By Jeanie Heath
You were made for your journey.
Practice the following steps and you will run well on event day and in life.
Pay Attention to Posture
Notice and work on your posture when training for this event. Sound posture is vital to avoid injuries. Walking and running requires different postures. While walking, align yourself straight up and keep your shoulders back. You will lead with your heel, with every strike of the foot. When shifting to jogging or running, your upper body shifts forward over your feet. Notice you lead with toes. Remember, whether walking or running, to keep your head up, looking forward. This keeps you focused on what's ahead.
Engage Your Breath
Monitoring breathing is an obvious suggestion, but it is crucial.
Don't forget to breathe. When pushing yourself physically, it's possible to forget to breathe. "Abdominal breathing" is recommended, rather than "chest breathing." More oxygen enters the lungs when practicing abdominal breathing. Do this by inhaling through your nose, allowing your stomach to expand. Engaging your core will help strengthen posture and movement.
Intentional inhaling and exhaling will improve your endurance and cardiovascular health and can also boost metabolism, mood and energy levels.
Warm up and stretch before you begin your walk or run. Stretching keeps the body flexible and prevents injury. Stretch tired muscles after you've completed your walk or run to aid in muscle recovery and prevent soreness the following day. Hip flexor stretching while training for a 5K is highly recommended. Adding a stretch day to your weekly routine between training days releases tightness and soreness from running days.
Be Mindful of the Steps
Know the steps! It is wise to go to where the walk or 5K will be held and map out the route prior to the event. Go for a practice run, train frequently if possible, and familiarize yourself with the route to be traveled the day of the 5K event. Pay attention to hills or obstacles along the path.
Your Playlist and Friends List
Encouragement is key when running your race. What gets you moving, and who motivates you? Download a playlist that will inspire you to overcome and go the distance. Get a group together to train and speak life and encouragement into one another. Inspire each other to show up, do the work and be real for your run. Life, running and recovery are always better with community.