With the start of the New Year comes a lot of excitement!! I want to thank all of you who have visited the blog for the last two years as we now have over 650,000 visits. I pledge to continue learning and sharing the latest in sports injury prevention and treatment.
January 1, 2012, I started this blog with marathon training for the LA Marathon. This year brings the traditional 5K race to the topic table, especially of my decision last year to create a 5K road race with a special theme, “Emergency Preparedness.” This unique event is the City of Rancho Mirage’s “Race to be Ready,” a 5K/1K Run-Walk and Emergency Preparedness Expo. It will be held March 30, 2014 at the new Rancho Mirage High School where our participants will start and finish inside a stadium. Other than competing in the Olympics, this may be your only life opportunity for this one-of-a-kind experience. Not to mention the wealth of information and hands-on types of experiences to enjoy along the race course and especially in our expo, which will be filled with 10 or so big trucks and trailers giving everyone the opportunity to experience an 8.0 earthquake (The Quake Trailer), a building fire (The Smoke Trailer), or how to extricate someone stuck under fallen debris (cribbing demonstrated by a CERT team).
Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned veteran at this running thing, its always good for a refresher and/or getting up to date with the latest running research. First, we start with the footwear, “how to choose running shoes” and “how to lace your running shoes.” Your feet are the wheels under your chassis and their primary job is absorbing up to six times your body weight running, so be nice to them and give them plenty of support. This means no barefoot or minimalist shoe training runs. My favorite running shoes are the stability and motion control shoes which I recommend for most peoples’ training runs. Lightweight racing flats and cushioned shoes are acceptable on race day for a 5K, 10K or half marathon if you are a competitive athlete or one with no physical injuries or limitations. Otherwise, I recommend running a race in the same type shoes you have been training in, just a newer pair rather than an older pair.
Let’s get you moving now and start with an easy 3-5 minute warm up either walking briskly or jogging at your 50% of max or so level. This gets the blood circulating throughout your body, especially to your legs and feet. I suggest initially lacing your shoes to about 80% of their max tightness and after the warm up, tighten them close to 95%; 10-15 minutes later, you can pull laces to 100% if desired. The best running surfaces are well manicured grass (parks, green belts, golf courses), flat dirt paths, trails and fire roads. The absolute best surface is along the shoreline at low tide in ½” to inch of water, but most of us will have to seek alternate running surfaces. The treadmill is also an excellent training tool; just be sure to pay attention. When all else fails, hit the street (pavement) and as an absolute last resort, the sidewalk. Consider my article, “What side of the road to run on.”
For rookie runners, once you have done your few minute warm up, consider increasing your output from 50% to 75-80%, an exercise level you can still talk to someone, “Hey look at me; I’m a runner.” Try to maintain this for 1-5 minutes, then walk for 1-2 minutes. Try to spend 10-20 minutes total time running for the first few runs, gradually increasing your running time and remaining close to the 80% of max effort level for the first week or two. Your 2-3 month goal to run a 5K race is to get to the point where you can run continuously for 30-40 minutes. Worse case scenario, you run and walk during your first race, but FINISH IT! The trick is gradually increasing one run per week, either in intensity and/or distance, usually no more than 20%. For instance, when you are able to run for 15 minutes a few times, increase one of the week’s three runs by 2-3 minutes, i.e. 15,15,18 minutes, following week 15, 15, 20 minutes, next week 15,15, 22 and so on. After 2-4 weeks, increase the shorter runs 2-3 minutes, i.e. 17, 17, 25 or so, gradually increasing the short and long runs. This is how you can get to the 5K race distance within 2-3 months.
I’ll be glad to field some questions; otherwise I’ll get back to you next month for a follow up blog. As I always say, “Be sure to have fun; moderate exercise definitely helps you live longer!” So easy does it, take your time and enjoy the ride.
Dr. Paul R. Copeskey, D.C., C.C.F.C.