How ANY Person Aged 50 or Above Can Cross The Finish Line Of A **5k Park Run** In 30 Minutes Or Less…No Matter How “UNFIT” You Currently Are!… – Paul Gough Physio Rooms

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How ANY Person Aged 50 or Above Can Cross The Finish Line Of A **5k Park Run** In 30 Minutes Or Less…No Matter How “UNFIT” You Currently Are!…

Week 1 of A 5k (Park Run) Training Schedule

“There is likely to be a “5k Park Run” somewhere close to you”.

…And it’s a great place to not only run and get the benefits of improved cardio-vascular he alt, but it’s a great place to meet like mined people and also see something different. I do these types of runs regularly and I like to swap the location that I do it, every saturday morning. You can search on the internet to find your nearest location and just show up and run.

If you’re even remotely tempted to give it ago but are thinking you’re not “fit enough” to do it, then I have something for you…

It’s a step-by-step, easy to follow 5 week fitness programme that any person aged 50+ can follow and be in good enough shape to confidently put you on the start line and help you burst through the finish line of a 5k (3 mile) run.

Why don’t you do it with a friend?

Daily fitness rituals can completely transform your health.

Doing something on a daily basis to keep fit will boost your energy, keep you supple, improve heart and lung function and the best bit is that those benefits are FREE to all who really want them enough to do something about it.

Trouble is, it’s often very difficult to find the time, or maintain the discipline to do something each and every day. And that’s the beauty of the organised 5k park runs. It’s just once per week and surely ANY person can find the time for what will take on average, less than it does to watch Eastenders or Coronation Street, is guaranteed to make you feel healthy and increase energy for the rest of the weekend, an event so well organised that it will be there waiting for you every Saturday morning at the same time, and one that will put you alongside other runners with a very similar fitness ability as you?

So let’s presume your fitness levels are pretty poor at the minute.

You’re in your 50’s or above and currently free from any injury, you work hard through the day either at work or in the house, and by about 6-7 pm on a night you’ve gotten everything done. Which gives you loads of time to get out and establish a routine. And that’s the key.

To be able to cross the finish line of any race, you’ve got begin at the very start. Not the start line of the race, but start with finding and sticking to a very simple routine.

I’m about to give you a routine that if you follow, is guaranteed to put you on the start line of any 5k run and not only that, will let you cross it in less time than it takes to watch your favourite soap on TV.

So here goes:

You’re going to need the right clothing.

For two reasons. Firstly if it’s before work or late evening you’re going to be doing this, it could be dark. Best to play it safe and go for the high visibility gear.

Second, you’re going to want know that you’ve got the right clothing on to keep you warm. There’s actually lots of research into the idea that wearing clothing that makes you look and feel great when you’re active, will stimulate you enough to want to do it more. I work on the theory that if I have the right clothing when I run or cycle, then I’m going to be warm enough at the start and not put off from getting to that all important first step.

And if you’re anything like me, you’ll know the biggest temptation to sitting on the couch and falling out of your routine is when that cold wind gets up, or the temperature gauge on your car shows only one digit instead of two.

Next: If you haven’t ran for a while. Trainers are important.

Avoid the temptation to find an old pair stuffed away in the cupboard somewhere, or worse yet, those nice white plimsoles you might like to wear in summer. Big mistake to make. Great for a physio like me (…because you’ll end up in front of me), but not great for your health. You need proper cushioned running style trainers.

So we’ve got you kitted out nicely.

Now lets start with a simple routine.

Always begin with a warm up. And to achieve this, put on all of your nice new running clothiong and simply stand in your porch or hallway and jog on the sport for 7-8 minutes. A warm up is that simple. You’re just preparing your body for activity.

Now lets move on.

Despite every bit of sports science, technology, and medical advancements that have taken place in the last 20 years in exercise, I’m going to ask you to start with a time proven, good old-fashioned method of improving fitness incrementally.

And it’s called “run a lamp post, walk a lamp post”.

Just incase you’re not familiar, it works like this: Look for the first lamp you can see and jog to it. Then you walk to the next one. Then you run to the next and so on.

My Mam introduced me to it when I was about 10, and it still remains one of the simplest ways to begin to get fit. Step out of your house after your warm up and for 15 minutes only, every other night, operate the ‘run a lamp post, walk a lamp post’ method of getting fit. Do you need me to walk you through it?

Week 2 – Step It Up EASY…

So we’re aiming to get you in shape for one of the 5k runs happening across the UK. And the mission of week one was to kit you out with the right gear and select the right trainers. And that’s important because you need to be both safe and warm if you’re planning on being out either before or after work.

I mentioned to you that a warm up was essential. And also that a warm up routine is as simple as a jogging on the spot in your hall way for 7-8 minutes, just enough to see a colour change in your face, before you head out for your run.

If you wanted to be really diligent, you could then even do some stretching on the move because your muscles are now nice and warm and ready to be stretched. Advisable if you want to make your run easier, and keep injury risk low. And you need to be doing this warm up every time you’re about to step out for a run.

