. Achieved!

Not surprisingly, I had also achieved some fairly intense knee pain and a limp the rest of the day.

However, I spent the afternoon doing my posture exercises and caring for my body which helped because the next day the pain was mostly gone. Thank goodness!! A healthy reminder to listen to my body.

So there you have my confession.

The moral of the story is that if you are competitive and have an ego that sometimes gets in the way of listening to your body you are not alone!!! I totally get you. Obviously, I struggle with it from time to time, too.

4 Tips for Training for a 5K

  1. Address your Posture. Your postural health is foundational to efficient and pain free movement. If you notice that you have imbalances in your gait, they could slow you down and make you more prone to injury. Creating balance in your alignment will result in moving more cleanly through your joints, breathing easier, and using less effort to do the same or more work.
  2. Begin with a “Couch to 5K” or walk / run program. It is important to build gradually, so that your soft tissues (muscles, ligaments & tendons) and your joints have time to adjust to the new demands running is placing on them. Progressing slowly is a way to prevent injury.
  3. Add in speed and hill work only once you have gotten to a place where you can easily run the 5K distance .
  4. Strength training is an important piece to incorporate as well. Like the running, build gradually to prevent injury. Quality over quantity. To avoid strengthening compensations & dysfunctions your posture and form are essential. Remember that creating balance is going to increase your efficiency, speed, strength, balance, agility, etc.

By the way, if you are wondering what happened to Auntie Di Di she did finally (after a long while) make it to the finish line with a huge smile, holding hands with a friend, and letting out a loud “Woo Hoo!!!!”

This leads me to tip number 5…Have fun with it and enjoy the process.