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Interval training, hidden strength could speed up steps to fitness

Courtesy of MCT

For novice runners, completing a 5K might seem intimidating, but if you develop a suitable training plan, stick to it and most importantly, motivate yourself, you’ll breeze past that finish line.
Regardless of experience, running is the simplest exercise because it can be done anywhere. You can take advantage of warm days (like last week’s spring tease), or fight the cold by hopping on a treadmill or the indoor track at the RPAC. Whatever venue you choose though, step one is quite literally taking step one and making the decision to try.
This necessary motivation leads to step two: You can go as slow as you want, but don’t stop. Run at a comfortable pace for as long as you possibly can, then push yourself for one more minute. You’ll likely be surprised with your inner strength. When training for distance, especially your first race, speed is a secondary priority. Make it your goal to finish the race, and don’t allow the time aspect to intimidate you.
One effective training technique for gaining endurance is interval training. Intervals force you to give all you have for 30-second to five-minute portions and then recover by resting for a portion. If you’re just starting out, try walking at a brisk pace (4-5 mph) for two to three minutes and then running (6-8 mph) for five minutes. Repeat this cycle three to four times until you feel comfortable. As it becomes easier, slowly increase the amount of time you spend running. Not only does interval training boost your metabolism and do incredible things for your heart, it ups your endurance as well.
The majority of running is mental, so bring your headphones and allow the beat of the music to drive you (a personal favorite: Kanye West Pandora Station). Another popular technique is to count “one, two” in your head each time a foot touches the ground. Once you get into a steady rhythm, going the distance becomes only a matter of mind over body.
“The brain has two hemispheres that are separated and don’t interconnect. The left brain tries to steer us towards pleasure and away from discomfort. The intuitive-creative right side connects us to our hidden strengths,” said 1972 U.S. Olympian in the 10,000-meter race and author Jeff Galloway.
On the day of the race, be sure to wake up at least an hour before you have to leave the house. Have a good, protein-packed breakfast like whole-grain toast with peanut butter. The protein and carbohydrates will provide you with sustained energy for the duration of the race. Be sure to dress for the weather as well. Layers are smart so you can remove them as you sweat. Most importantly, don’t let anxiety distract you. Running is the greatest stress reliever there is, so with every step on the pavement, just keep smiling through it and enjoy that runner’s high.
In honor of National Heart Health Month, the girls in the fitness group Changing Health Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls are participating in the Ross Heart Hospital Wellness Series Strong at Heart 5K at Easton Town Center Saturday. To join the team visit Greenswell.com.

Molly Tavoletti is vice president media chair for CHAARG

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