And if you follow my plan of the old “run a lamppost, walk a lamppost” routine for 15 minutes every other night, then you’re good to step up to phase 2 of my five week programme.

Here’s what I need you to do this second week:

Instructions: When you see Run/Walk, that means you need to run for 15 seconds, then walk for 45 seconds, and is a very nice, incremental way of bringing home your fitness and perfect for this stage that we’re at.

  • Saturday: Run/Walk for 30 minutes.
  • Sunday: Walk for 30 minutes
  • Monday: Run/Walk for 30 minutes
  • Tuesday: Run/Walk for 30 minutes
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Run/Walk for 3 miles (4.8km)
  • Friday: Rest.

And now you really need to be doing a cool down. At the end of each 30 minute routine, when you get in your house, or on your door step up against a wall, be sure to stretch and hold all of the major muscles you’ve just been using. These include your calf muscles, Achilles, hamstring and quads. And your lower back could do with a bit of loosening too. Especially as you’ve likely been running on a hard surface, which can cause a little bit of back stiffness and is much more common if you’re aged 50+.

Tip: An ice pack on one or two of those muscles for 10 minutes might also prevent any of those next day aches and pains.

And one thing to watch out for, if you’re brand new to running, and you feel any pain on the inside of your shinbone, that’s called “shin splints”. Best not to run with this type of injury or to make the mistake of trying to “run it off”. Stop, get some ice on and also check your trainers. The number one cause of “shin splints” is a poor choice of footwear in the first place, or a set of trainers that just wasn’t appropriate.

When it comes to fitness, most of us have more potential than we have ever dreamed. Countless people pick up running in their mid to late 40’s, wishing they’d gotten into the habit of fitness earlier.And one of the reasons they don’t, is they’re just not sure where to start. Following my 5 week programme to complete a 5k run is a very good place to make that start.

By the end, you’ll be in good enough shape to complete any 5k run inside 20-30 minutes, and more importantly than that, I hope to have given you the tools to kick start a fitness habit that will last.

Week 3

So you’ve hopefully completed a successful week 2 of your training.

Remember the goal is to get you across the finish line of a 5k run, in under 30 minutes.

Understand that the best way to do any form of training, is to build your fitness slowly, but surely. Hence the reason I started you off by simply finding the right clothing and the tools to keep you safe and with a fail proof routine of ‘run a lamp post, walk a lamp post’ for 30 minutes, that I had you doing in week 1.

And then I asked you in the last week to begin some very simple interval training, mixing 30 minutes of cardio vascular exercise to include running and walking.

And so to week 3. This week I need you to be spending a touch longer running, but still mixing it with walking.

  • Saturday: Run half pace for 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes, repeat 4 times.
  • Sunday: Run half pace for 3 minutes, walk 1 to 3 minutes (depending upon how out of breath you are) – repeat 5 times.
  • Monday: At home in the warmth, 7-8 minutes jog on the spot, commence stretching routine of all major muscles including hamstrings, Achilles, quads and calfs, and most important of all, your lower back.
  • Tuesday: Rest.
  • Wednesday: Run at half pace for 3 minutes, walk for 3 minutes – repeat 5 times.
  • Thursday: Run at three quarter pace for 1 minute, jog at half pace for 2 minutes, walk for three minutes.
  • Friday: Rest.

The aim of this week is to really get you used to sustaining the pace and length of time at which you can jog. And by mixing half pace jogging, with three quarter pace running, and slowly returning to walking, you’re beginning to build up some stamina and ‘tease’ your muscles with a taste of what’s in store.

And that’s important. Because the number one reason that you WOULDN’T cross the finish line of a 5k run, is a lack of stamina (That and picking up and injury along the way). And the best way to avoid an injury along the way to the start line is NOT to push your self too fast, too soon.

I’ve seen countless runners come through my Physio Room doors having trained for weeks and months for a big event such as a Great North 10k, or the Great North Run, and just weeks or days before the event date, decide to increase their training too much meaning they are left suffering with an bad injury because they didn’t pick and stick to a routine in the early days. That and they refused to listen to the warning signs and seek expert advice.

Week 4

To cross the finish line of a 5k run in under 30 minutes is no mean task. One that is made much easier when you know some “insider” rules, or you follow a step by step, proven formulae for success. And right now you’re about to find about step 4.

And if you’ve been following my system for “fitness success” these last few weeks and ready to take the next step, here’s the schedule you need for week 4:

  • Saturday: Run half pace for 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes, repeat 3 times.
  • Sunday: Run half pace for 3 minutes, (depending upon how out of breath you are) – repeat 4 times.
  • Monday: At home in the warmth, 7-8 minutes jog on the spot, commence stretching routine of all major muscles including hamstrings, Achilles, quads and calfs, and most important of all, your lower back.
  • Tuesday: complete rest.
  • Wednesday: Run at half pace for 8 minutes, walk for 2 minutes – repeat 3 times.
  • Thursday: Run at three quarter pace for 2 minute, jog at half pace for 2 minutes, walk for four minutes. Repeat three times.
  • Friday: Rest.

