So You Signed Up for a 5k…Now What?

Signing up for a race, Fun Run, or charity walk can be a great supplemental activity to add to your current exercise program.  The Philadelphia region offers a wide variety of 5k’s, 10k’s, half and full marathons.  Some can be themed, such as the Cupid’s Chase or Shamrock Shuffle.  Others can be long and grueling like the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon or Philadelphia Marathon.  For those that like to get dirty, there is no shortage of messy runs like the Down & Dirty (a personal favorite) or the Philadelphia Color Run.  Grab a significant other or friend  and join the Bryn Mawr Running Company for their 8th Annual Feel the Love 5k.  Whatever goal you have chosen to complete, there are guidelines to follow to ensure that you are not only successfully completing your endeavors, but you’re also finishing them injury-free.  Here’s how we can help:

If you have not yet begun a training program for your race, no need to worry.  Going from “Couch to K” is not as daunting a task as it may seem.  Start with a comfortable pair of shoes and just walk for 30 minutes.  After a week when you’re ready to begin running, start with intervals of 1 minute running and 2 minutes walking.  After a week increase your run time and decrease your rest time.  Eventually you will work yourself to a point where no walking is necessary, and you’re ready for your 5k.  For further reference, check out this Runner’s World website for more tips and a full training program for beginner, intermediate, and advanced runners. Charting your progress is an effective method to ensure success if you are a visual learning like myself.  But don’t forget, each workout should include a dynamic warm-up to get some blood flowing and raise the temperature of working muscles.  Once complete, a cool-down and stretch will help return your heart rate and working muscles to return to their resting state.

An important factor to remember is the issue of safety and avoiding injury.  Resistance training is a very effective tool in helping strengthen key muscle groups, and improving your time.  At Vertex Fitness, we incorporate exercises such as Leg Extensions, Leg Curls, Leg Press, as well as hip abduction and adduction into your workouts to help target the muscles essential for running.   Muscles of the core like the abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, and low back assist with breathing and help you maintain posture throughout the race.  Our goal is to strengthen these muscles to allow our bodies to withstand the impact of running.  Using our Nautilus and MedX machines, we take each muscle group through a full range of motion, so your muscles can operate efficiently, and avoid strains, tears, and sprains.  Use the expertise of Vertex to help you achieve your goals and finish your race strong!

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