The second annual Run for Kids 5k is just 10 days away! For those of you who are unsure if you’re up for 3.1 miles, our resident fitness expert, Justin Jones, offers some tips and tricks for getting ready in a hurry. Use the guidelines to get your workout plan in place, and then be sure to follow us on Twitter (@changeforkids) for the next 10 days. He’ll be tweeting encouragement, advice and helpful reminders. Already excited about the awesome t-shirt you get at the finish line? REGISTER NOW for Run for Kids.
We can’t wait to see you all there!
SCHEDULE – Try to schedule the workout times for your training now. Over the next ten days, train seven days with three off-days. Get out of bed one morning and see how it feels to do 20 minutes at the gym or go for a jog outside. Maybe try skipping happy hour one day for a workout instead. Invite a friend to train or walk with you. You can base it around a play date and walk or jog together and then play soccer or shoot basketballs afterward.
I tell my students to know what they’re eating and make sure they play every day. I also say, “I hope you’ll be getting better by the next time I see you,” so make sure you pat yourself on the back if you’re able to stick to your commitment or schedule. You could even make a little check-off chart for the next two weeks if that works for you.
WARMING UP vs. STRETCHING – I definitely recommend warming up. The thing with stretching is – if you feel like you need to stretch then go ahead and do it – but you don’t need to be crazy about it. Most people, with all the sitting, are going to want to get the kinks out. Spend a couple minutes walking or going at a slower pace. I like to do a lot of marching in place and climbing, and then lateral steps in different directions. More dynamic work than static stretching.
CROSS-TRAIN – If you aren’t used to running three or four miles, and you feel like you need to get in shape, what you should do is cross-train. Spend 20 minutes on the elliptical machine or bike and then run for 20 minutes. Or maybe you want to swim one day instead of running. It’s more about getting the cardiovascular system ready for that type of endurance. You’re also much less likely to suffer from over-training injuries, especially if you aren’t used to running. It’s also just better to condition your muscles that way – it’s not the same wear and tear on your joints. There’s very little benefit to doing the same exercise over and over again. Plus it’s more fun, and it has to be fun if you’re going to do it.
Make sure that you’re working your muscles in the front and the back of your legs. Your glutes and your hamstrings need to be worked as well as the quads, which are in the front. You should really feel what muscles you’re training and not just letting all the impact be on your joints. Your muscles are what need to do the work.
SPRINT – When you do your training, you might want to do little bursts of speed. If you’re running for 20 minutes, you want to find a set pace and stay there for three minutes and then do a ninety-second sprint, and then come back down to that set point. Give yourself little bursts where you push yourself. It makes your cardiovascular system stronger and trains your muscles in different way.
FOCUS – Music helps – it’s a nice tool to have, especially if you’re in a gym. The thing you have to be careful about is to focus on what your body is doing and on your form. So many times people just put music on and they think, “Great, I’m moving fast.” But actually, every time you train you should be focusing on helping your body function. It’s not amount of time, it’s about doing something quality and helping your body move better. As you get older, you get more tired, and you might start to see that you neglect things and actually develop bad patterns. What you should be doing is working on a good pattern every time.