Last summer, I interviewed Angi Farrugia for Lake Mary Life Magazine. Angi dedicates much of her time to walking, running, and hiking for local charities. Although she endured her own health issues in 2005 and then again last season, Angi continues on her exciting journey. She participates in the Dublin Adidas Marathon in just a few days. “The energy around me during an event helps keep me motivated,” says Angi. You can visit her website for updates and news. I asked Angi for her top tips on training for a 5K. “I love being able to help out Newbies,” Angi says. Eager as always to share advice and helpful hints, Angi offers essential tips in training for beginners, helping you prepare for your first 5K adventure.
A PHYSICAL: Get with your doctor and make sure everything is ok. If you’re on any kind of medication or have been inactive for a while, your doctor may come up with a specialized plan for helping you meet your goals. You can also go over any diet concerns.
SHOES: Shoes should be fitted for your feet. Fleet Feet, Track Shack, running stores are the best for this. Big retail stores don’t train employees with enough information to get you into a good shoe, and this can cause injury for your feet, knees, and shin. Leaving shoes in the car isn’t good either. For marathon seasons, I have 2 pairs, one for short distance trainings and the other for the long. Your feet WILL SWELL when you’re finished running/walking and it’s important to get into a pair of sandals as quickly as you can: Instant relief from throbbing sore feet.
NUTRITION: Carbs are good for storing energy. I use power gels, because my diet has minimal carbs in it, if any. Power gels come in a variety of flavors and are great for carb loading while training. I’m still keeping my carb intake down, because I only consume the power gels during training. Running and cycling stores have different kinds of nutrition available. Don’t wait until race day to try out a new product; this may not agree with your stomach. Use your time before the event to figure out what works best for you. Do NOT change ANYTHING on race day.
HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE!: Stay hydrated ALL the time . . . even when you are not training. I start off my trainings with water, and then as I start to sweat, use Gatorade/Powerade to replenish lost nutrients.
WALK vs. RUN: Don’t expect to be able to run a mile your first time out. Use a ratio method: 1 minute walk, then a 1 minute run . . . 4 minute walk, then 2 minute run. Whatever works for you. There are stopwatches that will beep every interval or use a simple stopwatch and switch off when you need to.
RUNNING (WALKING) BUDDY?: Someone training with you is one of the biggest motivators. You don’t want to let each other down by not showing up for a scheduled run/walk. And the company is not only good for safety reasons but helps pass the time and miles away.
STRENGTH TRAINING: You should not train every day. This can lead to injury. Alternate days with strength training as this will help strengthen all the muscles you use when you’re running/walking.
DON’T SKIP TRAINING: TRY not to skip training. If the weather is bad, most gyms have daily rates to use their treadmills. You may even be able to find an inexpensive treadmill at a yard sale or in your local paper. Maybe a neighbor or coworker would be willing to loan you their treadmill during your training. If you must skip training, alternate with your strength training and get back on schedule as soon as you can.
APPAREL: Dri-FIT clothing is the best material for running/walking. It helps to wick sweat away and keep you dry and comfortable. Finding a pair of shorts that work best for you can be challenging. Sometimes those cute little skirt shorts can cause chafing and, although fashionable, can cause major discomfort. BODYGLIDE is a good roll on product to keep clothes from rubbing skin raw in certain areas.
PEDICURES: Pedicures are NOT advisable while training. The tougher your feet are, the less prone to blistering. Keep nails short. If nails are kept long, they can break off or be pulled off.