Saturday, March 12, 2011

Finding a 5k Race

When I was looking for 5k Races in my local area, I found two websites very helpful. is a great place to start.  This website provides a map, on which you can click on your state.  After clicking on your state, you will see a list of races categorized by date and place.  It includes links where you can obtain more information about each race.  You can also click on the 5k tab to filter out running events that do not include 5k races. 
The race finder at is another great resource when searching for 5k races in a particular location.  It allows you to search for races within a certain amount of miles from a particular city or zip code. You can include a date range and the type of race in your search.  The search results include a list of races categorized by date.  The list also includes links which provide more information about each race. 
Are there any other great websites that allow runners to find local races?       

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Choose a 5k Race

While I continue to train for 5k, I have decided that I think it would be very motivational to choose my 5k race, and ...gasp... actually register for the race.  This will motivate me because I will be committed to a certain date, and I will have to be ready by that date.  While choosing my race, I have four factors I am weighing.  I am looking at each race's location, season, the physical terrain, and the number of runners for each race.
Obviously, it is important to consider the location of the race.  I am choosing a race that is close to my home.  Although, I think it would be fun to take a trip, I think I would rather run my first 5k locally.  If making a big event out of your first 5k would serve as great motivation for you, there are many exciting destinations that hold 5k races.  Cities all over the world hold 5k races, even popular destinations like Disney World hold 5k races and half marathons.  Although, this sounds like fun, I have decided to tackle my first race near my home.
I am considering the season in which the race is held.  In my location, I do not want to run a race during the winter months.  I am open to the possibility of running a 5k anytime from April to October.  Some runners do not recommend running your first 5k, during the hot summer months.  However, I am not typically bothered by hot weather, so I have not ruled out the months of July or August.
I am kind of nervous about the physical terrain of the race course, so I am paying particular attention to this factor.  As I have mentioned before, I am a treadmill runner.  So far, for several reasons, I have trained for 5k exclusively on my treadmill.  Thus far in my train for 5k efforts, I have not added any slope to my run.  Therefore, I am nervous about running my first 5k race on hilly race course.  I know it is impossible to find a completely flat race course outside, but I am ruling out anything that is very hilly.
The last factor that I am using to choose a 5k race is the number of runners estimated to participate.  In my opinion, the more the merrier!  Once again, I am a little nervous about running my first 5k race.  If more runners participate, there is a greater chance I will not come in last!      
I will post when I make my final selection.  What factors are you weighing to choose your 5k race?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Netflix saved My Train for 5k Efforts

     Recently, my treadmill decided to take a little vacation (aka, stopped working). In the past, I would have probably thrown in the towel on my Train for 5K efforts. However, this time was different.  I decided not to quit, or be tempted to quit by taking a long break.  Since the Pennsylvania ice and snow eliminated the option of running outside, I had to be creative.
     My husband and I subscribe to Netflix.  We are not huge movie buffs, but we enjoy watching a movie every now and then.  We can use Netflix to stream movies through our blue-ray player, and our girls LOVE having a Netflix family movie night.  
      When my treadmill broke, I began looking for an exercise video to keep me moving.  I have several on DVD.  However, I am quite bored with the old standbys.  Additionally, I find that the cardio workout I get from my old videos, does not even come close to the cardio workout I get on my treadmill.  A day or two after my treadmill broke; I had a stroke of genius (it happens occasionally).  I thought to check out Netflix, for workout videos.  To my surprise, they actually had a nice selection, and several of the workouts were available for streaming.  I chose to stream Self Magazine - Slim and Sleek Fast.  I really, really liked it.  It lasts about 45 minutes and is broken into several sections.  Most importantly, when I was finished, my body felt like I actually worked out.  I think this was taped in 2005, so it is not a new cutting edge workout.  However, it kept me moving.  Once my handy hubby fixed our treadmill, I was able to pick up right where I left off.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Two Sick Kids and a Broken Treadmill – But It Didn’t Stop Me!

