On Your Marks, Get Set…To Run a 5K

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Since 2004, runners from across Atlantic Canada have converged on Halifax to participate in the running events associated with the Blue Nose Marathon. From the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run to the full marathon (with plenty of options in between), there’s lots of fun for runners of all ages on race weekend.

Why not make this the year you lace up your shoes, pin on a number and get running? If you start training now, a 5K race is within reach. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Get the all-clear

If you’re not a regular exerciser but you want to start running, it’s always a wise idea to get the all-clear from your family physician before you begin. Your doctor will identify any potential health issues or existing conditions that could affect your running plan. Once you get the thumbs-up, you’re ready to run.

Dress appropriately

All you need to run is a pair of shoes and comfortable clothes that you don’t mind sweating in – but sometimes a bit of specialized gear can come in handy. If you’re running in the early morning or later in the evening, consider wearing a reflective arm band, a jacket with reflective stripes, or even carrying a small flashlight. Wear layers, including a hat and gloves, in winter, so that you can adjust what you’re wearing as you get warmer. And of course, don’t forget the running shoes!

Be safe

Staying safe when you’re out for a run is largely common sense, but it bears repeating: make sure you’re wearing hi-vis clothing (neon or reflective), especially if you’re running in the early morning or after dark; stay on the sidewalk whenever possible, and if you can’t, run facing oncoming traffic; and make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Take your cell phone, just in case you need to call for help.

Easy does it

Don’t take off at a sprint as soon as you’ve closed the door behind you; in fact, slow and steady is a better pace. Take the time to check your running form. Making sure you’re standing tall and that your stride is right can make a big difference to how you run…and how you feel afterward. Try alternating running with walking – five minutes running, one minute walking is a good place to start – and gradually increase how much time you spend running. You’re more likely to succeed if you take it gradually, rather than trying to run a full 5 km on your first expedition.

Keep at it

Be persistent! Print out the 5k training plan provided by the Blue Nose organizers and use it to guide your training – marking a big red X across each finished workout will feel pretty satisfying! A little bit of effort on a regular basis can add up to huge gains.

Having a clear goal in mind makes it easier to stay motivated when you’re training, so consider signing up for the Blue Nose 5k now. Happy running!

(If you can’t make it to Halifax, check out this list of other running events happening around Nova Scotia this year.)

What’s your training tip? Share it in the comment section below!

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