by Eva Solomon, Epic Races founder/CEO
excerpted from “Exercise, Eat, Evolve,” published in the March 2015 edition of The Ann
I’ll never forget a comment my long-time friend and running partner, Donna, said to me during an early April morning run. She said, “I love being a runner because I feel like I am such a part of spring.” While most of us notice the longer days, birds chirping, and changes in flora and fauna, a runner tends to feel “at one” with spring. In fact, a common comment I hear this time of year is, “I wish I could run.” In addition to getting outdoors, people enjoy running for different reasons: some do it to stay in shape, others do it to relieve stress, and yet others integrate it into their social lives. Whatever the reason, running is an attainable form of exercise for most people.
It is not nearly as difficult to convince folks about why to run as it is to convince them that they can run. Of course, it’s always important to get checked out by your doctor before starting any new physical fitness plan but, once you get the thumbs up, if you follow this plan, you will be able to run or run/walk (which is perfectly OK) a 5K in five weeks!
The first thing you’ll need to do is set a goal. A great example, which supports an important cause, is just about five weeks from now: the Ann Arbor Goddess 5K to benefit Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance (yes, gods are welcome, too!). Visit www.annarborgoddess5k.com to sign up.
You will now need to plan a schedule where you can devote 30 minutes per day, three to five days per week to your training. Don’t sabotage yourself by choosing a time that is not realistic. If you know that in the morning, you’ll more likely hit the snooze button than your running watch button, then plan to train at lunch or in the evening. If you know that, at the end of the work day, you’ll be so tied up with family responsibilities that your running shoes will never get tied, then be sure to fit your training in during the morning or daytime hours.
One of the great things about running is the minimal amount of gear required. You will need running shoes and a digital watch. I do recommend actual running shoes as opposed to cross trainers or tennis shoes. These are best purchased at specialty running stores, where they can recommend models based on your ability and goals. A great new shop in town is the Ann Arbor Running Company, located in the Target Shopping Plaza.
You will begin with a run/walk plan. Do not pay any attention to the mileage. You will use your digital watch to guide your workout. Over time, you will begin to cover more ground in the same amount of time. During most of the training, you will run or “jog” at a pace that you are able to talk. Yes, it will be challenging at first, and you will feel out of breath, but it will become easier as your training progresses. By race day, it will feel natural and you will cross that finish line and feel like a champion. Get out there and be a part of spring!
Here is the Epic 5-week training program, to run or run/walk your first 5K. If this schedule increases the run portion too quickly for you, then stick with a pace that you can maintain but that still feels a bit challenging. Do that for an extra week or two, then increase it the following week.