A 10-Week Plan to Run 5K for Beginning Runners


Running can help shave off those stubborn last five pounds, or take your fitness level up a notch or two. But for running rookies—even athletes successful in other sports—creating a training program can be daunting. Here’s a 10-week beginner running program that takes the guesswork out of running. At the end of the 10 weeks, you should be able to run three miles.

Here’s the best part. The only equipment you’ll need is a pair of running shoes, some comfortable clothes and a watch.

Weeks 1 and 2: Three Days per Week

Walk out the door and travel 15 minutes in one direction, turn around, and return 15 minutes to where you started—30 minutes total. Follow these rules:

  • For the first five minutes of your workout, you should walk—no running.
  • For the last five minutes of your workout, you should walk—again, no running.
  • During the middle 20 minutes of the workout, you’re free to jog or run—as long as you do so easily and don’t push yourself. Here’s how to run during those middle 20 minutes: Alternate between jogging and walking. Jog until you start feeling tired (or a minimum of 30 seconds), walk until you are recovered, and repeat throughout running portion.
  • The goal is to complete this workout three times per week for two weeks.

Weeks 3 and 4: Four Days per Week

Walk out the door and travel 18 minutes in one direction, turn around, and return 18 minutes to where you started—36 minutes total.

  • For the first five minutes of your workout, you should walk—no running.
  • For the last five minutes of your workout, you should walk—again, no running.
  • During the middle 26 minutes of the workout, you’re free to jog or run, as long as you do so easily and don’t push yourself. Here’s how to run during those middle 26 minutes: Alternate between jogging and walking. Jog until you start feeling tired (or a minimum of 45 seconds), walk until you are recovered, and repeat throughout running portion.
  • The goal is to complete this workout four times per week for two weeks.

Weeks 5 and 6: Four to Five Days per Week

Walk out the door and travel 20 minutes in one direction, turn around, and return 20 minutes to where you started—40 minutes total.

  • For the first five minutes of your workout, you should walk—no running.
  • For the last five minutes of your workout, you should walk—again, no running.
  • During the middle 30 minutes of the workout, jog or run. Keep an easy pace and don’t push yourself. Here’s how to run during those middle 30 minutes: Alternate between jogging and walking. Jog until you start feeling tired (or a minimum of 60 seconds), walk until you are recovered, and repeat throughout running portion.
  • The goal is to complete this workout four to five times per week for two weeks.

Weeks 7 and 8: Four to Five Days per Week

Walk out the door and head in one direction for 23 minutes. Turn around and return 23 minutes to where you started—46 minutes total.

  • For the first five minutes of your workout, you should walk—no running.
  • For the last five minutes of your workout, you should walk—again, no running.
  • During the middle 36 minutes of the workout, jog or run at an easy pace. You should be able to hold a conversation with someone. Alternate between jogging and walking. Jog until you start feeling tired (or a minimum of 90 seconds), walk until you are recovered. Repeat this process throughout the running portion.
  • The goal is to complete this workout four to five times per week for two weeks.

Weeks 9 and 10: Five Days per Week

Walk out the door and head in one direction for 25 minutes. Turn around and return 25 minutes to where you started—50 minutes total.

  • Walk for the first five minutes of your workout—no running.
  • Walk for last five minutes of your workout—again, no running.
  • During the middle 40 minutes of the workout, jog or run at an easy pace. Jog until you start feeling tired (or a minimum of two minutes), walk until you are recovered, and repeat throughout running portion.
  • Complete this workout five times per week for two weeks.

Training Tips

  • Recovery is as important as the days you’re running. Use your days off wisely. Spread out your days off. For example, if your schedule calls for two days off, don’t take them on consecutive days.
  • Consider recruiting a friend, spouse or family member as a running partner. Running is easier when done with a friend.
  • Don’t overdo it! This is the classic mistake made by many folks when beginning a running program. Stick to the schedule, even if it seems a bit easy at first.
  • Get into a routine. Like anything else, a beginner running program is easier if it becomes routine. Set aside a certain time each day that is designated as your running time.
  • You may experience some soreness. This is normal. However, if you experience sharp pain, it’s best to stop. Proper rest might do the trick. However, if the pain ramps up again, consult a doctor.