     That’s right.  Life happened again.  Although, this time it was different.  I didn’t stop training for my 5k.  First, my oldest daughter got hit with a nasty flu virus.  She was very sick, and it lasted 10 long days.  After she recovered from the worst of it, it was my youngest daughter’s turn.  In the meantime, my treadmill broke.  The electronic panel would not turn on.
     I did not want this unfortunate chain of events, to stunt my Train for 5k progress.  Given the fact that we are in the height of winter in Pennsylvania, I was not about to go outside to run.  (Sorry, running on ice would definitely cause more harm than good!)  However, I continued training by doing high impact aerobic videos and some light weight lifting. 
     My husband was able to fix the treadmill, and today was my first day back on my Train for 5K plan.  I started right where I left off, on my training schedule.  Surprisingly, it was easier than ever!  I completed my 3.1 mile run/walk in 46:02.  And I feel great!        

Friday, January 14, 2011

Water During Exercise?

     I know.  I have heard it all before.  You should drink water before, during, and after you exercise.  The human body is 55 percent to 78 percent (depending on your age) water, and it is important to replenish the lost water during your workout.  I have no problem drinking water, prior to running.  And I have no problem rehydrating, after my running workout.  However, I find it very difficult to drink the recommended amount of water during my run. 
    Health experts recommend that you drink 8-10 ounces of water or some type of a sports drink for every 15-20 minutes of vigorous exercise.  I find this recommendation to be very difficult because of the logistics, my impaired coordination, and my smaller than average bladder.

Practically speaking.
     If I run for roughly 50 minutes, I am supposed to drink 24+ ounces of water, during that workout.  That is greater that the amount that fits into a typical water bottle.  I have one water bottle holder on my treadmill.  Maybe I am overthinking this, but where is that water supposed to go?  I am supposed to stop my treadmill midway throughout my workout to go and get more water?

I need to stay ON the treadmill.
     I typically am a fairly coordinated person.  Let’s just say I have no problem walking and chewing gum, at the same time.  However, I find it difficult to drink and run, at the same time.  When I am breathing heavy and pushing it to my limit, in order to increase my running endurance, I find it very difficult to go through the motions of getting a drink.  Also, I am paranoid about losing my footing on the treadmill, and ending up on the floor.  Call me crazy, but that does not sound like a good time.

Potty time.
     If I drank the recommended 8-16 ounces of water prior to my workout, and then added another 24+ ounces during the course of my workout, the little girls’ room would definitely be calling my name, before I made it through my 3.1 miles.  – --Just sayin’

     For the above stated reasons, I will be opting out of the recommended 24+ ounces of water, during my workout.  Maybe, as I train for 5k and build up more endurance, I will change my mind. But for right now, I will be hydrating solely before and after I run.            

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week One Progress Report

     Week one is completed!  I made it through my 5k training schedule for week one.  I feel great and I even lost 3 pounds.  I started my week two training schedule.  It requires me to run for 90 seconds, followed by a 2 minute walk.  I repeat this pattern until I have gone 3.1 miles.  Yesterday, it took me 46 minutes and 50 seconds, which is a slight improvement from last week.  I have made a little progress and now I will just keep running.

     This week I learned the importance of stretching. I felt so much better on the days I stretched after I ran.  On the days I was pressed for time and did not stretch, my muscles felt tight the rest of the day. 
     I also learned that I have to be intentional about scheduling my running time.  If I just try to haphazardly fit it in sometime during the day, it is easy to run out of time.  If I schedule it and include running on my to do list, I am sure to complete my 5k training plan for that day.   

