Several Stroller Warriors chapters are currently in full swing with their Fall Couch to 5K (C25K) sessions—some finishing up week 1, others planning the graduation race in the next 2 to 3 weeks. What is C25K? The C25K is a 9-week program designed in 1996 by Josh Clark with the goal of setting a manageable exercise routine 2-3 days a week. Participants ease their way into running over 8 weeks— first with a run/walk scheme, eventually switching to more running over 8 weeks, and finishing with a 5K on the ninth week. C25K is a great training plan to follow post-injury, postpartum, or anytime during one’s running journey. Graduating C25K is a celebratory affair with Stroller Warriors— medals, shirts, SW encouraging runners along the way, and a celebration at the end!
I have used C25K on several occasions— twice postpartum and once while training for a marathon where I used the C25K running plan during the week coupled with rowing, strength training and a long weekend run. There are several aspects to keep in mind before and during your C25K training if you have not already.
Having the right type of running sneakers is important before beginning a running journey. A few years ago, I made the mistake of buying and completing my first marathon training run in shoes that were sized like my street shoes. A few days later my toenails were badly bruised! I went to a running store and got fitted for running sneakers. This was when I learned that it’s important to “size up”— running sneakers should be at least a half size bigger than your everyday shoe.
Have you been mid-run when you find yourself beathing so fast being unable to catch your breath? I, for one, have been guilty of holding my breath too long when I run or exercise. Pay attention to your breathing pattern when running— using that 360 breath where the ribs expand on all sides (front, back and sides). Proper breathing assists with activating the correct muscles used when running.
Correct posture is important to help avoid injury. I constantly remind myself to “stand tall” starting with the top of my head— continue to look at the horizon. In the past, I would often find myself focused on a center line in the road with a very slight bend in the neck. Over time, I would complain about achy shoulders and trapezius muscles. I must remind myself to keep my gaze ahead. Keep those shoulders upright.
Hand placement also plays a role in running posture. Be sure to keep hands relaxed and not clenched in a fist. Arms should swing on the side of your body and they should not swing across your body. Try to avoid “pinching your sports bra” as I call it— this is where hand placement is kept by the armpits.
If you are exercising and you’re thirsty, then it’s too late! Be sure to drink fluids before running and bring a water bottle to workouts. Don’t want to carry a water bottle during a run? Ask a Stroller Warrior friend if they can hold the water bottle in the stroller.
Running is fun and a terrific way to build community. Sometimes, the first step is the hardest step! When with a team, running builds friendships, and creates lasting camaraderie.