Expert Training Tips for Beginner and Experienced Runners
View All Section Pages
Running has become an increasingly popular sport for a number of reasons. Not only does running help build a strong, lean body and boost cardiovascular health, running is also more accessible and less costly than many other sports. Additionally, cities are becoming more runner-friendly with more access to safe running routes.
Whether you are new to running all together, or are ready to take the leap to a longer race distance, our Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainers provide simple tips for training for a 5K, 10K and half-marathon.
Training for a 5K
A 5K (3.1 miles) is the ideal starting distance for new runners. Here are five tips to get you started.
- Consult with your physician first. Before you hit the roads running, be sure your physician has cleared you to run. If you have had any type of joint replacement or disc issues in the past, running may not be the right form of exercise for you.
- Get fitted for proper footwear. Visit a footwear store and get fitted for a pair of running shoes. Employees at running-specific stores such as RunOn! or Luke’s Locker in Dallas are certified to find the right fit for your foot. They will look at the structure of your foot and find the perfect pair of shoes based on the level of activity you will be doing. And the fitting process is completely free!
- Start simple and start slowly. Don’t try to run at race pace the first time you train for a race. Instead, focus on increasing your mileage. If you are completely new to running, start with one mile of running/walking intermittently. Begin with a brisk walk and then try run/walk intervals with 30 seconds of running and minutes minutes of walking. Each day, try to increase the time you spend running, while decreasing your walking intervals until you can run one mile continuously.
- Take time to rest. Don’t try running every day. Instead, plan to run three to four days a week, alternating with balance and strength training on your off days. Take off one day each week for complete rest. Cross training with balance and strength training will decrease your risk of injury when you run.
- Don’t try to push through pain. If you experience pain in your knees, hips or other joints, don’t simply try to push through it. See your physician so you can figure out the root cause of the pain and make necessary adjustments. Joint pain won’t simply go away just because you are determined to “push through,” and it can very quickly become an overuse injury.
Training for a 10K
Once you’ve conquered the 5K distance, the next step is to race a 10K (6.2 miles). The primary difference in training for a 10K versus a 5K is that you won’t want to run a 10K at the same pace you’d run a 5K. If you hit a 10K at the same pace, chances are you’ll burn out and won’t be able to finish the race strong. Slow down your pace by adding 30 seconds to one minute per mile to your 5K pace in order to finish strong. Some running experts even recommend walking for one minute after every mile marker on longer distance races, such as 10K, half-marathons and full marathons. This is known as the Galloway method and many runners who use this method finish their race successfully and experience a faster recovery. This method is ideal when you are training for a longer distance but want to avoid over-training.
Training for a Half-Marathon
As with the 10K, you’ll want to take your pace down a notch when it comes to training for a half-marathon. On average, your half-marathon pace should be about 60 to 90 seconds per mile slower than your 5K pace. When training for a half-marathon, only attempt one long run per week (about six to seven miles) and don’t try to run the full race distance when training. For many runners, the only time they run the full 13.1 or 26.2 miles (of a full marathon) is on race day. Train up to seven miles a day for a half-marathon, and on race day, the adrenaline will push you through the remainder of the race.
No matter what distance you are training to run, you know you’re running at a good pace if you are able to comfortably hold a conversation without gasping for air.
It’s also important to note that not everyone is built for running and every runner has a maximum threshold. For Cochran, that threshold is approximately 14 miles. Pay attention to your body and don’t force yourself to run past your threshold. If you experience fatigue, body aches, compromised immunity and longer than normal recovery times after a long run, you may have passed your personal running threshold. It’s important to give your body a chance to fully recover when this happens before continuing with your training. Not doing so can predispose you to overtraining and potential injury. Taking two to three days off from running, while replenishing fluids and stretching, should be ample time for the body to heal. It is possible to increase your running threshold, but this takes time, and should be done gradually.
Most importantly, have fun. Running should be enjoyable, and a form of stress relief. If it’s not, find a form of exercise that you do enjoy, such as biking or swimming. In general, we are more likely to be consistent with our workouts when doing something we enjoy.
For information about Professional Training at Cooper Fitness Center, click here.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.