I often get asked what’s the best way to run or even walk a 5k. I guess before I answer that, I need to go back a few years and speak of things that I know about. In this case? My own life. It wasn’t to long ago where the idea of running a 5k was so absurd to me. Matter of fact, the idea of running or even jogging a single mile had no difference in my mind then running a marathon. How would I know the difference. If you never took the time to try something, the concept of actually doing something will stay a simple myth.
Just like most people in the world, I would casually watch the Olympics and see the runners compete to be the best in the world. I even would find myself watching the NYC Marathon from the comfort of my apartment as I woke up on a Sunday morning in November. I always noticed people running through out the streets of NYC, and it was especially a trip to see people running down the south side of the west side highway right by the water as I whisked by them in a car.
I always thought the 2 same ideas every time. That it "seemed fun", which was quickly followed by "that would never be me."
I never viewed the sport in a dark light. It just never seemed possible for me. There was no drive, no ambition, no reason to run for more then a min at a time. I knew I wasn’t alone in this mindset, so what changed?
As I spent years of my adulthood wondering if I would ever get in shape or simply be healthy, people kept running by me. It was like the world was telling me to stop and look around because the answer was right in front of my eyes. Everyone was running, they were smiling, some had a focus, others kept conversations with friends. Maybe in a way, life was telling me to make a decision quick, because just like those runners, my version of running involved time. And I knew time was running out.
But what made those runners run, and people like me, well...barely walk.
I asked some friends that ran what makes them run constantly. I got answers that at the time I thought was odd. “it makes me feel free” one replied, “because it’s fun” replied another. “I want to stay in shape” was a constant answer by many. But one had more of a deep impact then all others. I was once told “I run because it’s my way of fighting off the potential cancer that a lot of my family have already faced, they say if you run.. it can help prevent”
It made me think....
Not to long after, things started to make sense. It’s the very reason I decided to join a gym, work through the struggles of the pain, go day in and day out, and eliminated all the excuses. It’s the exact very reason I became a runner too. It’s even the same reason I’m a professional musician. It comes down to 1 word. “Purpose”
See, it doesn’t matter how you run, whether you have a perfect running stride, the best gym clothes, the newest sneakers or even if running for you means to walk. Because if you have a “purpose” then giving up becomes such an odd idea, that eventually, it will become non-existent.
Why do I run? My main reason has always stood the same, but all my side notes have changed. I run because I want to live. I want to have the best life possible, to live a long life in which I am not limited by physical in-capabilities that I, myself have control over. I run because I’ve realized others can’t. Once I started running and continued even after the pains in my knees that made me question why I ran in the first place subsided, another purposed became apparent...
If I, a 254 pound, 5’7” man can learn how to run and get in shape, why not inspire others to do the same. I spent the beginning part of my adulthood enjoy most parts of my life. Now as I creep into my 30th year in this world, I enjoy all parts.
Running does make you feel free. That was such an odd response when I originally asked that question. But after two years of running, it makes complete sense.
Running is a way of connecting with yourself. Just you and your thoughts or if you are lucky, a clear mind. These runs I take outside, I now view as a journey. From point A to point B. It’s not about getting a certain amount of miles in, or how fast I can get there. It’s about enjoying what’s around you. I've lived in NY my whole life, and it wasn’t until I started running that I can honestly say I now know NY. Running, just like weight training has made me have a friendly competition with myself.
I prove to myself that limits are irrelevant. You know how I ran my first mile? Very slow, until that treadmill said I made it.
So how do you run a 5k? The same way you would run a half marathon. Just do it.
Find your purpose for the run. Maybe it’s health, but maybe it’s something deeper. I find when you are running for a cause, it makes you not quit. You can simply make a cause your purpose. Maybe it’s for a friend who survived cancer or maybe the cause is for a friend who wasn’t so lucky. Maybe it’s for your friends uncles' neighbor who knows a guy who’s going through or went through some rough times. I never said you had to actually know the person to show them support.
A 5k race can be walked in under an hour. Put things in perspective. 1 mile may seem a lot at first, but have you ever walked 20 street blocks? It’s about the same distance. To simplify it even more, i’m sure anyone reading this can do 1 city block in about a minute. Say you decided you wanted to speed walk. Well now you are talking about 14-15 minutes per mile. Ever been in a semi rush to get somewhere? Well that's speed walking. Once again, you can surely speed walk for a merely 45 minutes. Want to jog it? It’s the same concept, just a little quicker.
I remember in the first few months of running, after I was able to do about 2-3 mile runs, no matter what I did I couldn’t do more. Here I go again asking around. This time the answer were all the same. Set a distance above a mark that you ever did, and go for it. And when you get tired and think you can’t run no more, walk it. Let your mind know that if your goal is 3 miles, that you can do 3 whether it means running the whole way, running most of the way, or walking it.
Set small goals. Try to casually jog 1 mile first. It may take a few attempts, just know that your body will adapt quickly. If you were able to jog a half a mile and walk the rest, then the next time you attempt, make sure you don’t stop until 6/10 of a mile and walk the rest. Your body is an amazingly developed work of art. If you give it lemons, it gives you lemonade.
The very fact that you read this post should tell your own mind that you are serious about the goal. A goal, mixed with a purpose and determination leaves little room for failure. In fact, those 3, will guarantee success.
UltraMarathon runner Dean Karnazes said it best. It can be applied to running a 5k, starting a business or simply living a happier life. He said, “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
Albert - Facebook.com/journey2transform