 

How to Avoid Runner’s Trots

Some athletes call it runner’s trots; others call it diarrhea. Whatever the name, few athletes openly discuss the topic; yet many secretly suffer. Here’s some information about this stinky topic that might help bring peace to your workouts.

Q. Does anyone else worry about undesired pit stops while exercising?

Yes. Diarrhea is a major concern for many athletes, particularly those in running sports. Of these athletes, an estimated 20 to 50 percent suffer from “urgency to defecate.” Running jostles the intestines, reduces blood flow to the intestines as the body sends more blood to the exercising muscles, stimulates changes in intestinal hormones that speed up transit time, and alters absorption rate. Dehydration exacerbates the problem. Add a pre-existing bowel problem, and you are even more likely to be bothered by pit stops as your exercise ramps up.

Q. How often do most athletes have a bowel movement?

Some athletes poop once a day. Others poo twice a day, and some go once every two or three days. “Normal” is what is normal for your body. You can learn your personal transit time by eating sesame seeds, corn, or beets—foods you can see in your feces. Pay attention to how much time passes between intake and output.

Exercise (even weight-lifting) speeds up transit time, especially if you do more exercise than usual. A study with healthy, untrained 60-year-old men indicated their transit time accelerated from an average of 44 hours to 20 hours after they started lifting weights.

Q. Is my diet causing the problem?

Your diet can create the problem, but medical issues such as celiac or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause chronic loose stools. Just being female increases the risk of experiencing loose stools, particularly at the time of the menstrual period. Add stress, pre-event jitters, high intensity effort, and it’s no wonder many athletes become plagued by urgency to defecate. This can particularly affect novices whose bodies are yet unaccustomed to the stress of hard exercise.

To figure out if the problem is connected to your diet, keep a food and poop chart. For at least a week, eliminate a suspicious food. Observe any changes in bowel movements. Next, eat a hefty dose of the suspected food; observe changes. For example, if you stop having diarrhea when you cut out popcorn, but have trouble during a long run after eating a tub of the stuff, the answer becomes obvious. Eat less popcorn.

Q. What are the common dietary triggers?

1) Fiber. Triathletes with a high fiber intake reported more GI complaints than those with less fiber. Cut back on high fiber cereals and, if needed, fruits, veggies and whole grains. Reduce your fiber intake for one to three days prior to competition.
2) Sorbitol. If you enjoy sugar-free gum, candies, and breath mints that contain sorbitol (a type of sugar), take note: sorbitol triggers diarrhea in some people.
3) Coffee and tea. Hot fluids can stimulate gastric movement.
4) Fatty foods, spicy foods, alcohol and a high dose of Vitamin C.

Q. I’ve heard milk causes diarrhea?

Some athletes have trouble digesting lactose, the sugar that naturally occurs in milk. If you are lactose intolerant, you may experience gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Try switching to lactose-free milk (such as LactAid Milk or soy milk).

Q. Should I go on a gluten-free diet?

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, is known to cause diarrhea in people with celiac disease. About one in 125 people has celiac (gluten intolerance). First, get a medical diagnosis before embarking on this difficult diet. Even if diagnostic tests are negative, some people feel better avoiding gluten. For more information, see www.celiac.org and www.GlutenFreeDiet.ca.

Q. I’m afraid to eat or drink anything during exercise. If I succumb, I inevitably get diarrhea. Suggestions?

I suggest you start drinking earlier and stay well-hydrated. Intestinal complaints are common in athletes who have lost more than 4 percent of their body weight in sweat. That’s six pounds for a 150-pound athlete. Becoming dehydrated may have triggered the diarrhea, not the water or sports drink.

