Your 5K Course questions answered

Julia at Starbucks
Julia getting her pre-run Starbucks fix during a visit to Edinburgh. No Starbucks in Italy, you see! 🙂

We’ve had some further questions about the 21 March 5K Beginners Course and thought we’d share the answers on the blog. If your question isn’t covered here or on the FAQ page, please drop us a line at hello@upandrunningonline.org or get in touch on Facebook – we’re here to help!

  1. Am I too unfit and/or too heavy to do the 5K Course?
  2. Can I do the workouts on a treadmill?
  3. I’ll be traveling for for a week or two during the Course. Is it okay if I can’t keep up with the course schedule?
  4. I’m a man! Can I sign up for this course?
  5. I’m already cool with the 5K distance. When are your 10K, half marathon or marathon courses starting?

1. Am I too unfit and/or too heavy to do the 5K course?
First and foremost, we can’t stress enough that you should speak to your doctor before starting an exercise programme.

The 5K Beginners Course is designed for true beginners. Thousands of women of all shapes, sizes and ages have successfully completed it with Julia’s in-person clinics. It doesn’t matter if you’re completely new to exercise or if you’ve already dabbled with running – the Course will meet you wherever you are right now.

Over the the years with her offline clients, Julia has found that some don’t feel ready to run right away. But they really want to do the course to build up their fitness, have a goal to commit to, and enjoy being part of a team of women getting fit together!

So with this in mind, Julia’s workout instructions are what she calls “free form style”. For example, if she instructs you to “run 1 mile in free form style”, you can make up this distance in any way you choose. It could be all walking if that’s where you are, or a combination of slow/fast walking, walk/running, or plain old running. The idea is you listen to your body and walk if/when you feel you need to do.

The 5K Beginners Course also builds up very gradually each week, so even if you’re not running that much, you’re still walking further and faster every week. Your fitness will gradually improve as your body gets used to this regular exercise. You could be running a lot sooner than you might think! The key thing is to make sure you’ve got a good pair of running shoes and a sports bra; and of course, follow the workout instructions carefully.

For further inspiration, check out the amazing Anji‘s story on our Testimonials page. She was 270lb when she first trained with Julia. She recently left this glowing commment on Shauna’s blog:

To anyone who doubts a chunks-a-hoy girl can do this, DO NOT DOUBT! Last time Julia helped me out when I was 270 pounds (less than two short years ago!) and now, I’m at 190-ish (and have joined the army!). You can definitely do it and with the two women being amazing cheerleaders, you won’t get discouraged (and, if you do, it won’t be for long, I guarantee you!.

2. Can I do the workouts on a treadmill?
The course is designed for outdoor activity but we understand that this isn’t always possible. Particularly if you live somewhere miserable, cold, dark and wet (we’re looking right at you, Scotland). Doing a workout on a treadmill is better than no workout at all!

Running outdoors and running on a treadmill are two quite different activities. Running on a treadmill might feel easier, because it actually is. First of all you’re indoors, so there’s no wind resistance. The machine also does some of the work for you since there is a mechanical belt rolling beneath your feet and you don’t actually have to use your own force (hamstrings and glutes) to propel yourself forward. The only way to slightly compensate this is to set your treadmill incline at 1%.

If possible, try to think of the treadmill as a last resort option and not a regular practice.

3. I’ll be traveling for for a week or two during the program. Is it okay if I can’t keep up with the course schedule?
We understand that everyone has busy schedules and it may not always possible to fit in the three workouts every week if you’re on the road. That said, we strongly encourage you to carve out this time for yourself – 45-50 minutes, three times a week. You deserve it! If you’re traveling for work, there’s nothing like exercise to help clear your mind when your work life life is hectic. If you’re traveling for pleasure, running can be a great way to check out your destination.

Be imaginative and flexible. Why not bring your running shoes along with you? Maybe you could wake up a bit earlier and fit in a morning session in your hotel gym? Or search online for public parks or running routes before you leave? Many times it’s just a matter of being organised and shifting things around a little.

But if you really can’t fit in the workout, don’t worry if you fall behind. You’ll have access to the Up & Running course blog for a whole month after the course finishes, so there is plenty of time to catch up in your own time.

4. I’m a man! Can I sign up for this course?
The content of the Spring 2011 5K Beginners Course is geared towards women and many of the topics we will be covering are women-specific, so this session is for women only. We appreciate your interest and we’re keeping track of all the enquiries we’re getting from men. If the interest continues to be there we’ll include a co-ed course soon. So if you’re a man out there and keen to get running with us, please get in touch!

5. I’m already cool with the 5K distance. When are your 10K, half marathon and marathon courses starting?
Stay tuned – we have plans for other courses later this year! If you’d like us to let you know when they get started, you can sign up for our newsletter.