You want to run a 5k but can’t find the time to train? Here is a strategy I used this past Sunday that worked for me. Your results may vary…
Step One: Sign up for a 5k
I signed up to run a 5k at the beginning of July to raise money for the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic here in town. My job was one of the sponsors and sent out an email asking if people wanted to sign up, they would pay for the entry fee. Word! You can find a race near you by clicking here.
I signed up with dreams of running and training. Then life happened.
Step Two: Completely forget you signed up for the race
In my case, my daughter was born 6.5 weeks early, with some complications, and the race was a fleeting thought. It wasn’t until around the middle/end of September I remembered, “Oh snap, the 5k!”
So did I start running and training and saying my prayers and taking my vitamins a la’ Hulkamania? Nope. No excuses, I just plain spankin’ did not create the time to do so. However, this step is absolutely crucial in not training for a 5k. Which leads to step three.
Step Three: Don’t train physically, train mentally
I decided to prepare for the race mentally instead of physically. I figured, if my mind is right, my body will follow. I had a copy of the map for the race, I studied it and mentally saw myself running that bad boy. Nervous with anticipation, the night before I laid out my race gear and went to sleep still mentally training.
So what happened the day of the race?
Step Five: Make sure you eat a good breakfast
I’ve started eating oatmeal for breakfast these days. The Quaker One Minute kind, not instant. I add pecans or walnuts or almonds, cinnamon, peanut butter, and a scoop of a protein mix I procured from Wal-Mart. (It’s around $17 dollars, compared to $25 and up at GNC or other places.)
Since eating my concoction of oatmeal, I’ve felt fuller throughout the morning. The days I work from 7am-5pm, I feel full at least until 12 or 1pm.
I also had a cup of coffee, which I had heard is fantastic before exercise. With a full breakfast and my wife and baby in tow, off to the race!
Step Six: Look like you know what you’re doing
I signed in and received my official race chip. My first official race! I locate the rest of the runners from the agency and everyone lines up, waiting with anxious anticipation for the race to begin.
Sunglasses, check. Running attire, check. Hat turned around backwards so people will know I mean business, check. Sometimes, just looking like you know what you are doing boosts the ole confidence. Spankin’ bring it!!
Step Seven: Know your goals and have a mantra
My goal was not to win this race. My goal was to finish the race. An additional goal came up during the race, we’ll get to that in a bit.
For me, this was the first major physical activity I had done post kidney transplant. Yes, I wanted to help out the free clinic, but it was personal in that I wanted to push myself to finish the race.
So my mantra during the race was, “The race isn’t given to the swift, but he who
endures endureth to the end.” I repeated that phrase over and over and over during the run. However, during the last 2 miles, it became, “I gotta beat this guy.”
Step Eight: Have a nemesis!
Mile two was when the non-training really came into play. I made it through mile one fairly well, but spankin’ mile two…
My right ankle was the first to decide it was done for the day. About 8 minutes later, my left ankle decided to join the protest.
I was walking and this guy ran past me. I didn’t know him, but I immediately annointed him to be my nemesis. Having someone to compete against is extremely helpful. The back of guy’s shirt read, “Army 10-mile runner”, so Mr. Army 10 Miler became the person for me to beat. He was about 25 yards ahead of me, but that was ok. He was in my sights, he became my new mantra, “I gotta beat this guy.”
Step Nine: Don’t get comfortable and don’t quit!
Despite my ankles being on strike, I pushed past that and started to walk briskly. Mr. Army 10 Miler was still a ways ahead of me, so I decided to chunk it down.
I identified a few people ahead of me that I needed to beat in order to catch up to and beat my nemesis (I’m sure he is a really nice guy, and I had absolutely no animosity towards this man. And I’m thankful for his service in protecting our country. But I had to compete against you sir.)
The lady in the pink tank top powerwalking, my legs are longer and I out powerwalked her.
The guy pushing a stroller, I knew I could walk past him, no problem. Oh no he did not just start running, who told him! Come on body, time to suck it up and run. I have to endureth.
I ran past dude with the stroller and was coming up fast on Mr. Army 10 Miler. And. I. Past. Him. Boo-yah! I stopped running once I passed mile marker 3. I was feeling good, a little cocky, a little too comfortable thinking I could walk for a bit. Then I heard footsteps…
No, it can’t be. It’s not possible. He couldn’t…and he did. Mr. Army 10 Miler breezed past me like I was spankin’ not even there. The finish line was in sight, my nemesis was winning, so what are you doing to do Mr. Wearing His Hat Backwards Running Poser.
Sometimes, you have to dig down deep. Sometimes, you have to put on your ugly face to make it to the end. I fired up the afterburners and took off like lightening. Well, in my head it was like lightening, but in reality, more like the speed of a bowling ball rolled by a little kid.
I took Mr. Army 10 Miler on the inside curve and beat him to the finish line. I finished. I beat my nemesis. Excuse me while I catch my breath.
My official stats were:
Time- 45 minutes
Place- 123 out of 157
I ranked last in my age group of Men’s 30-34
I am so happy with my results. I endurethed. I’ll use this as a measuring stick against future races (I think I’ve caught the running bug) and actually train to do a bit better. For the entire race stats, you can check it out here.
Of course, I don’t recommend doing anything without the proper training/preparation. However, things that may seem impossible, when you show up and start, slowly become possible.
Thanks for reading and what is something you are looking forward to doing in the coming months?