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The 5k Spring Challenge

I absolutely hated running but wanted to be able to run a 5k. I truly thought this wasn't possible, but guess what? It was!

Last spring I signed up for my first 5 km run with no intention of getting a certain time, but I wanted to run the entire distance. I started training in late March/April and completed my first 5k in the end of May and 10k in September (at the Toronto Zoo - highly recommended).

The spring is just around the corner and I am already looking into what 10k runs I can sign up for. Set a goal and surprise yourself, it's an amazingly rewarding feeling.

Today's guest blogger Tory Ambrose has a master's degree in applied human nutrition, is currently studying to be a registered nurse, and is a 50 km + marathon runner....yes 50 km (she's incredible). This post will walk you through the steps to get yourself running this spring – whether you want to be able to run for 10 minutes without stopping or run your next 5k!

Step 1 – Proper Equipment (aka clothes and shoes)

As you may have guessed, running doesn’t require too much equipment. However, it does require a few things to make it more enjoyable and most importantly, safe! Shoes are important to prevent injury, especially when beginning running. Make sure that you have shoes meant for running (not cross-training) and that your shoes are relatively new and haven’t worn out too much from age.

The clothes you wear while running can also make a difference. Avoiding cotton fabrics and wearing performance fabrics will help take sweat off your skin while working out and avoid uncomfortable running.

Step 2 – Start running, but take it easy!

When you start running, it can be tempting to want to run as fast as you can until you run out of steam. A better strategy is to start off slow. Running is best when you enjoy it, so torturing yourself by trying to run too hard will not help you to continue running! You can always improve speed, but hating your runs because you are pushing yourself too hard will only lead to disappointment. Instead, try starting off at a very slow pace, or try walk/run intervals. A common interval is to run for 5 minutes and then walk for 1 minutes. Continue this interval until your desired total time. After you master the 5-minute interval, you can move up to 10 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. Many people continue to run their whole lives with this 10-minute interval. Giving yourself manageable steps to achieve your goals help enable success. Progress is still progress even if it comes in small batches.

There are many local running groups if you would like social support to get started running. Look at local running stores or your city activities to see if they have a running group.

Step 3 – Ramp it up

After easing into your runs, by slowing the pace down and giving yourself plenty of rest, you can start to take it to the next level. Adding another run into your week can continue to improve your running ability. Those who run once per week are just as much runners as those who run every day. Typically, people try to start with 2-3 runs per week and every few weeks you can add another run until you have reached your goal! If your goal is only 3 runs per week, then you can continue to vary your runs to continue to improve. This progression will ensure that you continue to see success in your running.

Be sure to remember that small setbacks do not ruin your progress. If you miss one run, continue with your other runs as if you did not miss it. The one missed run will not dampen your achievement. If you continue to miss runs over a longer period of time you may need to rethink the goals you are setting for yourself!

What to eat while running?

Entering the world of running can be difficult enough, without having to start thinking about food. But don’t fret, eating while running is not as difficult as you might think!

The most important thing about eating while running is that nothing really changes from regular healthy eating. A healthy, well-balanced diet fuels your body to have the energy you need to run. Ensuring that you have a snack with carbohydrates and protein about 30 minutes before your run will leave you feeling energized throughout your run!

Only runs over 60-90 minutes in length require you to eat during your run. If you are running for this long, try to consume about 100-200 calories every 45-60 minutes to continue to fuel your run!

Will you be running this spring? Let me know. I would love to hear some of your running stories.

Until next time,

Eat Right Feel Right - Tory Ambrose and Angela Wallace

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