Kapow! We’ve just launched the new self-paced version of our 5K Beginners Course. It’s the same 8-week killer training plan complete with wild cheer squad and coaching support, but now you can sign up at any time. So if you spy an interesting race, you can start training whenever suits you.
To celebrate the launch, we asked our Alumni peeps what they love about the 5K distance…
“The thing I like about 5k is that it’s shorter than the 10k.” – Marci, USA
“You can do them frequently without worry of lengthy ‘recovery’ period, so can compare progress across them.” – Marci again, on a more serious note 😉
“5k is actually a fair distance, not just a stroll round the block, so you can feel a real sense of achievement when you cross that finish line.” – Carole, USA
“I love that I never feel slow or out of place during a 5k event – there are so many people out there of all ages and abilities just giving it a crack” – Georgia, Australia
“The great thing about the 5K Course is that it works. All you need to do is follow the workouts as written and as scheduled. After a mere eight weeks, spending only three hours a week or so, you’ll be able to do 5K, even if you never imagined you’d get that far. It’s magic!” – Katherine, USA
“5km is so do-able in so many different ways. You can run-walk, you can race on the road, you can trot through the forest, you can throw yourself over obstacles and you can even push a buggy round.” – Avril, UK
“I can get out and see a really good amount of my neighbourhood without giving my life over to training!” – Nicky, UK
And here’s Avril again, summing up beautifully what the 5K means for Up & Runners:
“It’s a travel group with a running problem!”
At Up & Running we have an efficient and awesome schedule that Shauna created to make operations run smoothly. But when work and life get in the way I get flustered and the first thing I have difficulty keeping up with is writing. We don’t like to slap stuff up here for the heck of it; we like to write and create content that’s helpful and meaningful. As I scrambled around on Monday playing catch up I thought maybe I should be real and show what my day looks like.
This last weekend I worked in Jesolo, Italy organizing the pacing team for the Moonlight Half Marathon and 10K.
It’s not a difficult job, it just takes time and patience to herd people around. I always choose pacers that I can work well with and that can follow simple instructions. It helps if they’re cute and can give you a thumbs up before the start.
I love the Moonlight Half race because it’s a sign that summer is right around the corner. The 13 miler sold out this year with 4000 runners. They also added in a 10k which turned out beautifully.
We added in pacers for the 10k which runners seemed to appreciate. Barbara was our 1 hour pacer and she said she was surrounded by people for most of the race.
So I worked in Jesolo from Friday morning to Saturday night, finishing at midnight. I slept until 8AM, had breakfast and then drove the 250km home.
Our long year of my husband working down south will end in a few weeks (thank God!) but he still had to get on a train that night to go back to work. So Sunday afternoon was spent being together and relaxing. After he left I got to bed early to get a start on Monday.
I often get asked how I “do” it all. I don’t think I’m able to do everything I want but I give it my best, whatever that happens to be at the moment.
6.20 AM – Alarm goes off, I hit snooze a few times but I’m up by 6.30. I wake my son and we have breakfast together. We’re out the door by 7.40 for him to start school at 8. I drop him off and then head straight back home. I straighten up the kitchen then head to my office, ten feet away.
8.30 AM – I have to make a list for myself every dang day or else I fall behind. I’ve tried apps and programs but always come back to pen and paper. I love crossing stuff off and carrying my diary with me to jot things down. Whatever I don’t finish gets pushed to the next day.
I do use a timing app that I am loving called ATracker. I play around with the colours and icons. I like seeing where I spend my time so I can tweak it and improve (hopefully). I also tend to think that I’m a slacker… but in reality I’d just finished a 50 hour work week. Not a slacker.
I work until about 1PM then prepare lunch, ready for when Evan gets off the bus by 1.40. I cook quick dishes like risotto or pasta with sauces that I’ve pre-prepared. By 2PM I’m back to work.
3PM – Since I was away working for the weekend I needed to get back out on the bike and into the sunshine before the forecasted storms rolled in. I covered 40km in an hour and a half… huzzah!
5PM – Evan’s yoga class is conveniently next to a shopping center so I did a quick grocery shopping for the week. After yoga we drove to the park where I train a running group.
7PM – I’ve been training this group for an oncology center for three months now. Their aim is a half marathon in October. They’re doing really well and are starting to be able to “run” rather than “survive” a workout.
9PM – Dinner! Evan is not a picky eater so whatever I put on the table is fine with him. Earlier I’d bought steak burgers which is steak ground up into a burger as opposed to cheap hamburger meat. The taste and flavour is out of this world! It’s more expensive but one each was enough. I also chopped up potatoes and made oven-baked french fries.
