Imagine if you had to make an important presentation with very little notice and with no preparation. Or imagine the old days of taking exams with next to no preparation. What do you think of the outcome? Not to your liking, right?
Running 5k or 10k… or any distance, for that matter, if you are new to running, is a bit like that. You will get to the finish line. And in retrospect, you will have that medal and the finish line photo – but you know that you could have done better – for your own good. That feeling of “I could have done better” – where the blame squarely falls on yourself, and are found wanting – bad feeling, right?
So, how can you kill that feeling? Very simple. Commit to a training plan! Here are the various ways in which training plans help you to peak performance:
It is a plan: left to ourselves, we will have reasons for not going running. Net result – we possibly burn 600-700 calories in a run. The post run muffin puts paid to any effort you might have done. A running training plan, on the other hand, systematically helps you go out there daily, and burn 600-700 calories. This means a healthier lifestyle, if you wish so, permanently!
Effort increases are incremental: Often, our tendency is to do a 10k or 5k race by run/walking to the finish line somehow; and then it’s back to the committed relationship with a couch till a friend signs us up for the next run. We will be making slow increases in the distances we run, over weeks, as long as we stick to it. This ensures we are low on risk for picking up sporting/ overuse injuries.
It is comprehensive: Running training includes training for speed (interval runs, tempo runs, speed work), distance (base miles, gradual increase in distances), strength training (body weight exercises/ gym circuit training/ anything else, like cycling, swimming, spinning, crossfit, zumba etc. that you might want to try). This helps you not just get better at running, but also get stronger – for running and for all else that life throws at you.
It helps you get healthier: Training also tackles rest and recovery, ensuring that you hydrate well during and after the run. This means that ensuring your muscles get enough time to recover from the effort is a built-in thought. What, when and how much do you eat is another important part of the training conversation. So, nutrition and hydration make the training experience a composite one.