Earlier this week, I told you about my lack of fitness finesse. Since then, I’ve been doing something about it.
On Tuesday, I met with YWCA York fitness director Tara Neff to set up a plan for how I’ll go from couch potato to 5K champion in about six weeks. OK, so maybe champion is aiming high, but if I can cross the finish line, I consider that a victory.
Goal: Tara thinks because I’ve been working out doing yoga and Jillian Michaels DVDs that I’ll be able to run for 20 minutes straight during the April 26 Race Against Racism/Splash of Color. The un-timed Splash of Color 5K is a great way to get involved if you’re a beginner.
There were other suggestions Tara mentioned that I’ve been trying to follow this week.
While the treadmill is good, I should also try to get outside. The wind, ground surface, incline and other factors can make going from treadmill running to outdoor running very different, she said.
I can continue my other workouts, such as my DVDs, in my between days. But if I’m feeling too tired or Jillian Michaels makes my calves too tight, it’s OK to just take a break on those days, Tara said.
Diet: We’re not going to focus on losing weight, just getting consist exercise to prepare for the 5K.
Tara suggests making sure I stay hydrated, drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. I should also limit sugar, because it can wear me down, Tara said. Breakfast also should be a regular part of each day, as it will fuel me up.
Attire: My shoes are about two years old, so Tara suggests I pitch those. Shoes older than six months to a year probably should be replaced, she said.
With colder weather still creeping around, I also should plan to wear layers when running outside. Bulky clothes can slow me down and make me overheat once I get running, so well fitting layers work best.
Don’t make common mistakes
There are many mistakes that people can make when planning for what they consider a simple 5K, Tara said.
People often try too much too soon and they injure themselves with calf strains, shin splints and lower back pain because of bad form, she said.
People who don’t build up gradually also get frustrated because they can’t do as much as they’d like.
Enjoy the benefits
Other than a pair of sneakers, running is a free form of exercise.
Tara also said it offers many benefits, including cardio endurance, which strengthens the heart; it’s a weight bearing exercise, which is good for the bones; it deceases blood pressure and cholesterol, and it’s a great way to relax, providing a peacefulness similar to meditation.
I feel calmer already.
So, that’s my update to get everyone up to speed. Be sure to check back every Tuesday between now and April 26 to see my progress and maybe plan to join me!