“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit” ~George Sheehan.
Health is wealth. Health awareness has increased tremendously in the modern era. In the previous times, physical exercise was natural and was an integral part of daily life. But at the advent of science and technology, our coziness and laziness have also increased.
Our lifestyle has changed and contributed its own share in the decline of our health and forced us to concerted and conscious physical exercises. Physically, exercise is done depending upon time and convenience like swimming, jogging, walking and running etc. On a personal note, running occupies the first place in my favorites list.
Running, they say is a “four weather sport” wherein one’s endurance is tested to its absolute outer limits. Anyone who runs is a runner, but it really takes the hell out of you in case you plan to win a race. Civilization and socialization combined with technology have led to quite a few developments and changed many an ill mind.
Comfort life on couches is no more considered healthy. Tying up those shoe laces with sports gear to hit the road has become a habit. This time around, I’d like to discuss with you all, five simple unsolicited advises or say basic principles required to compete, complete and win a 5k run.
1) Stride Efficiency: This is nothing, but the gait in running. It aids us in completing the task without getting hit by an injury. Bounding, capering, skipping, and moving will help us increase the strength of the muscle and shape for good.
Sprinting upwards would be good but not better than the aforementioned techniques. Sprinting should be done to 50 to 70 meters and a walk back to start it again. Remember, sprints are only for the legs and mainly the calf muscles as we require its endurance in many an event (5k, 10k, 100m and marathons).
2) Endurance: This is one important aspect that needs to be heeded when advised and to actually work on when training. It’s not the speed of your run, but how far can we go when our body finishes that counts. As we keep moving ahead, at certain times, our body gets tired and signals to the brain to stop the race. From then, it’s all about how we win over our brain and cross the finish line that counts far more than any other.
For this, we need to identify what type of runner are we? Are we a 15.00 5k run type, 20.00 5k run type, 25.00 5k run type, 30.00 5k run type or even more. To develop endurance, first start with a short run which lasts for 30 min as it aids in getting relaxed from the workouts if any.
Then go for a medium run which is double the short run. After this, go for a long run which is nearly twice the distance of the medium run. A long run aids in better strides efficiency and mainly burns the adipose tissue (fat). When training, just introspect yourselves and put this question. “Can I maintain this pace all through the task?” If the answer is yes, it’s okay. If no, vary the pace and keep running until you feel confident.
Another important thing in these endurance tests is to manage the workout. At times we may get overenthusiastic about our run and tend to practice more. It leads to exhaustion. The saying goes, “Sweat more in practice and you will sweat less in the race”. It doesn’t tell us to run long. It tells us to run on tough terrains and challenging surfaces like going up the hill.
This increases the efficiency of the strides and makes the muscle fibers even stronger. The moment when you stop running is the end point of the inclination. When going downwards, just walk slowly or do little jogs, giving your muscles a relaxed rest.
Do this for 5 to 8 repetitions depending on the energy levels at that time of the day. I don’t suggest you to do these strenuous endurance exercises on the week of your actual run. Hence, it’s essential to maintain equilibrium in the workouts and in the practice sessions.
3) Versatile race pace efficiency: Training at a speed greater than your race day speed is beneficial in many ways. It teaches us to run at more pace in the race which actually needs it (at the beginning, in the middle, and when nearing the finish line) and also makes the actual race day run feel a bit slow.
Unlike a 10k run or a marathon we don’t need endurance at a prolonged level. A 5k run is a combination of increased levels of stamina and pace. This involves running a 2k or a 3k race at a pace greater than our 5k race around the track and then a relaxed walk of another revolution. This should be implemented for a month before the actual race and should not last more than 3 weeks.
4) Post run recovery and injury prevention: If there’s any area that’s nearly neglected during a run, it’s this. We happen to end the time on our workouts when the race is done during training. Hardly do we look into the post run stretching, injury prevention exercises.
Yes! Running hurts a lot. Our lungs become exhausted, our bones may break at any time, and we may fall at any moment. That’s how bad things can be after a great run. After all, isn’t it on our part to do indulge in post run stretching? Towel toe curls, Foot orbits and revised hurdler’s stretch are some which should be a part of our daily routine.
A rich carbohydrate diet with sports drinks serves as carbohydrates and fluids to ignite the metabolism. And, it’s always suggestible to end the workout with proper icing to the injury prone areas and should be done within 15 min after the race.
Having discussed the above, I believe, consistency and patience are the two virtues one needs to possess not only while running but in their real life as well.
Keep your composure going good as you stress yourself and your body every single yard. You will soon be feeling great of what you’ve done so far, and success will all be yours.
Have a good run.