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Ready, Set, Go! 5K Training Blueprint
A 6-Week Plan to Get Fit & Run Your First Race
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The Ready, Set, Go! 5K Training Blueprint offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of health conditions. Please consult your physician or other healthcare professional before beginning or changing any fitness program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs; especially if you have a history of any of the following: ■ High blood pressure (you or your family) ■ Heart disease (you or your family) ■ Chest pain when exercising ■ Chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity ■ Smoking ■ Have high cholesterol ■ Obesity ■ Currently pregnant ■ Bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. Stop exercising immediately if you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have read in this document. Current health and fitness research may exist that could impact the educational information provided, and advice found here may not be based on the most recent findings or developments. Therefore, the use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.
Everyone has an actual heart, but “having heart” is something entirely different. It means possessing an intangible desire to achieve your goals, a will to succeed, and a never-quit attitude. The great Muhammad Ali once said, “Impossible is nothing.” And when it comes to your training, we think that’s everything. Welcome to Ready, Set, Go! 5K The 5K race, at 3.1 miles in length, is one of the most popular running races from beginner to advanced abilities. For the beginner, this is a great way to give running a try and have fun in a group setting, and for the advanced runner it is perfect for establishing short-term goals and working towards longer races and a faster pace. You have before you a 5K plan that will get you physically and mentally ready to run a successful race. And while your running improves, you’ll also shape up and improve your overall health. Fit Marriage Coach Nick Westbrook, CSCS has developed this plan from many years of experience running himself and helping others achieve their fitness goals. Ready, Set, Go! 5K is for you whether this is your first, second, third or your tenth 5K. Why Run a 5K? ✴ You want to challenge yourself ✴ Running with your spouse instead of away from them intrigues you ✴ Training for a specific goal keeps you motivated ✴ Supporting a specific charity event makes you feel good ✴ Crossing the finish line is an accomplishment you’ll cherish
✴ Completing an event with a friend is a great bonding experience ✴ You want to better your previous Personal Record time This 6-week program has been laid out so that you can achieve your goal of completing a 5K without spending endless hours only running. Better yet, you and your spouse can do it together to enhance your recreational intimacy. If you have kids, bring them along and make this a family event! You’ll be amazed at how fun running a 5K is for the entire family. Program Overview A 5K may seem intimidating at first, but with the Ready, Set, Go! 5K Blueprint you will be ready to achieve your goal of completing a successful 5K. In this program, we will be using run/walk strategies to prepare your legs for the challenge of running a 5K. We have added a Core Strength workout that will help strengthen the most important part of our body. As an added bonus, we have also included a stretching routine that you can use to briefly cool down after your workouts. Finally, a basic yoga routine is provided to keep you flexible and limber and to prevent injuries while you train for your 5K. This is the most comprehensive 5K program out there. In just six weeks, you’ll have trained your entire body...not just your legs. Equipment Needed You’re at the starting line of a new adventure. Congratulations! Before we start, let’s cover some pieces of equipment that you will need in order to get the most out of your 5K training. Ultimately, these pieces of equipment will help you complete your first 5K in top form.
1. Running Shoes - Don’t underestimate the importance of your shoes. These are what will keep you feeling good and prevent injury. If you have some old shoes that you think might work, don’t use them. 2. Interval Timer/Stop Watch - You can get great interval timers for your iPhone or Droid, so check your app store and find the ones you like. If you don’t have a fancy phone, just buy a stopwatch for a few bucks and keep track of your own work/rest intervals. Having this tool will help you when you are doing your run/walk intervals as well as the Core Strength Circuits. 3. Water Bottle - Make sure when you are going out on your walks and then runs that you have fluids available. Staying hydrated is a must if you want to feel great and perform at your best. That’s it! You’re at the starting line and you hear over the loud speaker... Ready... Now it’s time to get Set.
"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that." -Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder
Motivation and the will to see this program through is going to be a big factor in having a so-so 5K running experience or a great 5K race. Are you willing to get up each day of the program and do what is necessary? Do you have goals set? Is there a specific reason why you want to run this race? We’re here to help you with these questions and more. It is our goal to see you succeed! In doing so, we hope you begin to find a lifelong passion for fitness and health. Motivation doesn’t happen on its own. You need to plan for your success just like we have planned out what you need to do over the next 6 weeks to prepare for your 5K. Here are 7 tips to help keep you motivated: 1. Commit To The Plan. The excitement that occurs when you begin a program is awesome! You launch out of the starting blocks with everything you have. Unfortunately, for some of you, that excitement will fizzle out and it makes it difficult to continue on your 5K journey. So how can you keep that excitement alive for the duration of the Ready, Set, Go! 5K program? 2. Set Measurable & Specific Goals. For the purposes of this program, you should set goals that will keep you motivated and excited about completing your 5K. It could be as simple as physically completing your first 5K, a specific time you want to complete the event in, running the entire course without walking or stopping, or it could be a specific weight loss goal you’ll achieve during the 6-week program.
3. Track Your Progress by Writing It Down. Print out the program and after each workout that you complete, put a check mark by it or cross it out. Add comments that will help you during your next workout. This will be a visible reminder of what you have accomplished thus far. Make it known to your family and friends that you are training for a 5K. Share your experiences and blog about it. If you have a GPS device, track your run/walks and upload them so you can monitor your time, distance, average speed, and calories burned. 4. Focus on Your “Personal Best”. In today’s world, we are always looking at how well the other person did. It’s time for you to look at yourself in the mirror and become the best version of you that you can become. There are many ways that you can grow as an individual. When it comes to running a 5K, it could be setting a time for yourself and beating it on race day or maybe it’s competing in a particularly hilly 5K to really challenge yourself. During your core strength workouts, you can add weights, bands, or a medicine ball to each exercise to add an element of difficulty when you are ready to push yourself and achieve a new level of fitness. 5. Build Your Support Team. Having a support group around you can make the difference when it comes to putting your very best effort into your Ready, Set, Go! 5K training. These are folks who will be there to pick you up when you are down, and you should be selective to choose individuals who will stick by you. Your spouse makes a great accountability partner! The social aspect of running is one reason many get into it. If you are not training with your spouse or a close friend, look for a local running club you can meet up with if your schedule permits.