Your best bet is to train your body to tolerate fluids. Start with small amounts of water during exercise for a week or two, then transition to diluted sports drinks, and then eventually to full-strength sports drinks. Or have plain water and mints or hard candies.

Q. Can I take some sort of anti-diarrhea medication?

When all else fails, consult with your doctor about taking anti-diarrhea medicine, such as Imodium, one hour pre-event. Perhaps that will be your saving grace for special events, but not on a daily basis. Caution: Taking Imodium without diarrhea can leave you constipated.

Q. Any other tips to help manage dreaded diarrhea?

•If you are a morning runner, drink a warm beverage (tea, coffee, hot water) to stimulate a bowel movement. Allow time to sit on the toilet to do your business prior to exercise.
•Before you embark on a hard workout, exercise lightly to help stimulate a bowel movement, poop, and then exercise hard.
•Experiment with training at different times of the day. Perhaps morning exercise, after having had a bowel movement, is preferable to an afternoon workout, at which time the intestinal tract has accumulated daytime food and fluids.
•Choose more foods that tend to be naturally constipating, such as bananas, white bread/bagels, white rice, and pasta.
•Exercise with a bathroom nearby, such as at a gym.
•Design your running route to include a bathroom, such as a gas station, fast food restaurant, or a friend’s house.
•Before and during exercise, visualize yourself having no intestinal problems. A positive mindset (as opposed to useless fretting) may help control the problem.

As your body adjusts to exercise, your intestines may resume standard bowel patterns. But this is not always the case, as shown by the number of experienced runners who carry toilet paper with them while running.

The bottom line: You are not alone with your concerns. Yet, your body is unique and you need to experiment with different food and exercise patterns to find a solution that brings peacefulness to your exercise program.

source: Active.com

Beat your personal best

Want to make it to the finish line faster? Finetune your run with these tips.

1. Work on your form
An efficient running style will lead to greater gains all around, with fewer injuries, faster runs and increased comfort, so concentrate on good form. As you run, lift your heel up to your butt, drive your knee through, extend your lower leg, then claw your foot back. Keep your head lifted, shoulders back and down, and your abs engaged. Your neck should be relaxed throughout. Ensure your arms swing in the direction you’re travelling and pump your fists forwards and your elbows back. These may sound like small changes, but they’ll make a big difference to your running technique and your results.

2. Boost your core
Working on your deeper postural muscles will give you a more stable trunk, allowing you to generate more power through your arms and legs. Do plenty of planks and Swiss ball exercises to help you develop your very own centre of excellence.

3. Join the resistance
Make circuit-based gym sessions a key part of your regimen. Include lots of squats, lunges and deadlifts (using barbells and dumbbells) to build strength in your leg muscles. This will help to propel you forwards with much greater force.

4. Be dynamicand active
This is absolutely crucial as far as your warm-up is concerned, both for everyday training and for your race days. Research has revealed that static stretching provides little benefit before a run and may even increase your risk of injury and slow you down. Instead, try to focus on mobility, gently moving your joints through each range of movement.

5. Give it some bounce
Bounding is a really great way to develop more power in your legs. Give this simple exercise a go next time you go for a run. Try to think of lengthening your stride and increasing your knee lift, so that your speed actually decreases. Now focus on reducing the length of time your foot is in contact with the floor for, and push off the toe so that your foot action speeds up and you explode upwards and forwards.

6. Head for the hills
Include a few shuttle runs (short bursts of speed over short distances) on a hill as part of your training. Use the uphill section as your work phase and downhill as recovery, but also reverse the exercise to reap the maximum benefit. Uphill bursts will build leg strength and downhill sprints will help your legs get used to moving faster.

7. Keep setting those goals
It’s important to remember that your body adapts to the physical stress of regular exercise by making changes at a cellular level, leading to noticeable improvements in your fitness. This principle of progressive overload means that as your body gets used to the demands of your exercise, and you begin to get much stronger and fitter, you’ll be able to take on increasingly challenging workouts. So make sure you’re raising the bar at every session.

