The JogBlog Guide To Training For Your First 5k

A friend on Twitter recently challenged himself to train for his first 5k in just 14 days. On top of this, he further challenged himself to run it in under 30 minutes. And guess what? He did it! Hardcore.

However, us mere mortals tend to take more than 14 days to train for our first 5k, so here’s my guide for new runners.

Get a training plan

In the olden days, before smartphones (yes kids there was such a time), we couldn’t download apps like the Kiqplan coaching app and had to make do with plans in books or printed off from the internet. I can’t remember where I got my first training plan from but it was one of those Couch to 5k plans that starts off with run/walk and progresses to 5k at the end of the plan. These plans usually last for 8 weeks or so but it took me twice as long to get through mine, so if you have to redo a week, don’t worry about it. Everyone progresses at different speeds.

If you want a laugh, go to the beginning of my blog and you can read all about my early running days back in January 2006, including endearing little snippets such as:

It was the first of the 3 minutes running / 1 minute walking (repeated 6 times) schedule today and doing 3 minutes non-stop was surprisingly easy, seeing as when I first attempted to run a few weeks ago, a minute nearly killed me.

As you can see, we all started somewhere.

Get comfortable kit

There’s no need to go out and buy the most expensive kit, especially if you’ve just started running as who knows if you’re going to continue with it? I would advise not doing what I did when I started running though and buy something more comfortable than thick, heavy tracksuit bottoms, a normal cotton t-shirt, two normal bras worn at the same time, a thick, heavy, hooded fleece, and a stiff pair of trainers that cost £10 from Shoezone. You can get perfectly decent kit at bargain prices from Sports Direct although you should probably go to a specialist running shop and get them to advise you on the right running shoes for you. Be warned though – proper running shoes aren’t cheap, although Decathlon‘s own make, Kalenji, are reasonably priced and I was very happy with the ones I had a couple of years ago.

Get gadgets

Running is more fun when you know you’re going to get home and see pretty charts and graphs and stats and stuff. There are millions of fitness apps to download and try and you can even run away from Zombies if Zombies are your thing, or you can just be old school and get a good old Garmin like my Garmin 401 (other GPS watches are available, such as the Tom Tom Runner also pictured below).

Garmin and Tom Tom Runner

Or you can be even more old school like I was in the early days and just use a stopwatch and pedometer. Or you can be really really really old school and not use anything. That would be weird though.

The other gadget I don’t run without is my iPod. Lots of people don’t listen to music when they run but maybe they sound more elegant than I do when I’m running.

Get a race booked

You could do a parkrun, but it might be more rewarding to do a ‘proper’ race and get a medal at the end for all your hard work.

5k medal

Will run for bling

You will be nervous and you will be scared but, trust me, you’re going to fucking love it and you’ll cross that finish line with a massive grin. My first race was the Crisis Square Mile Run and I still smile when I remember how I felt when I’d finished.

Get clued up on nutrition

I’m joking. It’s 5k; eat what you want.

So, that’s my tips for new runners. Enjoy your first 5k!

The Visualising Div

Running bracelet

I am such a der-brain. I was on the rowing machine at the gym, wondering what kind of bracelet to make Chris – who won the run bracelet giveaway – and visualised my boxes of beads, when my mind’s eye zoomed in on the little plastic bag the run bead is kept and… oh… HANG ON A MINUTE, I could clearly see two beads in the little plastic bag and then I remembered I was supposed to be giving away two bracelets but, because I’m a div, I only randomly selected one winner.

So, better late than never, I am pleased to announce the second winner of a run bracelet is:

Mercy Morris, who blogs at moorhenscampers and said this is what she’d like as a magic power. I approve of this magic power.

screenshot

Well done, Mercy – my apologies for being a div.

Run Bracelet Giveaway Winner Announced!

Skull bracelet

At the beginningish of Juneathon, I posted a giveaway of a run bracelet. I’d completely forgotten about it until now but I’m pleased to announce the winner (chosen randomly by a random number generator) is:

Chris Bray, who blogs at What I Meant To Say and whose chosen magic power would be

Comment screenshot

Well done Chris, I hope I can make a bracelet that’s masculine enough for you!

Juneathon Day 27 – Warning: Contains A Bit Of Swearing

This is what I posted on the Juneathon Facebook Page this morning:

Juneathon Facebook page screenshot

The clean version

When I said ‘scuppered’, what I really meant (and what David was referring to) was this:

Facebook status update screenshot

The slightly more Tourettes version

 

Yes, parkrun fucking well fucked up my fucking challenge that I’d been fucking looking forward to for fucking weeks.

