Completing a 5k: The Biggest Competition is You!

iStock_000009546366XSmallSpring and Summer is a great time to get outside. Despite the rain, overcast skies and even the wind that comes with early spring, we still get some beautiful days outside which give us a taste of summer time.

One staple of the warmer season are the multiple marathons, triathlons, and 5ks that make an appearance around the Portland and Vancouver area. Whether it’s for a great cause you believe in, or just because it’s something to do, 5ks are a great way to put your fitness to the test.

Some clients at the gym like to get themselves prepared for a local 5k, but I have noticed others don’t even consider the opportunity to take part in a 5k. I like to recommend participating in a 5k for a couple reasons:

It’s A Way to Challenge Yourself – When I bring up running a 5k, a lot of clients outright say “I can’t do something like that,” or “I’m not a runner.” But this kind of outlook misses the point of taking part in one of these events. Running in a 5k is about beating your own limits, not about beating the others in the competition.

Just by signing up, you’re already beating the prior version of yourself who was so adamant that you could never take part in a 5k.

It’s a Tangible Goal – A running event like a 5k as a scheduled start date. It has a measured distance (5 kilometers) and a detailed route, so you know exactly where you’re going to be running. Why is this important?

Because when you sign up for a 5k, you know exactly what kind of improvements you will need to make in order to participate in the event. You and I can work on endurance and spend a little extra time on legs. If you’re feeling some extra incentive, you can even practice on the route before the event even happens, so you can anticipate the kind of track you need to practice for.

It Gives Measurable Improvements – When you first start training for an event like this, I like to measure where you start off, so you can compare it to where you end up on the day of the 5k. Not only is a 5k event a great way to set goals, it’s also a great way to measure how much improvement you make leading up to the event.

Think about it like this: When you sign up for a 5k, you know you have to eventually get up to travelling 5 kilometers at a set pace. That’s a long distance, but we don’t do it all at once. Instead, we make a goal of getting to 1 kilometer, and then we move up from there. Eventually, getting 5 kilometers won’t be so far out of your grasp.

Finishing is Better than Never Starting – Whether you sprint, jog, or walk across the finish line, you are still beating the version of yourself who never started. It doesn’t matter to me what pace you take during the 5k, as long as you are pushing yourself to do the best that you can.

The pace that you finish only matters to one person: yourself. If you have kept the best pace you can and completed the 5k, you have already beaten your prior time. No one can beat that.

Competitng in a 5k really is a no-lose scenario. Most runs in the area are meant to benefit a local organization, like MS research or the Humane Society run. You get a chance to spend some time running outdoors, and most of all, it gives you a goal to work toward. Where can you go wrong?

Let me know when you’re ready to take part in a 5k, and we’ll start a timeline to get you ready for the occasion!

Routine, and Why We Break it Up.

iStock_000004151784XSmallRoutine is something we all have. We all get up in the morning, shower, brush our teeth, grab some breakfast, and proceed to our daily lives. It’s the easy path. It keeps us on track through our busy schedules.

So as you head to the gym, you might have your own routine you go through. You spend 20 minutes doing cardio, work the same three or four exercises at the free weights, maybe 10 minutes on the row machine, and then stretch out and cool down. Day in and day out.

Let me share something that might change your perspective on personal fitness. The more you do something over and over again, such as riding that bike machine during spin class, the more efficient your body becomes in performing the activity. In other words, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Sounds good, right?

Well, not exactly. The more efficient your body gets at doing the same activity over and over again, the less energy you’re going to be expending while doing it. You’re going to be getting faster and faster the more times you hop on the bike machine, but your body is going to be doing less and less work.

To use an analogy, think of your body as a river. When you’re working out, your body, like a river, wants to take the path of least resistance. Your body will try to go around excessive burning of energy like a river flows around a rock. Your body isn’t trying to sabotage your fitness; it’s just trained to do things the easiest way possible.

Think about what that means for your body. When you’re expending less energy, you’re getting less out of your workout. Your body is going to be able to store more energy because you’re expending less. And even more importantly, you’re only going to be working out a few different sets of muscles if you only do the same six exercises. What about the other 650 muscles we neglect?

If you want a routine, there are several corporate gyms in the area that can set you up with their one-size-fits-all classes. You will get your spin class, your row of treadmills and ellipticals, and a generalized fitness plan that can be applied whether you’re 16 or 60. But we both know a one-size-fits-all plan is not the way to get results.

So why don’t I have spin class? Because I’m here to help you reach your fitness goals, not to train you in becoming a master cycle-machine user! Routine isn’t what we do at Boomer Fitness because routine doesn’t work.

This Thursday, check in with my blog, where I’ll tell you about how we escape routine, force the river to change its direction, and how we do fitness the right way.