5k Training Plan to Celebrate the Start of Summer

May 19, 2020

Today’s guest blogger is Tina Bollman, Behavioral Health Coordinator at Mosaic and Subject Matter Expert for the American Council on Exercise. Below, she reflects on the changes brought by COVID-19 and provides resources for starting a 5k training plan amid the pandemic. Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine.Summer Solstice Shuffle logo

I taught my last indoor cycling class on Mar. 9. When I left the gym that day, I had no idea how much my life would change because of COVID-19. Schools, businesses and gyms were shuttered and events of every kind have been cancelled for the remainder of the year. One of those was Mosaic’s very own 2nd Annual Summer Solstice Shuffle. We know it was the right thing to do, but nevertheless, it was another big disappointment!

After an appropriate mourning period, I regrouped, rallied and thought hard about what is really important right now. For me, it is connection and movement. That’s why I wanted to develop a 5k training plan to honor the spirit of the Summer Solstice Shuffle. Getting active, right now and right where you are is one of the most powerful forms of self-care. We can do this, Together:Apart.

Starting a New Training Plan

Whenever I start on a new training plan, I try to break it down into manageable pieces. This helps me stay on track to meet my goals. I hope it will help you, too.

Step 1: Commit to a plan and talk to your healthcare provider.

Typically it takes about eight weeks of training to prepare for a new athletic event. This is the smart way, and it’s highly recommended. Fortunately, it’s also a very approachable plan. As a first step, pick a goal date for your run/walk and mark it on your calendar. Make sure you give yourself at least two full months to train.

Remember to talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program. Virtual visits are available with Mosaic providers for both new and existing patients. To make an appointment, call 541-383-3005.

Step 2: Day one of training. Start walking (or running, if that is your thing).

Don’t over-complicate this. Put on your shoes, go outside and walk. You might check the weather first, this is Central Oregon after all. You don’t have to set any speed records, and it should not feel intimidating in any way. Just see how far you go.

As with all other activities, maintaining physical distance while training is paramount. In some instances where physical distancing is not possible, it may be advisable to wear a mask. You can learn more about safe outdoor recreation on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

In addition to keeping a safe physical distance as you train, consider using an App to track your progress. This helps me to set my own personal goals and keeps me motivated as the miles add up. There are many good smart phone tracking apps available. A couple of my favorites are MapMyRun and MapMyWalk by Under Armour. These apps use your phone’s GPS to map your route and track your distance as you walk or run. They are free to download and you just need an email address to create your account.

Since Mar. 15, when it became apparent that some really strange and frightening things were happening globally, I’ve walked almost 140 miles. I knew I needed to do something for myself so I put on my shoes (and a warm coat, a beanie and gloves, it was only 20 degrees that day!) and I walked. I’ve walked some distance almost every day since. I have wandered through neighborhoods, along a river trail or took a drive to a fresh location. It has saved me physically and mentally when I needed some self-care and stress management – and I’m confident it will do the same for you!

Step 3: Set interim milestones to keep yourself on track.

Much like breaking down the training plan in steps, it’s smart to break down your distance into interim milestones. For example, if I started my training plan on May 23, I might set interim goals that look like this:

  • By June 6 – Walk/run 1 mile
  • By June 20 – Walk/run 1.7 miles
  • July 4 – Walk/run 2.4 miles
  • July 14 – Day of Personal Race – Walk/run full 5k (3.2 miles)

There are many websites that provide detailed training plans for 5k races. For example, Runner’s Blueprint has a Couch to 5k training plan that is geared toward beginning runners. The most important thing is to set goals that feel manageable and listen to your body as you train. If your plan becomes too intense, modify so that you can continue exercising healthfully.

I intentionally included June 20 as a sample milestone as that’s the Summer Solstice and inspiration for the Shuffle. If you are out and about training on that day, please send us pictures. We will share them on social media to celebrate our shared progress using the hashtag #Together:Apart.

Step 4: Mix in some cross training.

When training for a distance run/walk, it is important to build up your stabilizing muscles that keep you aligned as you move. Nike has an app called Nike Training Club that provides free workouts for all muscle groups and fitness levels. Mixing these into your routine (with the support of your doctor) will help you stay balanced and strong as you progress.

Step 5: Keep going. Race day!

Put your training to work and be ready to push yourself on your personal race day. Celebrate your achievement! We can meet the challenges of these times Together:Apart and encourage each other to finish strong.

I can confidently say from all my years as a fitness professional, it is never too late to start, or begin again when it comes to exercise. There will likely be some challenges along the way, but you can unlock a stronger physical body, enhanced mental resilience and boosted immune system by starting and sticking with your training plan.

I will be thinking about you all as I work through my plan, especially on June 20 as I walk in celebration of the Shuffle and the promise of sunny days ahead.

Happy training!

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