Posted by Nova Medical Group’s Wellness Manager Mary Zmuda
With the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce’s first annual SuperHero 5K is coming up in April, running has been on my mind. The problem? It is hard to motivate yourself to run when it is 10 degrees outside!
After weeks of what I am ashamed to call laziness, I finally buckled down and committed to training for the 5K – and even recruited some of my co-workers to join me! Here are some tips from my training journey to help motivate you:
- Set a goal. Figure out what you want to accomplish. For me, it was to be able to run the SuperHero 5K in April. Having an achievable goal in sight gives you a clear vision. Then, try breaking that goal down into smaller, “bite sized” goals along the way. For example, my smaller goal is to exercise for 30 minutes, 3 times per week. This makes my training seem more manageable and doable. And, if I keep it up – the April 5K will be a piece of cake!
- Recruit friends. Let’s face it, exercise is easier if you have a friend to chat with and hold you accountable. At Nova Medical Group, we started a Couch to 5K program that consists of 9 weeks of training designed to literally take you from being a “couch potato” to being able to run the SuperHero 5K (our end goal!). We hold group runs at various times throughout the week to help support each other along our running journeys.
- Have an action plan. Don’t just show up and stumble your way through a workout. Decide what you are going to do before hitting the gym or going out on the trail so you will know what to expect and are in the mindset to accomplish. Prior to starting my training, I created a 9 week calendar that outlined every workout I was going to do leading up to the SuperHero 5K (check out my plan – and feel free to use it!). It took some time to do, but the advanced planning takes the thinking out of my training.
- Take it slow. Ease your way into exercising, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while. Soreness is expected, so a proper warm up and cool down with plenty of stretching is a must! My first week of training consisted of:
- A 5 minute warm up walk
- A good stretch
- Alternating 1 minute jogging and 1 ½ minutes walking for 20 minutes
- Another good stretch.
Each week, the running gets longer (and faster) and the walking gets shorter!
- Make it fun. A guaranteed way to become a quitter is by doing something you hate. Infuse positivity into your workouts! Celebrate your accomplishments by rewarding yourself with a smoothie, buying a new exercise top, or even bragging about your running progress to your friends!
- Be careful. Listen to your body. If your leg muscles cramp up, stop and stretch. If you are in pain after a workout, consult with a health professional. Too many times, people push past their limits and end up injuring themselves.
If all else fails, remember the health benefits of running for motivation!
- It lowers risk of chronic diseases – cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes
- Improves heart and lung function
- Strengthens muscles and bones
- Aids in weight control
- Helps relieve depressive symptoms, stress, and anxiety
- Improves quality of sleep
Now, all I need to do is figure out what super hero I’m going to be on race day… that might be the toughest part! Looking forward to seeing you at Bolen Park!
-Posted by Nova Medical Group’s Wellness Manager Mary Zmuda