Get Over It: Shin Pain

Exercises and advice to keep your lower legs healthy and strong.

Shin splints are a common beginner’s injury, so many seasoned runners assume they’re immune. But medial tibial stress syndrome, the top cause of shin splints, is usually triggered by overtraining–something that can befall even experienced runners. If you feel soreness or pain along your shinbone while running, check your training log. Chances are you’ve increased your mileage or intensity too much without enough rest. Other causes include running on hard or uneven road surfaces and wearing worn-out shoes. Stretching, strengthening, icing, and replacing shoes are effective rehab strategies (see below). If your pain persists, you might have a stress fracture or compartment syndrome, conditions that require a doctor’s care.

Rehab

At the first sign of discomfort, take a few days off from running. You can cross-train, but stick to low-impact activities like swimming, pool running, or cycling. Take anti-inflammatory medications and rub your shins with ice for 10 minutes after exercise. Replace your running shoes if they’ve logged 300 to 500 miles. Build range of motion in your calves and strengthen your shin muscles. When you return to running, start slowly, gradually increase your miles, and stick to softer surfaces when possible. To prevent a relapse, continue to stretch and strengthen even after your symptoms fade.

Get Flexible

1 Sit tall in a chair with knees bent 90 degrees, feet flat on the ground. Keeping your right heel on the ground, gently raise your right forefoot up and back toward your shin until you reach a point of slight discomfort. Return it to the ground. Repeat 10 times with each foot.

2 From the same position, lift your right forefoot up, and trace the letter “J” in the air with your foot. Return it back to the ground. Repeat 10 times with each foot.

Get Strong

1 Sit tall in a chair with your right leg extended and an ankle weight on your foot. Slowly draw your toes back until you reach a point of slight discomfort. Then extend your toes forward until you feel tension. Repeat 10 times with each foot.

2 On a stair step, stand on the balls of your feet, heels over the edge. Slowly raise your heels, then lower them below the starting position. Repeat 10 times–and do 10 more reps with your toes inward and then outward.

from RunnersWorld.com

Five prerace nutrition mistakes—and how to keep them from ruining your big day


If you’re like many runners, you’ve spent the last few months training for a big race. And as your 5-K, half-marathon, or marathon approaches, you’re probably taking extra care with what you eat and drink. Maybe you’re loading up on carbs, drinking lots of water, ordering extra servings of broccoli and beans. But are you doing the right thing?

“How you fuel up before the race has a huge impact on your performance,” says Beth Jauquet, R.D., a nutritionist for Cherry Creek Nutrition in Denver. Unfortunately, runners tend toward extremes: Skimping on fuel, overdoing food or drink, or eating foods that cause digestive disaster. Here’s how to avoid common mistakes and ensure what you eat and drink in the week before your race will help you secure the PR you hoped for.

The Mistake: Eating a Box of Pasta

Many runners like to top off their glycogen stores by feasting on carbs the night before a race. And why not? You’re going to burn through them the next day. But flooding your system with more carbs than it can process may lead to digestive problems that will have you running to the porta-potty every mile.

The Fix: Consume moderate quantities–not huge portions–of carbs for several days prior. “Massive amounts of any food throw your system a curve ball,” says Jauquet. Have oatmeal for breakfast, potatoes at lunch, and pasta for dinner. “Eat just to fullness, so you don’t get indigestion or have trouble sleeping,” says Tara Gidus, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

The Mistake: Drinking Gallons of H20

Not only will chugging too much water before a race leave you feeling bloated, but it will also dilute your electrolytes–minerals responsible for optimum muscle contraction. Diluted electrolyte levels can cause muscle weakness or cramping and, in extreme cases, can lead to hyponatremia, a life-threatening condition triggered by abnormally low sodium levels.