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Running on a treadmill vs. outside

                Whether you run on a treadmill or run outside to train for 5k, you can achieve the overall health benefits of running.  Some people prefer to run inside on a treadmill, so they are protected from nasty weather conditions.  Others other enjoy running outside, for a healthy dose of vitamin D and fresh air.  I can see the benefits of both methods, and there is an ongoing debate about which is the "best" way to train for 5k.  There are advantages to both.
The advantages of using a treadmill, include:
1.            You can control the incline and your pace, easier than you could outside.
2.            Weather conditions are irrelevant.   You can run rain or shine. 
3.            The treadmill provides more shock absorption and cushion than the hard pavement.
4.            You can track how many calories you have burned, your distance, and your heart rate.
5.            Treadmill allow for no excuses such as, "It's raining" or "I don't have a babysitter."

The advantages of running outside include:
1.            Terrain is like the terrain you will experience in an actual race.
2.            Fresh air.
3.            Fighting the terrain and the wind resistance will cause you to burn a few more calories.  
4.            The scenery is more interesting than your wall.
5.            It is free.
6.            You use more of your own energy. 

                I prefer running on a treadmill, while I train for 5k.  I live in a part of the country, where we actually get a real winter.  In fact, it is snowing outside, right now.  If I did not have a treadmill, the snow would be a perfect excuse for me to skip my daily run.  However, since I use a treadmill, that excuse will not work.  I also like a treadmill, because I can run in my house, while my kids play.  I do not have to wait, until their father gets home from work or until I can find a babysitter.  Although I fully understand the benefits of running outside, at this stage in my life, a treadmill is definitely more convenient.    

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I started to train for 5k - and my legs are letting me know

     Yesterday, I started to train for 5k.  That's the first step, right?  I followed my plan, and it took me 47:30 to go 3.1 miles.  Although, I did not run the whole time, I completed the distance of a 5k, in what I think would be a "worst case scenario time."  This time includes a slow 5 minute walking warm up, and I ran for 60 seconds, then walked for 90 seconds.  If I follow my plan, my time can only get better. 
     I feel good about starting to train for 5k.  However, today my legs are a bit sore.  I did a bit of research to see what I should do about it.  I found that I have a slight case of DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness.  DOMS is thought to be caused by inflammation of the muscle as a result of microtears of the muscle fibers.  This is a common condition after beginning a new exercise program. 
      In order to lessen the symptoms of DOMS,  I need to get rid of the lactic acid and get some blood flowing to the muscles that are sore.  I need to do this through Active Isolated Stretching.  This involves slow, gradual, and controlled elongation of the muscle through a full range of motion  and held for 15-30 seconds in the furthest comfortable position.  One should not stretch to the point of pain. 
     The best prevention for DOMS is to start a new exercise program slowly.  Gradually build up your endurance and you should be okay.  I guess it is a little late for me!                         
     Today, my plan is to stretch, and do a 30 minute brisk walk. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My motivations for running…

     I have made no secret that I have previously embarked on the goal to run a 5k and have not succeeded.  Life got in the way, and running was no longer a priority.  This time, I am doing it differently.  I am going to outline my motivations for running, so when life interferes, I can look back and get re-motivated. 
1.     Cardiovascular benefits.
     The benefits of running on my cardiovascular health is a motivation for me.   Running lowers blood pressure, improves blood circulation, and helps arteries to maintain their elasticity. It reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.  I have a very strong family history of heart disease.  In fact, my dad had open heart surgery at the age of 37.  Yikes! 

2.     Psychological benefits.
     There are many psychological benefits of running.  It has the ability to alter your mood.  It accomplishes this by allowing your body to release endorphins, which are feel good hormones.  Running  lowers stress levels, which would obviously put you in a better mood.

3.     Increase in Energy.
     Running increases energy. In fact, some runners actually claim they feel more energized after a run, than before they began. 

4.     Weight Loss.
     Last but not least, I want to lose some weight.  I have about 25 pounds of “baby weight” to shed. However, I’m not going to lie – my “baby” is three years old.  I guess it is time to claim that extra 25 pounds as my own.  
     What are your motivations for running a 5k?