*Non-sweary bit*

In case you don’t know what my challenge was, I’d challenged myself to run my local parkrun at 9am, then get to the gym in time to do a spin class at 10am. Although there are only two miles between the park and gym, given how slow I am at a) running; and b) cycling, an hour – although not impossible – would be cutting it fine but, as long as the parkrun started on time, my challenge would be completed successfully and I could spend the rest of Saturday walking around saying things like, ‘yay, go me and my successfully completed challenges’.

*End of non-sweary bit*

But, did it start on time? OF COURSE IT FUCKING DIDN’T. I got to the park with plenty of time to spare but the introductory talk thing didn’t start until 9:05 and instead of just getting on with it and starting the run, the bloke started doing the crappy clapping everyone thing and so I thought fuck it, this is going to go on for at least another five minutes, I’m going to the gym, as I don’t want to miss spin and so I fucked off from the stupid fucking parkrun and went to the gym and went on the rowing machine and treadmill instead before going to spin.

Stupid fucking parkrun fucking up my fucking challenge.

Bah.

Stats

Running: 0 miles because stupid fucking parkrun
Challenges completed successfully: 0 because stupid fucking parkrun
Cycling: 4 pointless miles because stupid fucking parkrun
Rowing machine: 15 minutes because stupid fucking parkrun
Treadmill: 15 minutes because stupid fucking parkrun
Spin: 45 minutes. Yay for spin

Juneathon Day 26 – The Long Way Round To Tesco

Wow, SKINS (reviewed by me yesterday) really do work! I woke up without even the slightest twinge or ache this morning, after my 7 miles yesterday. Maybe they are worth the money, after all, and I’ll definitely be wearing them for my future long runs.

Today my marathon training schedule said to rest but, as we all know, there are no rest days in Juneathon so I went for a walk. Not just one of my ‘walked to Tesco’ slacktivities but a long way round to Tesco, covering 1.99 miles (had I looked at my Garmin, I would have rounded it up but I forgot I was wearing it until I got in, duh), so I reckon that definitely counts as a Juneathon activity.

Now I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s parkrun/spin challenge, where I have to run fast enough during the run, then cycle quickly enough to get to the gym in time for spin. Wish me luck!

Stats

Walking: 1.99 miles

Juneathon Day 25 – SKINS Running Tights Review

As I said earlier this week, I’d planned to do this Saturday’s scheduled 7 miles today because I’d decided at the beginning of Juneathon to do a parkrun/spin challenge this Saturday instead of sticking diligently to my marathon training schedule.

I woke up feeling rested, the sun was shining, my new pink running shoes were waiting for me and I also had the added motivation of a pair of SKINS A400 ¾ running tights that had been sent to me to try out.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of SKINS but, in case you haven’t, SKINS make compression clothing using something called Dynamic Gradient Compression which apparently means you can workout for longer and have less muscle pain the next day. This works by controlling the pressure over the ITB and TFL muscle groups and I’m not going to pretend I know about this kind of thing (as far as I’m concerned, TFL stands for Transport for London), so if you want to read about the science behind SKINS, you can fill your boots with all the techy stuff here.

Upon opening the packaging – a fancy box inside a cardboard sleeve, which undoubtedly ups the price of these running tights, which aren’t cheap at £90 – the first thing I noticed about the SKINS were that they were tiny. Like teeny-tiny. Like teeny-weeny-teeny-tiny. Like DO I LOOK LIKE I’M THE SIZE OF CHERYL COLE tiny.

Skins A400 women's running tights

You can’t tell from the photo just how tiny they are; I should have put my cat next to them for scale.

What intrigued me more than the Cheryl Cole-esque size was a label which said it mustn’t be removed. I have absolutely no idea why this label shouldn’t be removed. Any ideas?

Skins label

Why???????

I liked the smooth, shiny material but I had a bit of trouble pulling the tights up so the waistband wasn’t hugging my hips, but after my run, I read on the website that the ‘lower rise sits comfortably on hips’, which isn’t great for those of us with a bit of a belly. I prefer a higher waist on my running tights, otherwise I find they keep slipping down.

SKINS A400 women's running tights

So, now I was dressed in my new fancy running tights, it was time for my run.

SKINS A400 women's running tights

It didn’t start well. I spent the first mile tugging at one of my bra straps that had decided to be uncomfortable (I think it was irritating my sunburnt shoulder) and the SKINS running tights were the most uncomfortable things I had ever worn; they were too tight on my legs, the waistband kept slipping down and the bands at the bottom of the legs were threatening to cut the circulation off from my calves.

