Dot to Trot

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I Ran My First 5K…Now What?

The big action shot of me crossing the finishing line of my first 5K where I ran the entire 3.1 miles. I am awesome!

The big action shot of me crossing the finishing line of my first 5K where I ran the entire 3.1 miles. I am awesome!

Woohoo! I ran my first 5K race without walking or stopping to catch my breath. I finished in 45:33 minutes. My plan – run at a consistent, easy pace. I wanted to have enough gas in the tank at the end to finish strong. During past races, my competitive streak got the best of me and I started out fast but ended up walking by the time Mile 2 rolled around.

Not today. I stuck to my game plan and it worked.

It’s funny, but I never saw myself as a runner. Yet today, like most run days, I had a big smile on my face. That little voice in my head that tells me “I’m too tired to keep running” disappeared. Not once did I ever think about stopping. I felt relaxed and just enjoyed the morning run.

Speed Vs. Miles
So I ran my first 5K and I promptly asked myself, “Now what?” I have another 5K in a month. Do I focus on improving my time or do I start building up mileage? My husband thinks I should work on my time and compare how I did today with my next 5K. I like the idea, but I have to admit that during my run, I started thinking about training for a 10K.

There is something about distance running that intrigues me. But of course I want to run faster than a 15-minute mile. Decisions, decisions.

Working The 10% Rule
I’ve heard about the 10% Rule – Only increase mileage in increments of 10% per week. I have so many questions about it:

  1. As a running newbie, does the rule really apply to me?
  2. Is it better for me to increase the number of days I run and not mileage during a run?
  3. Doesn’t my body need more time than a week to adjust to the increased mileage?
  4. Is it more beneficial to run consistently (something I haven’t done lately) than upping my miles now?

I think consistency is the key for me, certainly to avoid injuries. Now that spring is here there is no excuse for not keeping to my run schedule.

Any advice from the runners out there?

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2 thoughts on “I Ran My First 5K…Now What?

  1. congrats! I will join you some day in the future, but for now I cheer you and my hubby on!. He focuses on getting a better time. 😉

  2. So awesome that you ran your first whole 5k! First, stop for a second and let that sink in. It’s huge, and so many people have never done what you just did.

    As for your questions.
    1. I recommend you listen to your body (and not your inner competitor or any voice who uses the word “should”) to decide when to up distance. I personally feared upping distance for a long time when I first got into running. I learned from TH (my running mentor) that once you can run about 3 miles comfortably, you can actually trust your body to run twice as far as you’ve trained it to do. Those first 3 are about physical endurance — the rest are about mental fortitude.

    2. Most trainers will tell you to do maintenance runs a couple of times a week and increase distance in only one or two runs a week. Jeff Galloway talks a lot about this one. I burn out if I run long distance too many times a week, but over time my maintenance runs have gone from 20 minutes to 45 as my comfort zone. Play with intervals, hills, etc to keep challenging yourself.

    3. Nope. It may take you a couple of weeks to feel like the new distance is EASY, but your body will accept and adjust to what you ask of it. You just have to keep your mind out of your body’s way. Mantras are great for that.

    4. Consistent training is essential to improve time or grow distance. As for which one you want to target, that’s all up to your personality. Do you want to beat your previous time? Do you want to master a distance before moving forward? Do you want to see how far you can go? (Remember, longer distance races often require a minimum pace of 15 minutes to beat the sweep buses.)

    I can tell you the best advice I got about distance (again from TH): if you’re still having fun, try a longer distance. If you aren’t having fun at that distance, don’t keep going up.

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