5K events have become very popular in recent years, with large crowds participating in Turkey Trots, Reindeer Runs, and other annual events, often supporting a charitable cause. Many of these events have been transformed to “virtual 5Ks,” in which participants choose their own route and when they run it, then afterwards they log their time online.
The Mather is a sponsor of the Food for Others Tysons virtual 5K & Fun Run, which takes place September 25 through 27. Kelly Stranburg, MEd, CEP, CSCS, director of wellness for Mather, compiled tips to take first-time virtual participants “from couch to 5K”:
- Choose Your Practice Location. Select a park or neighborhood where you feel safe and comfortable walking or jogging for 30 to 60 minutes or more.
- Hydration Is Key! I is still warm outside, so drinking ample water is critical to your health and well-being when exercising.
- Work Your Way Up. In the 4 to 6 weeks leading up to the 5K (or 3.1 mile) virtual walk/jog.
- Start by walking or jogging 3 or 4 days in a row to get comfortable working up to the 3.1 miles.
- Start small and increase your distance 10% each week. The initial starting and comfort level will vary from person to person.
- The total time spent moving over the course of the week matters more than the distance per outing.
- Be patient with yourself. Heat and humidity can impact our mindset as well as not meeting personal goals we had set out to achieve each time.
- Stretch to Protect against Injury. Total body stretching afterward will help reduce potential injuries and improve overall flexibility and range of motion.
- Control Your Breathing. Do your best to take slow breaths in and out. Try to breathe through your nose.
- Practice Gratitude. You are giving back to a wonderful cause to help others in need. Reflect on what you are grateful for. This will empower you through your walk or job.
- Enjoy! This should be fun!