After the first mile though, my clothing stopped annoying me. My bra strap stopped irritating my sunburn and the SKINS got comfier. A lot comfier. Maybe they need breaking in or something but after a while they stopped being the most uncomfortable thing I’d ever worn and even the waistband stopped slipping down and decided to stay in place, and a waistband that doesn’t keep slipping down is really all I want from a pair of running tights.

So now I’d started going, I decided my goal for today’s run would be to run under 13 minute miles. I decided this when I kept stopping to walk because I thought it would spur me on to stop walking quite so much and, yay, it worked. Because the Dymchurch Marathon has a cut off of 6 hours, I reckoned if I can average 13 minute miles or under, I should make the cut off time but, according to Running Free Online, if I run the marathon like I ran today, I’m not going to make that cut off time. Dammit. Still, I have months and months to get fitter and faster.

marathon-estimate

Something that did make me smile, however, was the Great Kent Bike Ride pack that was waiting for me when I got back. It contained this year’s t-shirt that I’d ordered and IT’S BRIGHT FUCKING ORANGE.

Great Kent Bike Ride 2015 t-shirt

I love orange. I love orange so much that, many years ago, I thought about joining the Hare Krishnas when I saw them skipping down Oxford Street one day. I’m not sure if they were actually skipping but they looked so happy in their flowing orange robes, banging their tambourines, I wanted to join them and be happy and wear orange and bang tambourines down Oxford Street and stuff. But then I found out they didn’t eat garlic or onions and I thought fuck that.

Tomorrow is a rest day but, obviously, Juneathon doesn’t allow for proper rest days so I’ll go for a walk or something and I’ll also report back on whether the SKINS did their reduce DOMS thing or not. I can tell you this though; as I’m writing this post – 5 hours after returning from my run – my legs feel good. Maybe they do work after all.

Stats

Running: 7 miles
Pairs of posh new running tights: 1
Bright orange t-shirts: 1
Current thoughts of joining the Hare Krishnas: 0

 

 

Juneathon Day 24: Practically A Rest Day And A Question About Nutrition

My marathon training schedule said, Bike: 30 minutes. It hardly seemed worth getting my bike out of the garage just to go on a 30 minute ride, then I thought but what about people without bikes? Surely most runners aren’t cyclists too? Perhaps it meant 30 minutes on a stationary bike but I didn’t want to go to the gym just to do 30 minutes on a stationary bike (if you want to know my thoughts on stationary bikes, you can read my stationary bike haiku here), so I decided to ponce about the countryside for half an hour on my pretty Lady of the Manor Bike.

Pashley Poppy

My beautiful Lady of the Manor bike

Before I ponced about the countryside (where I saw a crow peck at the remains of a squished pigeon, ick), I’d been to Tesco to buy a Trek Bar for Sunday’s Great Kent Bike Ride; not that a leisurely 30 mile bike ride needs any particular fuelling but because I don’t usually (for ‘usually’, read ‘ever’) have breakfast and so I knew I’d be starving well before lunchtime and, anyway, Trek Bars are yum.

This got me thinking about sports nutrition and supplements in general, especially as I’m *cough* marathon training (this is only the second week, the novelty will soon wear off, I promise) and nutrition will have to play a part in that somewhere.

I took running really seriously when I first started. I read all the books and even before I’d run my first 5k, I’d started looking at gels and protein shakes. I know, I know… stop laughing… I was an enthusiastic beginner, all excited about my new hobby. I’ve still never had a gel, but when I started running home from work, I fuelled up beforehand with a Trek Bar (like I said, any excuse) and then I discovered MaxiNutrition vanilla protein shakes in Holland & Barrett, which tasted like ice cream, so I decided I needed one of those on completion of each running commute.

Because I’ve barely ran over the last few years, I haven’t taken any notice of what I’ve eaten afterwards but, I suppose with my mileage hopefully increasing over the next few weeks, I’m going to have to start thinking about pre-, during- and post-run nutrition. Any tips? What do you eat and drink when you’re marathon training?

Stats

Cycling: 30-ish minutes / 6-ish miles

 

 

 

Juneathon Day 23 – Bad Mood

Flowers, Willesborough Dykes footpath

Pretty flowers seen on today’s run (although this pic was taken a couple of weeks ago)

Yesterday, I said I was going to do this coming Saturday’s long run tomorrow, but today I changed my mind as I decided doing 7 miles the day after doing 4 miles wasn’t a good idea. Not because I’d be overdoing it but because I would undoubtedly end up walking 6.5 miles of the 7 miles and there wouldn’t even be a pub lunch at the end of it and I only walk for lunch.

So, the 7 miles will be done on Thursday and I’m not sure why I didn’t think of doing it on Thursday in the first place (and in case you’re wondering why I don’t do it on Friday, I’m going out Thursday night and no running ever takes place when I’ve been out the night before).