The Fix: In the days leading up to your race, drink fluids as you normally would to stay hydrated. This can include water, sports drink, juice, even coffee and tea. On the morning of the race, Jauquet recommends drinking 16 ounces of water two to three hours before the start, giving your body time to process extra fluid; drink another one to two cups right before the gun goes off.

The Mistake: Loading up on Fiber

Normally, runners should make sure to eat lots of cruciferous vegetables, beans, and whole grains. And if you’re used to such foods, all that roughage right before a race may pose no problems for you. But if you’ve been living on pizza and burgers, now is not the time to become a vegan. Loading up on high-fiber foods can cause uncomfortable gas, especially if your stomach is plagued by prerace jitters.

The Fix: If you think fiber might be an issue, “cut back on those foods three days before a major race,” says Gidus. That includes beans and bran cereals-but not fruits and veggies, which you should eat in modest portions. Think one cup of pineapple, a handful of cherries, or a few broccoli florets. But, Gidus cautions, if you’re racing every weekend, reduce your fiber intake only on race day to make sure you don’t trim all fiber out of your diet.

The Mistake: Skipping Breakfast


Too nervous or worried about feeling full, some runners can’t face food on race morning. But without it, you’re likely to bonk in any race. Why? Because studies show that a prerace meal keeps your blood sugar steady and provides energy to power you through. “There’s no way to get enough fuel midrace to make up for the energy you missed at breakfast,” says Jauquet.

The Fix: If you know you get too nervous to eat before a race, wake up a few hours before the start-so you can eat breakfast slowly, letting each bite settle before taking another. If you can’t stomach solid foods, drink a smoothie with bananas, fruit juice, and milk. These ingredients are easy on most stomachs, provide energy, and won’t leave you feeling overly full.

The Mistake: Trying Something New

If you’ve never had spicy salmon sushi, don’t order it the night before your race. You won’t know how a food affects you until you’ve tried it-and last-minute experimentation could send you bolting for the bathroom and leave you dehydrated.

The Fix: Stick with what you know for a week before race day. Check the race Web site to confirm which drinks and gels (if any) will be offered along the course so you can test them out in advance. Don’t be afraid to skip the prerace dinner or hotel breakfast: If you’re not used to downing sausage burritos prerace, you’re better off sticking with a familiar bowl of pasta. As long as it isn’t huge.

Eat better

In the days before a race, vary your diet with nongrain carb sources, such as fruits and starchy vegetables, to benefit from a wider range of nutrients.

Source: Runnersworld.com

5 simple suggestions to help you create a more complete diet

Spinach has amazing benefits — it can boost your immune system, reduce your risk of cancer, and support your heart.

Yet, eating mounds of spinach alone won’t do you very much good. In order to get the full nutritional value out of food, you have to be sure and eat a wide variety.

A balanced diet is the center of a healthy lifestyle plan. Each food group is important and adds a necessary element to your health.

All balanced diets should contain micronutrients, the vitamins and minerals your body needs, and macronutrients, the protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates you need to support your muscles, bones, immune system, weight loss, and more.

It may seem complicated, but here are a few simple suggestions to help you create a more complete diet:

  • Strive to eat lean proteins and at least one to two servings of fruits and vegetables with each meal.
  • Try to eat a colorful diet to ensure you are getting a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Generally, more color means more nutrients.
  • Be sure to pack in plenty of fiber — it adds bulk to your food and helps you feel fuller longer. Fibergy® Plus is a great way to add fiber to your diet.
  • Focus on foods that won’t spike your blood sugar. USANA® Foods, such as Nutrimeal™ or Nutrition Bars™, are a great option as they have been clinically proven to be low glycemic.
  • Add in a high-quality multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement, such as the USANA Essentials™, to ensure your daily nutritional needs are met.

For more tips on balancing your diet, check out this video from USANA’s own Dr. Brian Dixon, director of new product innovations, and John Bosse, senior scientist of product innovation:

Adjust your meal planning to make vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins the staples of your healthy diet and remember to mix it up, keep it colorful, and make low-glycemic choices.