I have walked lots of 5K events in my adult life. I even challenged myself to walk a 5K every month in 2011. There is something about a 5K event that appeals to me – it’s long enough to be more than my standard, daily walk but not so long that I want to die when I’m done.
Back in 1996 and 1997 I used to run at least one 5K every month, if not more. Of course that was back when I was 140 pounds and ran approximately 35 miles a week, just for fun. I loved running because of the way it made me feel: powerful, fit, & strong. With an extra 100 or so pounds on my frame, it just wasn’t possible for me to run without tremendous pain – I tried – but I never stopped missing how it made me feel.
About a month ago, an advertisement for the Nike Womens Half Marathon came across my desk and I clicked through to read more. The race doesn’t take place until October – my birth month! – so I was fairly confident that I would have enough time to train for walking that distance. Then I read that there’s a time limit on the event in order to get one of the gorgeous Tiffany finisher necklaces. A time limit that would require me to run, not walk, if I wanted to get the necklace.
Hmmm. I started wondering about whether running was an option for me now that I’ve dropped a few pounds, so I popped the speed on my treadmill at the gym up to 4.2mph and jogged for the last 60 seconds of my scheduled walk. I didn’t die nor did I have any pain later on, so I decided to do some research on training programs that would allow me to safely increase my jogging until I could complete an entire 5K event.
That very same day, I received an email directing me to Couch to 5K training tips created by Mo Langley, personal trainer and fitness expert for the 2013 Dana Point Turkey Trot. While Mo’s tips are specifically directed at those intending to walk their first 5K, they’re equally applicable for a novice 5K runner, too. Here are the main points of Mo’s advice:
Before you jump off the couch and walk a 5K, or 3.1 miles, there are a few things to consider:
- Please, please, please check with your doctor or health professional before embarking on any fitness program….yes, even walking!
- Get some good supportive shoes.
- Find a walking buddy, your spouse, child, dog, best friend or neighbor.
- Realistically look at your weekly schedule and schedule your walks accordingly. Find your motivation…why are you doing this?
To read the rest of Mo’s thoughts on training for a 5K, visit the Dana Point Turkey Trot training site.
I checked with my endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) and got his blessing to begin jogging. He advised me to check my blood sugar before and after jogging to make sure that it wasn’t too low, and to always carry an emergency snack with me in case of low blood sugar in the middle of a workout. He also agreed with Mo that good, supportive shoes are a must because diabetic feet sometimes have trouble healing and a blister could put me out of commission for a while.
Armed with all of this good information and the right pair of shoes, I’ve just completed week 4 (of 9) of my Couch to 5K training and am really feeling strong. While my application for the Nike Womens Half Marathon wasn’t accepted – they do a random draw and mine wasn’t chosen – I am still excited about jogging and eventually running a 5K, 10K, and half marathon in the next year. I will, of course, keep you updated on my progress and I’d love to hear about your 5K experiences, be they walking, jogging, or running.