Back to today though. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that, if you go to bed with the hump but without any dinner, you’re not going to have much energy in the morning. But, although I woke up still in a bad mood, when even the thought of trying out my new running shoes didn’t cheer me up, I wasn’t in a bad enough mood to tell my marathon training schedule to fuck off, so I decided to do an out and back to get my 4 miles in.

While I was out, I wondered why I’d chosen to do an out and back, seeing as I hate out and backs. Then I realised it would be good training for the marathon because, not only is Dymchurch marathon an out and back, it’s an out and back and out and back and out again which made me wonder why I’d signed up to it in the first place, then I remembered the goody bag contains beer, crisps and chocolate.

Dymchurch goody bag

Will run for chocolate, crisps and cider

I’ve got to admit though, after being in Dymchurch on Sunday and looking up the sea wall at the route, I’m not looking forward to running up and down it for six hours in the freezing cold end-of-November weather.

Stats

Running: 4 miles
Bad moods: 1

 

 

 

 

Juneathon Days 21 and 22 – No Slactivities For Me

Friends of Pilgrim Hospice Social Rides

I’m fourth from left in the pink top and pink shoes. A lovely summer’s day at the seaside. Brr.

Ha, you thought I’d slacked off yesterday, didn’t you? Well, I’m here to tell all you disbelievers that I didn’t slack off, so there. In fact, I went on a 30 mile bike ride yesterday (after getting the day right). I couldn’t be bothered to blog when I got in and sat and read my book in the conservatory instead (Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky by Patrick Hamilton, in case you’re interested. I love Patrick Hamilton. If you haven’t already, read Hangover Square, it’s brilliant.) and then later on, I sort of forgot. That’s ‘sort of forgot’, as in ‘totally forgot because I ate pizza and drank wine and then watched crap all night on telly instead’.

This morning I went to the gym and did 20 minutes on the rowing machine, 22 minutes on the treadmill doing Audiofuel’s 180 Pyramid Max interval session, then 20 minutes on the cross-trainer. I also booked spin classes for tomorrow evening and Saturday morning. As you’ll remember (if you’ve been paying attention that is but, if not why not, hmm?), I challenged myself to a parkrun/spin challenge. The challenge involves running parkrun quick enough, then cycling back quick enough to get to the spin class in time. To be honest, although the timing is quite tight, it’s nowhere near impossible and unless my legs or wheels fall off or an unlikely but extremely unlucky combination of both, it should be fine. Touch wood, fingers crossed, stroke a black cat, etc.

Also this morning, Carla, Rachel and I have been discussing arrangements for Sunday’s Great Kent Bike Ride (where fellow Juneathoner Helen will also be joining us). It didn’t take long for the discussion to turn to where we’ll be eating and drinking after the ride and we are all now looking forward to our Wetherspoon roast. Yum.

You may be wondering where my marathon training is going to fit into all this spinning and cycling. I’ve been wondering the same thing myself and have decided Saturday’s long run of 7 miles is going to happen on Wednesday, although I’m supposed to be doing 4 miles tomorrow, so it’ll probably be more of a 7 mile walk.

Stats

Cycling: 30 miles
Rowing machine: 20 minutes
Treadmill: 22 minutes
Cross-trainer: 20 minutes
parkrun/spin challenges coming up: 1
Great Kent Bike Rides coming up: 1
Wetherspoon roasts looking forward to: 1

Juneathon Day 20 – A Run And A Pair Of New Shoes

DAMMIT, I thought, when I woke up. I’d had a sleepless night and when I woke up I thought I’d slept too late to make it on time to meet up with a group to go on a bike ride to the seaside. So I jumped out of bed to get on Facebook and hoped they’d see my ‘sorry I’m not going to make it on time’ message before they left, then I realised it was Saturday, not Sunday and I didn’t have to be anywhere. Duh.

But, I did have to run 6 miles and so I drank my tea and got into my running gear and attempted to run 6 miles. My ‘attempt’ turned into a bit of a stroll, listening to my music but at least I made it out the door.

When I got home, I decided because I’d ran 6 miles, my running shoes were probably worn out and therefore I needed a new pair. I pondered this out loud on Twitter and Twitter agreed with me:

And so I cycled off to the Designer Outlet and bought myself some pretty pink Asics Cumulus 15.

Asics Cumulus 15

These totally say ‘serious athlete in training’ eh?

I’m not entirely convinced they’re bright enough or pink enough though. What do you think?

Stats

Running: 6 miles
Cycling: 4 miles
Pairs of bright pink running shoes: 1

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