Setting a goal, choosing a race and starting to train is an exciting thing. There are lots of C25K plans out there and no matter which one you pick, these five tips will help you have a successful experience that leaves you wanting to come back for more.Dress appropriately. Head out to your local running store and make sure you have the right footwear. The correct shoes can make a big difference in both comfort and injury prevention. Once you’ve found the right pair of shoes, make sure you have comfortable sweat wicking clothing that won’t leave you chafed to go with them and you’re ready to kick off your C25K plan.
Start slowly. A C25K plan isn’t designed to make you hate running. It’s meant to help you love running, reach a goal and learn about yourself. Take it easy in the beginning, you have plenty of time to build mileage and speed. Rushing into long or very intense runs is an invitation to injury that could derail your entire C25K plan and leave you discouraged. Accomplishing lots of little goals, from running for 10 minutes to running one mile helps you stay motivated and safe.
Create a playlist. Music has not only been shown to increase athletic performance, it also makes running a little bit more fun. Singing, humming or just thinking along with a song can help the minutes and miles speed by. Your vocal abilities are also a good gauge of how hard you’re working. If you can barely utter a word without gasping, it’s time to back off a bit, while taking deeper breaths in time with lyrics will help your heart rate stay down.
Learn about nutrition. At least a little bit. Properly fueling any run you plan to finish is a key part of C25K plan success. Especially if your C25K goal is part of a larger program to shed pounds or increase health, running doesn’t automatically mean you can, should or need to eat more food on a daily basis. Figure out what you do and don’t like to eat before you head out for a run (bananas and oatmeal are great), what the best foods are to help your body heal afterwards (peanut butter, chocolate milk) and drink lots of water to stay properly hydrated at all times.
Stay positive. If a week is hard, that’s OK. Don’t be afraid to repeat a challenging week or take an extra day off when you really need it. You’ve made a commitment to getting fit and improving your health but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Every athlete, from beginners to professionals has rough patches every now and then. It’s the ability to adjust your training and stay tough mentally that will get you through these times and see you reach the goal you set in your C25K plan.
Use these tips to stay on track with your C25K plan and most importantly, have fun!
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