I washed dishes and straightened up while watching a triathlon race on TV. I answered a few emails that had floated in during the afternoon but then closed my computer.
10.30PM – I got in bed with a book but I don’t remember reading anything. I was sound asleep and hoping to get in my 8 hours of sleep before that alarm went off again to start another day.
The past month’s training has been a great lesson in keeping steady, without letting the ebbs and flows influence my mood or my intentions too much. I’d like to say “at all” but being the ball of emotional that I am, that’s impossible. There have been a few steps back, but the many steps forward definitely won out in the end.
Some days I had to reprogram my mood so that the angst in the pit of my stomach didn’t drag on for days or weeks. I reprogram by sitting quietly for ten to fifteen minutes, meditating to clear my mind. Just breathing and recharging. I admit that I did reach a peak critical moment with a few tears involved. I was trying to get some hugs and attention from my husband, a sort of “please feel sorry for me moment”.
Thankfully he wasn’t buying into it. We were on the couch and the television was on the news with the earthquake disaster in Nepal. He pointed it out to me and told me that there was some serious stuff happening around the world and that my problems were absolutely resolvable. Then he gave me a hug and kiss and went to water the garden. Instant reality check. I snapped out of it and moved forward.
Once a year I have a sports check up. They sit me on a spin bike, hook me up to a fancy monitoring machine and have me pedal until I reach anaerobic threshold. This takes about ten minutes and then when they yell “STOP!” they measure how long it takes for my heart rate to turn to normal. I once again passed the test with flying colours. The doctor even said that I was really well trained since my heart rate was back to normal within a minute and a half. But… she wanted to have my heart checked with an echocardiogram.
I’ve always had an innocent heart murmur. Every time I’ve done this test for the last twenty-five years they listen to my heart with a stethoscope and say, “Yep, heart murmur”. Since I’m getting on in years I guess the doctor just wanted to make sure that things were still A-Okay. So she set up an appointment for the next week.
I brought my husband with me and while they went over my heart with the Echo stick we were both glued to the screen. It was fascinating to see my beating heart, live! I could see the chambers opening and closing and the blood flowing through. The technician showed me what was causing the murmur: a very slight reflux of blood when the valves closed. But she said it was all normal and that my heart was very healthy. I didn’t think there was going to be a problem but it’s comforting to know that I can train without worries.
THE CONTINUING KNEE SAGA: I promise we are almost at the end of this! I’ve been working a lot on strengthening my feet and ankles, specifically the left one where I have the knee problem. Things are getting better, even if at a snails pace. I work with a balance board every day, I wear my five fingers during the daytime when out and about. If I’m at home I am always barefoot and break out into a Stork whenever I stand up from my work desk. When I go for a run my husband tapes my knee and this also seems to help a lot. You’re probably asking what the hearts are for. Well, I took the photo from above, leaning over. The effect of the taping squeezing my knee and my skin scrunching up created this horrible Frankenstein look. So I blocked it out for your visual enjoyment. Believe me, it was really unattractive.
I’ve been working with a metronome again and this also seems to be helping. I have an innate slow stride rate that needs to be constantly tweaked. I’ve absolutely let it go in the last year so I am really working on getting it back to a decent level. It’s easy to do if I just follow my own instructions!
While training for my Ironman last year I did a lot of research on hydration. I’d heard all sorts of horror stories about people cramping up into balls on the run course and muscle spasms that left permanent scars. Then I read Dr. Tim Noakes’ book Waterlogged and felt more confident that I didn’t have to drink gallons of water in preparation for my race.
In the end I was out on that course for almost fifteen hours but I drank only water during the swim and bike. During the marathon run it was water and then Coca-Cola. I did take a precautionary Noakes suggestion of putting just a pinch of salt on my tongue at the first aid station of the run. My body had the signal salt was available if needed. It worked because I did not have a single cramp.
Dr. Noakes has it in for the sports drink industry, and rightly so. These days the ingredients in the plastic bottle of a supplementation drink is just a mix of sugars, water, salt with a dash of colour to match the flavour advertised on the label.
My own hydration plan these days is to have a half a litre of water upon waking and then drink to thirst for the rest of the day. I always bring water on my bike rides and even keep a bottle poolside for when I want to take a swig. But running is where I sweat the most and sometimes crave a little something more than water after a workout. With warm weather upon us I’ve started to mix my own post workout sport drink.
Homemade sports drinks are ridiculously easy to make. Plus, you can invent any flavour you want and customise the ingredient ratio.
Just throw it all into a blender and let it whirl away for a minute, then serve in a glass.
My favorite flavors are:
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