6. Find a Mantra. Pick a short phrase that you say over and over in your head to keep you motivated. You can even yell it out if you have to, as long as it keeps you fired up and moving forward! Finding a mantra is as easy as finding a quote in a magazine, listening to your iPod and hearing something that resonates with you, or getting words of inspiration from your spouse. 7. Prepare for Obstacles Along the Way. Life happens. We are busy folks with jobs, families, other activities, and more. If we don’t prepare ourselves and how we will get our workouts in when obstacles happen, more times than not we simply won’t do our workouts. Instead of focusing on how you won’t be able to complete your workout, refocus your energy on how you can make it happen. Maybe you can’t do the entire workout because you’ve had a really long day at work or a meeting came up. Instead of spending 30 minutes on the workout, just do 15 minutes worth. If you can’t be outside, use your stairs or run in place if that’s what it takes. Just get something in on the workout days so that you keep moving forward. This isn’t all or nothing! Completing a 5K is about the journey, not the destination and stuff will happen along the way. It’s up to you to decide if the journey stops or continues on. Don’t stop!
"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will." -Vince Lombardi
Before we get into the details of the Training Blueprint, it’s time to go ahead and commit fully to running your first 5K race. In most metropolitan areas, there are numerous events on most weekends and you can find them by simply doing an internet search. It’s definitely preferable to sign up for an official event where you’ll be joined by lots of other runners and walkers. The energy of a 5K race can be fantastic! However, if you can’t find a “real” race close enough to your home, you can always map out a course and do your own. This is a six-week program, so you should plan to run your race about 6-7 weeks from now. Go ahead and sign up, put it on your calendar and get started on your training so that date becomes extra special to you!
Pulse and Target Heart Rate
The training program that follows is based largely on the proven heart rate training approach. Let’s go over some of the basics to ensure this is really easy for you to follow over the course of the next six weeks. What Is Your Pulse? Your pulse is your heart rate, or the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Pulse rates vary from person to person. Your pulse is lower when you are at rest and increases when you exercise (more oxygen-rich blood is needed by the body when you exercise). Knowing how to take your pulse can help you evaluate your exercise program and maintain the proper intensity level as you train.
How to Take Your Pulse 1. Place the tips of your index, second and third fingers on the palm side of your other wrist below the base of the thumb. Or, place the tips of your index and second fingers on your lower neck on either side of your windpipe. 2. Press lightly with your fingers until you feel the blood pulsing beneath your fingers. You may need to move your fingers around slightly up or down until you feel the pulsing. 3. Use a watch with a second hand, or look at a clock with a second hand. 4. Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds. Multiply this number by six to get your heart rate (pulse) per minute.
Count your pulse: _____ beats in 10 seconds x 6 = _____ beats/minute
As an alternative, you can use a heart rate monitor, which typically utilizes a strap around your chest to continuously monitor your pulse. This is a very convenient way to track your heart rate, but it also costs money, so don’t feel like you need to purchase a monitor for this training. What Is a Normal Pulse? Normal Heart Rate at Rest for: • Children (ages 6 - 15) is 70 – 100 beats per minute • Adults (age 18 and over) is 60 – 100 beats per minute
What Is Maximum Heart Rate? The maximum heart rate is the (theoretical) highest heart rate achieved during maximal exercise. One simple method to calculate your predicted maximum heart rate, uses this formula:
220 - your age = predicted maximum heart rate
What Is Target Heart Rate? ✴ You gain the most benefits and lessen the risks when you exercise in your target heart rate zone. Usually this is when your exercise heart rate (pulse) is 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. In some cases, your health care provider may decrease your target heart rate zone to begin with 50 percent. ✴ It is not recommended to exercise above 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Intensity at that level increases both cardiovascular and orthopedic risk without providing a significant additional benefit from the exercise. ✴ When beginning an exercise program, you may need to gradually build up to a level that is within your target heart rate zone, especially if you have not exercised regularly before. If the exercise feels too hard, slow down. You will reduce your risk of injury and enjoy the exercise more if you don't try to over-do it! ✴ To find out if your are exercising in your target zone (between 60 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate), stop exercising and check your 10-second pulse. If your pulse is below your target zone, increase your rate of exercise. If your pulse is above your target zone, decrease your rate of exercise. ✴ Always check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program. Your health care provider can help you find a program and target heart rate zone that matches your needs, goals and physical condition.
Example: a 40-year-old's predicted maximum heart rate is 180 beats/ minute. His 60% target heart rate is 108, and he is hitting this 60% target when he counts his pulse for 10 seconds and gets 17 beats. Use this table to find your maximum heart rate along with the 60% and 85% target heart rate levels, which we’ll be using for our training:
Please note that some medications and medical conditions may affect your heart rate. If you are taking medications or have a medical condition (such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes), always ask your doctor if your maximum heart rate/target heart rate will be affected. If so, your heart rate ranges for exercise should be prescribed by your doctor or an exercise specialist. Your actual maximum heart rate is most accurately determined by a medically supervised maximal graded exercise test.
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