And at this point, it’s important to understand what’s happening to you and your body.

You’re about to start running for a more sustained, longer period of time with much smaller amounts of walking in-between. Splitting walking and running is easily one of the best for ways for you to enjoy your fitness ride, without the fear or becoming ‘disengaged’ or even injured. But it does drain you of “energy”.

So now that you’re beginning to use much more energy, here are some top tips on ways to keep your energy levels high. Note: One of the great things about sustained exercise for 30 minutes or more each day, eating what you love becomes a ‘guilt free’ option:

So, to increase the fuel in your tank, consider adding this to your diet where appropriate:

  • Breakfast which includes cereal with chopped fruit or scrambled eggs on toast & milk or even a toasted tea cake and peanut butter. Fruit salad and yoghurt would also be a great option.
  • Snacks to take with you at work include ham, chicken or tuna salad, low fat yoghurts, fruitcakes or cereal bars, plenty of dried fruit and fresh fruit too.
  • And for your big meal, go for a well-balanced meal that contains carbs which comes from bread, potatoes, pasta or rice, and some protein, which you can find in fish, cheese, chicken and beans. And don’t skimp on the vegetables. They’re important too.

In the 5th and final week, my goal for you is to run 1 mile continuously. To achieve that, you must follow this week’s plan. And those meal tips I’ve just revealed, they’ll definitely come in handy and will collectively help if you even more if you can get into a good habit now.

Week 5

Are you managing to keep up?

If you’ve been following my 5 week “cheat sheet” for an easier route to the finish line of a 5k run in under thirty minutes, then you should be just about ready to take the next step.

And that next step involves more continuous running, double checking that you’re wearing the right pair of trainers, and even that the cold water tap is running in your own home. Read on and I’l explain…

But before I let you in on this week’s schedule, know this:

If you’ve come this far and are beginning to manage, even enjoy, the continuous running that’s been involved in recent weeks, then you’re not too far away from a serious attempt at crossing the “fitness line” as well the finish line.

And those tips I gave you in the last section on the foods and fluids you should consider consuming… you’re going to really need them from here on in.

And now that you’re going to be spending even MORE time ‘pounding’ the hard surface, for close to 30 minutes continuous, you really need to check two things:

  1. Your trainers. Because if they’re old (older than 6 months), don’t quite fit properly or are not appropriate for running, then wearing them will increase the likely hood of you picking up unwanted injuries (take a trip to your local running store to have them checked out).
  2.  That the cold water tap works correctly in your house. Because you’re going to need it to fill up an ice cold bath when you get in.

So for now, here is the 5th and final training schedule that you need to complete to make running for 30 minutes next weekend in your local park seem “like a walk in it”.

  • Saturday: Run half pace for 14 minutes, walk 2 minutes, repeat 2 times.
  • Sunday: Run half pace for 10 minutes, walk 1 minute(depending upon how out of breath you are) – repeat 3 times.
  • Monday: At home in the warmth, 7-8 minutes jog on the spot, commence stretching routine of all major muscles including hamstrings, Achilles, quads and calfs, and most important of all, your lower back.
  • Tuesday: complete rest.
  • Wednesday: Run at three quarter pace for 8 minutes, walk for 2 minutes – repeat 3 times.
  • Thursday: Run at three quarter pace for 15 minutes, jog at half pace for 10 minutes, walk for five minutes.
  • Friday: Run continuously for 30 minutes at half pace.

Thereafter, begin to increase the pace at which you’re able to run for the 30 minutes and sustain it.

Now, back to this ice bath. It’s important because now that you’re at a level where you’re able to run for 30 minute non stop, muscles are working seriously hard. So too is your cardiovascular system, and that’s great too and your heart and lungs are going to be grateful that you’ve done this.

But for your muscles, to prevent those unwanted next day aches and pains that I talk regularly about, particularly if you’re aged 50+, then you sitting in an ice bath after you’ve ran, is a priority.

And it works as simple as this:

Fill your bath to half full using cold water from the tap. Empty a few dozen (or more) ice cubes into it. Let the water settle and then sit in it with your legs completely submerged.

Really, there isn’t a better way to recover from a run and prevent unwanted stiffness than to do this. You could aim to do 5 lots of 2 mins “dips” with your legs being submerged in the cold water.

Hint – it will be painful at first, but keeping still is the best method to prevent it from being “worse” than it needs to be. Do it and you’ll be glad you did when you wake up on a Sunday morning after you’ve completed your run as you’ll be feeling much more like wanting to move, than had you not.

Good luck and enjoy doing the 5k ANYWHERE in the UK.

Programme designed by Paul Gough and Published in The Northern Echo Newspaper.

More tips for runners, here: www.paulgoughphysio.com/sports-injury

Paul Gough
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