With the run season now upon us, we thought there was no better time like the present to start planning and preparing, with a running for beginners guide. So, where to start? We all have our own individual goals whether it’s to take on 5kms, 10kms, 21kms or a full-blown 42km marathon. Whatever your goal may be, we have the training tips to ensure you reach it and we’re dishing them out in a four part series with the help of Renae Jones, the Head Coach and Owner of the Brisbane Run Squad.
Part 1: How to conquer 5kms
Before you get started, first things first… it’s time to get clear on your ‘why’. Why did you decide to commit to this? Are you starting over after a brief hiatus? Are you aiming for a longer distance? Are you trying to set a positive example for your friends and family? Whatever your ‘why’ may be, this philosophy will be your motivation and inspiration that will help steer you towards your goal!
Who is this best suited to?
I think everybody can run 5kms if they believe they can and put in the required effort, from gym junkies who don’t believe in cardio to people who haven’t exercised since high school and even retirees who are looking for a new challenge.
What’s the average time it would take to prepare for 5kms?
This is a tough question as everybody’s physical backgrounds are so different. For a semi active person (someone who isn’t 100% sedentary and walks to the train station or soccer with their kids in the backyard) generally 10 weeks is a good amount of time. This allows your body the time to slowly adjust to the new activity, which is particularly important for running, as it’s a high impact activity. It usually takes about four weeks to form an exercise habit and routine, so aiming for ten weeks allows you some ups and downs plus six good weeks of routine running.
What would a general training schedule look like for a 5km race?
Based on the assumption that people with a 5km goal in mind are just starting out their running lifestyle, I would recommend three running specific sessions a week (which should start as slow runs/walks that you slowly build up) and some other types of cross training. Cross training is any other physical activity that is going to work your mind and body to help increase your cardio conditioning and strength for running. This includes things like aerobics, yoga, Pilates, swimming, kayaking and surfing.
As above I recommend starting 10 weeks before your scheduled event and starting with intervals like four minutes of walking followed by 30 seconds of running for 20 minutes and then build it by decreasing the walking and increasing the running. A great way to prepare for a 5km event is to join a beginner run squad or program so you have structure, accountability, expertise and goals!
Do you need any specific gear or gadgets to train?
I believe running should be fun and motivating so for some people this means purchasing new gear so they feel bright and cheery and for others it might mean a GPS watch to ensure they are on track. The only thing I would absolutely recommend is a new pair of shoes. They don’t have to be expensive and besides motivation they will give your feet, ankles and legs the best start they need for the new movement. Some people also love running apps on their smart phones so they can track their progress (try the LJ App).
What sorts of foods should you be eating for this level of training?
As a 5km run is the equivalent to 30-40 minutes, I don’t believe you have to make radical changes to your existing diet, however I also believe that there is no better time to start eating healthy than when you embark on a new lifestyle! So why not start by adding a healthy breakfast to your usually lonely long black, swapping out your morning donut for a homemade energy bar or adding more veggies to your nightly portions!
Are you ready to run?
Renae Jones is the Head Coach and Owner of the Brisbane Run Squad which has been inspiring, coaching and educating Brisbane Runners for the last six years. With four university degrees, Renae is passionate about constantly researching and furthering her knowledge, keeping up to date with the latest trends in running science and nutrition. Renae has represented Australia in age group Olympic Distance triathlons and is an accomplished on road and off-road runner from 5km-100km events. Renae’s life and career goals are to inspire and educate her children and as many people as possible to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.