4 Essentials for Training for a 5k

So you want to get back in shape? Awesome!  You want to get into running or your company is organizing a charity 5k? Even better! Luckily I just ran my first 5k just recently. Let me show you where to start. Here are my 4 geeky essentials for training successfully for a 5k.

1.  The Running App 

First things first, we need to have an app to keep track of your progress. While there are several out there, I have continued to land on an old standard, the Nike+Running app.  To put it simply, I enjoy the aesthetics and feel for this app. It has also stayed free to use all of the features, which some of the other competition has not. I also like the fact that you can link shoes to specific runs. Keeping track of the miles that you are putting on your shoes is actually very important as parts of the shoe may be wearing out before they seem visually worn out.  Another plus to the Nike+ app, is the fact that you can pick a “Power Song” which you can trigger during the hardest part of your run at the push of a button. The right beat at the right time could be incredibly helpful.

2.  The Health App

excercise is only a part of the health equation. In order to keep you on track in your diet as well as keeping an overall picture of your health, you need a health tracker.  Apple’s Health app does an alright job of managing the database of the health data gathered by your phone.  I however like to see the data presented in a way in which makes sense, and can be seen at a glance.  Azumio’s Argus app is that and more.  It accesses the step counter from your phone to count your steps, calculates your basal calories (calories burned by your body, simply by existing), and it keeps track of the nutritional information of the food you eat.  Food can be entered in a variety of ways; by creating a recipe, search or by scanning the bar code on the food’s packaging. Two of the coolest Argus features are the ability of the app to record your pulse using the phone’s camera, and the ability to monitor your sleep using the phone’s accelerometer. Which ever app you choose, you MUST get a full picture of your health, not just the things that you are doing to exercise.

3.  The Plan

The main thing that helped me was using a plan.  I am terrible when it comes to making a decision. My personality type makes me seem somewhat indecisive, simply because I am very much of the “measure twice cut once” mentality.  The fact that I got on a plan, and now my workouts were chosen for me was a big plus. It let me get out of my head and start to move around. Also a plan creates a baseline for data to be collected during your workouts.  Get on a plan, take the guesswork out of your workout, so that you can focus on working hard and finishing strong.

4.  Get up and Move

This is what it all comes down to. You have to put in the work in order to see the results.  There are going to be days when you feel amazing and everything is going well. Cherish those days!  Conversely there will be days when you will feel terrible (usually the afternoon or day after you ate something unhealthy). Those are the days when it is 10x more important to get out there and move!  If you are on a plan, you don’t have to focus on what it is you have to do, you can just focus on getting through the workout.  Get out there and get it!

Have I missed something? What would you add or delete from the list? Let me know in the comments section. Also if this list was helpful to you let me know in the comments or tweet at me @dadthegeekblog.