For many of us the idea of being able to complete a 5 Kilometer race after a nine week training program may seem a bit far-fetched. However, it has become a reality for thousands of people all over the world. Thus, it is also possible for you with the right attitude, support and most importantly self-motivation. At times, with temperatures of late heading towards 45°C or higher, I have struggled with motivation to stick with the C25K plan. That said, in order to make it through the C25K training schedule, I have spent the better part of my work day, over the past 6 weeks, online searching for advice, reading stories, asking questions on online running forums, posting comments and generally considering different strategies to get me to the end of the nine weeks. After all, I let too many people know about my plan not to stick to it. (I even wrote an article about it for my college’s newsletter.) Here are 7 tips to help you be successful with the C25K plan.
1) Establish one goal – it is essential that you only have ONE goal. This goal should be reasonable and attainable. For example, lose 10 kilos in nine weeks, complete a 5K race in 40 minutes. Finishing your first 5K in less than 25 minutes might be an impossible goal for the average beginner.
2) Share your goal – discuss your goal with family and friends. If they know your goal they will be ready to offer support. Avoid anyone who says running a 5K after a nine week training schedule is unachievable. Write your goal on a piece of paper and put it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at work. Share it on Facebook, your website or personal blog. Sharing your goal will help to keep you focused on the end result.
3) Track your progress – first determine your start date. Then record your weekly progress. Note your starting weight, measurements, etc. Make notes about the ups and downs. Do your best to stick to the C25K training schedule.
4) Sign up for your first 5K – by signing up you are making a commitment to reaching your goal. Additionally, the act of registering for your first 5K gives you a race day to concentrate on and this will help maintain your enthusiasm.
5) Seek support – it is not easy to accomplish anything alone. Find a friend to train with, or join a running club. Living in a rural community in Oman, it is impossible for me to find a running partner so I have joined an online forum which has proven to be tremendously useful. Through an online forum you can find the inspiration you need to stick to your C25K plan.
6) Focus on the benefits – only think about the positive aspects of running. Many believe that running is difficult, boring and exhausting. This is a myth. Running is easy and everyone can run. True some are faster than others but for beginners this is unimportant. Therefore, instead of concentrating on speed or how hard running is, think about the positive benefits. Running will help you become healthier and slimmer.
7) Don’t give up – no matter what happens follow the C25K training schedule. There will be days when you feel tired and lack the motivation to run but you have to ignore this and push yourself to keep on moving. Re-read your goal. Keep trying! If you struggle one day, put this behind you and start on a positive note the next run day. Not every day will be easy so expect a few challenging ones. This is all part of the program. It is important that you stay with it for the long run because at the end of the day no goal can be attained without sustained work.
A final note, this morning with the temperature approaching 45°C, I completed W6D3 which consisted of a twenty-five minute non-stop run. I still have three more weeks to go but I am confident that by remembering the seven tips above I will succeed in my quest to run a 5K after finishing this 9 week training program.