As many of you Ladies know, running is an important part of the Flex it Pink community. Our virtual runs allow women across the world to join together and participate in a race wherever they may be. Whether you are a regular runner or just getting started, our virtual 5Ks and 10Ks allow you to be part of something big in whatever capacity that may be. Some might run, while others may walk, jog, bicycle, or swim. The choice is yours as is the challenge, and this year we really want to see you Ladies kick some booty starting with our oh-so-colorful Spring race!
From March 30th through April 7th, we’ll be lighting the streets up with rainbows and unicorns for the first time ever. While we are certain ‘From Zero to Unicorn’ will be magical enough, we want this race to be your best one yet, which is why we’ve created a list of tips and tricks to help you succeed now and in the future.
- Make a Plan
It might be a little late to create a plan for April’s race, but it’s never too early to start planning for the next one. Check out our 5K Training Program to guide you on your journey or consider downloading apps like Nike and Runkeeper to coach you through training. Both apps allow you to input personal data and your current fitness level to create a plan that is designed just for you. Not only will your plan increase your endurance and improve your time, but having a well constructed timeline will encourage you to stay committed to your race day goal right from the start!
1. Include Long Runs
If you find yourself labeled more of a novice runner, consider adding long runs to your routine. While you should only include long runs once a week, doing so will extend your endurance limits and help you grow in mental strength. The nature of your long run should not be competitive though. They are simply an attempt to challenge your mileage, not your time! If you can run 5 miles at an easy pace, on race day you can kick butt pushing yourself for 3.1 miles!
2. Use Sprints for Speed
One of the best ways to improve your personal record on race day is to incorporate speed days into your training. Once again, these should be infrequent, at once or twice a week. However, they should be days when you are prepared to give a full out effort. Try taking your workout to the track to cover 4 to 6 full out sprints. Start with 100 meters and week by week, increase your effort to 400 meter sprints. Or instead, add speed into a 15 minute jog by using 2 to 3 minutes right in the middle of the run to give it all you’ve got.
3. Increase Strength Training
Many runners often leave strength training out of the equation, thinking it will lead to bulky muscles and in turn, slower speeds. However, the opposite is true. Using weights and adding body exercises to your fitness routine, will actually increase your performance as a runner, not diminish it. The increase in strength training will help your muscles endure through a race, making sure your form does not decrease as you get tired. This in turn leads to less fatigue, more efficiency. and faster race times! While you don’t need to dedicate an hour of your time to the weight section at the gym, you can definitely benefit from some core, lower, and upper body exercises. Think squats, lunges, mountain climbers, planks, and pushups for ways to get started or try one of our own FIP Workouts to get you performing better than ever!
4. Improve Your Flexibility
Like all exercise, it's important to stretch before and after you run. However when it comes to running, dynamic stretching is the way to go. While most of us are familiar with static stretching, where we hold one pose for a certain period of time, dynamic stretching requires us to move while we stretch our bodies. By doing so, we mimic the motions are bodies will use while running and begin warming our bodies up by increasing our blood flow. Try warming up with a few of the following before every run and use static stretching as a means of cool down.
-Lunge with Twist
-Knees to Chest
-Knees to Butt
-Sideways Leg Swings
5. Include Rest and Recovery in Your Routine
It’s easy to get carried away by our motivation. Why would we take a rest day when we are so goal oriented? Believe it or not, your body needs rest and recovery and will perform better for it. Taking two days off during the week will allow your tendons and muscles to recuperate and rebuild stronger. Try taking a rest day after your long run or in between recovery runs. Your body will thank you!
The hardest part of improving your 5K/10K or beginning to run is making the conscious decision to do so. However, once you make that commitment, you are already on your way to a successful race day. Of course, we do encourage you to make a plan and to add some of these tips to your routines. However, the real magic and most reliable way to reach those race goals, comes from within. Push yourself, encourage yourself, care for yourself, and believe in yourself. After that, anything is possible.
We can’t wait to see your finisher photos and race times this year. If you haven’t already signed up for From Zero to Unicorn, we have about 25 left! Good luck Ladies, we’re always here cheering you on.