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Preparing for a 5K

If you’re planning to take part in our annual Run for Prevention 5k for Health Missions in Washington Park on September 30th it is important that you train.

If you are looking to take part competitively or this is your first 5k there are a number of things you should consider. 3.1 miles is a doable distance for almost anyone, but it requires a mix of strength and stamina that must be earned through training. That being said, if you are not wanting to run or jog the course, you are welcome to walk it.

Washington Park isn’t flat so in training to run use hill strides to increase strength in your quads, hams, glutes and calf muscles. Find a short, steep hill, one in Washington Park would make sense, and stride up the incline for 10 to 20 seconds. Recover by walking back down the hill.

Intervals encourage you to tolerate a faster pace despite fatigue. The challenge is to run all the intervals at a consistent pace and to push past your comfort zone.

Start with a one-mile warm up at an easy pace. You should run shorter intervals (400 meters or less) slightly faster than your current 5k pace. Intervals longer than 400 meters should be run at your current 5k pace. After each harder effort, jog or walk two-to-three minutes to recover. Finish the workout with another easy one-mile cool down and some stretching. Stretching is extremely important after any exercise because it encourages better flexibility, may improve your performance in physical activities, or decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion and enabling your muscles to work most effectively. Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle.

On days you have more time focus on building your endurance. Long runs should be run at a fairly comfortable pace.

Make sure you incorporate a rest day or two, each week, into your training - no running or cross training.

For the runner seeking his or her fastest 5k, some long runs will end with a strong finish. You simply shift up a gear by increasing your speed slightly from your long-run pace for the last 10 minutes. This usually works out to be about 20 to 30 seconds faster than your long run minute-per-kilometer pace.

Tempo runs build stamina, strength and mental toughness. Shoot for roughly 10k pace or 15 to 30 seconds slower than your 5k pace, depending on your level of experience. Begin and end every tempo workout with an easy one-mile warm up and cool down. You’ll thank yourself for doing so the following day.

Non-running activities build your fitness while preventing overuse injuries, boredom and burnout. Good options are swimming, cycling, rowing or yoga. Keep the effort at a moderate level and aim for 30 minutes or more.

Most importantly – remember to have fun. The elation from completing your first 5k, or running your fastest race to date, will make all the hard work you put in well worth it.

Sign up for the Health Missions 5k online by visiting: http://www.active.com/springfield-il/running/dista... stop in at AlignLife of Springfield Chiropractic & Natural Health Center at 2025 West Iles Avenue, Springfield, IL, 62704 to collect an entry form.

New patients receive a free consultation!

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