Whether you’re a novice runner or someone who is looking to up the ante by dominating their first Spartan Sprint, to become a better runner you have to — you guessed it — run!
Form comes first, so we’ll assume you’ve got that part nailed down. Otherwise, your risk of injury goes up. Bad form can lead to compromised joints and tendons, achy feet and shins, as well as hip or lower back pain. In other words, if you think your form needs help or you’ve run a few times and experience soreness other than muscle fatigue, get your form checked out before progressing. And then use these five tips to crush your 5K race:
1. Find The Best Running Shoes For Your Feet
Take the guesswork out by visiting a specialty shoe store to get your feet sized correctly. Some even have on-site tests that measure your gait and the angles your feet hit the ground to determine which shoe model would be best for you. If you’re looking to hit the trail or compete in 5K mud runs, make sure you bring that up. If you opt out of relying on a specialist, narrow your search by filtering out shoe models that don’t best serve your needs (i.e. a CrossFit shoe isn’t what you want to use for your trail running endeavors).
2. Start Slow
Plan to start slow and then progress in small increments as you work up to achieving a decent pace for the 5K race. To make it there without getting injured, it’s not a bad idea to work with a trainer or coach. Many gyms offer to coach you or offer clinics to help runners get into better shape. However, if that’s not an option, a general guideline is to train at least two to three days a week for about 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
If you can help it, avoid comparing your time or your training to other people. First, get to and finish the 5K in the best shape possible, and then you can come up with a plan to improve your time.
It’s essential — especially for people with office jobs who sit all day. Doing so can cause the hips to get tight, which can lead to injury. A dynamic warm-up routine will prepare your entire body — not just your legs — for maximum flexibility as well as help you to stay injury-free while you are training. Try these at about 10 seconds each: jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, walking lunges, and knee hugs to get your heart rate up as you get limber.
4. Jog Before You Run
After a good warm-up, transition to running by walking briskly or jogging for a few minutes first. This step will get the blood flowing and create elasticity in the joints. As you progress, consider adding a sprint workout or two into your weekly routine.
5. Lift Weights
Pair a strict weightlifting routine with your running routine to add muscle, improve core strength, and build up endurance in the calves, quads and glutes. By mixing in weightlifting on alternate days, you achieve a well-rounded training schedule in preparation for a 5K run.
6. Stay Hydrated
This is crucial and cannot be stressed enough. To perform at your best you need to avoid dehydration. Remember to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your training to keep your body hydrated and healthy. P4’s workout supplement Energy Formula is a fantastic choice for both an energy boost and hydration. Energy Formula was engineered with a fast-acting carb loader, caffeine, and BCAAs to help provide you with sustained energy levels throughout your training and 5K run. Best of all, Energy Formula is NSF Certified for Sports, which means any substances flagged by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) were not used in the formula and that claims made on the label have been verified by an outside third party.