Your first 5k. How to get there if your just getting off the couch.

If you have just joined Running Mums Australia, welcome, we are glad that you are here! You will find nothing but inspiration with us, encouragement and support. This is why we exist, to empower you as women to run your best.

Have you just started out running and feel that….gee, it is a hard slog? Nothing feels right, your breathing is all over the place, everything hurts, You can’t get your rhythm right and you walk home thinking that it was all too hard? Well, have peace my friend, you are not alone here, and we are going to help you get started.

First up, lets look at running as an art form first. When we think of an art form we think of a painting or a sculpture and you, are the artist. You create the finished product. Yes, it takes hours of hard work and (sometimes) tears, you need the right equipment and you need the right advice or training from other ‘artists’ to create the finished product and you need to want to form something beautiful.

The art work takes time, it can take days, months, even years (lets hope not years) before it all comes together in through an amazing journey and you are finished with your 5km masterpiece.

So first up, arm yourself with the right equipment. You need good shoes. They are vital. Make sure that you go and get fitted properly, preferably from a running shoe store, that know runners. Then you need running gear. There is nothing worse than feeling restricted when running, so choose gear suitable to you that you feel comfortable running in, it doesn’t have to be pricey and showy, just something that makes you feel good.

We already have the other ‘artists’ and ‘advice’ sorted for you in our forum, so ask many many questions of others that have been there before. The support of other RMAers is what makes us stand out from the rest. Even ask if someone else is willing to run the journey with you, you know there is bound to be someone else in Australia that is walking the same steps to 5k as you.

If you are over 40 and not used to exercise at all, it is probably best to go and visit your dr before taking up any activity to be checked out first. Once you have done this and got the OK, you are good to go.

The next step is to take the first step.

Go out for a walk. This walk, shouldn’t be a slow, like your browsing the supermarket shelf walk, and it shouldn’t be an as fast as your legs can go walk either, just take it easy and walk at a nice, moderate, comfortable pace. Perhaps you can walk a 1km, perhaps you can walk 4km, walk what seems comfortable to you. The aim is to get your legs moving in a similar range of motion to what you will be doing while running. You want to build up an endurance for walking and getting your muscles used to exercise. This is the first step in moving into running.

Next time you go for a walk, increase the pace a little and then increase the distance if you can, challenge yourself just that little bit further. Take a friend, focus on your breathing and staying relaxed and comfortable.

Once you are used to walking (and this could take weeks) and feeling like you are ready to start running, its time to put into practice all the advice you have been given. You could dowload the Couch to 5k app, or you could just go with what feels comfortable to you.

Start off by walking like you normally do at a relaxed pace to warm up. Warming up before any exercise is important, as it allows the blood to flow to the muscles preventing any injuries occurring, as is cooling down. You can find some tips on how to warm up here. When you have walked for a while, add in a few easy paced jogs for say 10-30 seconds, then walk for one to two minutes, add in another 10-30 second jog and continue this for the remainder of your walk until you have walked 5km, making sure that in the final km you do at least a few minutes of relaxed walking to cool down.

Make sure you are maintaining correct form when running too. You can find out all about form and technique to make running easy and to stop you getting injuries here.

The next time you go out, you could increase the time you are running and decrease the time you are walking in your intervals, only if you are ready and feel comfortable. Keep practicing this each time you go out until you suddenly find yourself running the entire way. Gradually you will spend less time walking, and more time running. Remember that it takes practice and it won’t happen over night. When you are running in your intervals, make sure it is a relaxed easy pace for you, not a sprint, so that your body gets used to that pace, to be able to gradually build up to running the whole way without walking breaks.

The next thing that an ‘artist’ does is to share their achievement with the world, So perhaps you can share this journey in the forum or take those legs to Parkrun where you can build up some speed in your 5km, or run a race to test yourself out and what you have achieved along with all of your RMA friends. And give yourself a pat on the back, because you did it, and you are a runner. Well done.

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