Top tips to help you get off the couch and ready for a 5k
Brought to you by the Simon Home Run.
Hit the road for a great cause.
Dublin Simon Community are calling on people to do their bit to tackle homelessness by supporting their upcoming Simon Home Run in the Phoenix Park on Saturday, 7 October.
You may be switching off at the mention of the word “run” but don’t be too hasty! Although you could walk the course, there’s still plenty of time to get yourself race-ready.
You’d be amazed how quickly you can go from the couch to a 5k and a this is just a little bit further! Just think about how good that would feel. Not only could you do your bit to tackle the homeless crisis in Ireland, you could also achieve a personal goal and take a step towards a healthier lifestyle.
Need some help? Here are some simple tips to help get you ready in time for this upcoming event.
Get the right gear
There’s no need to max out your credit card on the latest running gear but you do need some essentials. Think comfort rather than fashion and wear breathable fabrics like cotton. If it’s cold, wear layers that can be easily removed as you warm up.
If you only do one thing, invest in some decent running shoes that combine comfort and support. This decreases your chances of injuring yourself or getting an unwanted collection of blisters! Nothing will put you off quicker than destroying your feet by wearing the wrong kind of footwear.
Warming up and cooling down
We can’t emphasis this enough. Stretch before and after a run to avoid injury. If you don’t know what stretches you’re supposed to do, you can find lots of good tutorials online to help. It’s an essential part of the process.
Warming up and cooling down with a five-minute walk before and after the jog is also important to loosen up and get your body ready for a more intensive jog. Having layers that you can take on and off are particularly handy for these warm up and cool down stages.
Get your food and drink right
Make sure you hydrate before and after a run. Drink plenty in the hours before you go running as opposed to necking two litres of water just before you hit the road! You can carry a water bottle with you but you shouldn’t need to if you’ve topped up pre-run.
Likewise, you don’t want your stomach to be full of food while running so avoid eating big meals within two to four hours of your run. If you’re hungry or you need a quick energy hit before your run, try snacks like a banana, some cereal or a yoghurt with fruit.
Get the distance and balance right
One of the hardest things for newbies is knowing what you should and shouldn’t do. Start slowly and don’t try to run 5k in your first run. Build up to it steadily and choose a pace that suits you. If you can walk comfortably for an hour, you’re ready to bust out the running gear. Just remember to leave recovery time between sessions, so three sessions per week are loads.
There are some great couch to 5k apps out there that can tell you how long to run for. They’ll break a session up into running and walking sections. They gradually ramp up to more running and less walking with each session to keep pushing your limits.
This is a perfect way to ease in and build up your stamina. Many of them will play over music and they also track your distance and time. It’s brilliant to have this kind of detail as it shows you if you’re making progress and gives you a benchmark for each new run.
If you don’t want to use an app or bring a phone with you, you can start with some simple reps to get going and gradually build up your level of fitness. Don’t worry so much about speed as building stamina. Speed can come later.
Warm up for five minutes then run for one minute and walk for 90 seconds, repeating the running and walking parts for a total of 20 minutes if you can. Then ramp up to 90 seconds of running and 90 seconds of running for the second week. The aim is to gradually increase your overall running times and reduce your walking time until you can do a 5k in one single run.
If a week’s scheduled repetitions are proving too much or you think you can comfortably move up faster, then find a level that suits you. It’s all about finding the right level for you while still trying to develop and get fitter.
You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can get into running - and at the progress that can be made in a few short weeks. And once you do your first 5k, the next obvious step is to push on and aim for a 10k! Make the five-mile Simon Home Run your goal and sign up online to give yourself an incentive and a target to aim for.
Dublin Simon Community are asking people to hit the pavement and come together, not just for fun but for homes! They want people of all ages to join the movement against the homeless epidemic in the Phoenix Park on 7 October. Register now on the website and raise essential funds to provide homes to for those who are being devastated by the crisis.
Brought to you by the Simon Home Run.