Written By: Shannon Boyce
It's good to have goals. They keep us motivated, push us forward, and provide a much-needed sense of purpose. Those goals might be small and simple or grandiose. It varies from person to person and moment to moment. Ideally? You want to have a mixture of both short term and long term goals. (One example? Finishing your summer book list vs. buying your first house.) Speaking of goals... there are many on my own life list. Like to run a 5K this summer. Care to join me? Keep reading to find out how you can check this particular goal off of your to do list.
Don't Rush The Journey. There are many different fitness levels. Some people avoid physical activity as much as possible. Others love to stay active. It doesn't matter where you fall on the spectrum. The most important thing is to go slow. The worst possible thing you can do? Rush the journey. Even if you are a strong runner... there is a big difference between a brisk jog and a 5K run. Take it slow. Remember, you are training. Start by walking around the block. The next day? Go for a short jog. (Think five to ten minutes.) Add an extra minute of running time each day. This process will help you build endurance and prevent over training.
Make Good Use Of Technology. These days? It is easier than ever to keep track of your progress. There are gadgets like FitBit that track your heart rate, steps, and total calorie burn. Then there are apps for your phone or tablet. They allow you to keep track of how long you run, your running speed, route, calorie burn, and more. Make good use of them! This will make it easier to see how close you are to your 5K goal. It will also help you feel good about your day-to-day progress. A tip? Don't be afraid to hit the share button after you complete a run. (This will share your run length and time to all of your social media pages.) That's right. This is your chance to show off a little. After all, you deserve to!
Understand The Importance Of Breathing. Breathing. It sounds easy. And for most of us, it is. Until you start to exert yourself. Then it can seem difficult to breathe fully and completely. To run that 5K, focus on your breathing as much as possible. Find a steady rhythm (in through your nose and out through your mouth) and stick to it. This will prevent stomach cramping, help correct poor posture, and give you a wider range of motion. It's true! Proper breathing during exercise has been found to improve overall posture (both during and after a workout) and make it easier to move. Not to mention the fact that proper breathing reduces stress levels. That in turn leads to reduced anxiety and sometimes, even weight loss.
Other 5K Tips And Tricks:
- Appreciate that post-run high. Many people experience what is called a "runners high" after going for a job. You suddenly feel happy and downright invincible. Use this as motivation to keep going.
- Give your goal a timeline. Determine a realistic date to run your 5K. It might be the day of a scheduled 5K race (there are events happening in every city, small and large. Take a look and see what you can find) or a day in the not-so-distant future that you have free to run.
- Have a mantra. Feeling tired? Exhausted? Want to give up entirely? Start repeating your mantra either out loud or in your head. Say it over and over again until you get your motivation back. A few examples include: I can do this. I am strong and powerful. Nothing will stop me from achieving my goals. This strategy is simple but oh-so-effective.
Add a 5K run to your summer to do list. It is a great way to challenge yourself and focus on fitness. Will you be running a 5K this summer?