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By the Squannacook Runner

The third week of your 5K training is critical. This is the time when many running programs falter. The novelty of running has worn thin, and your body isn’t yet accustomed to a regular running routine. If a balmy mid March day isn’t enough to entice you outside, you’ll need MOTIVATION! Here are some ideas to keep you on track.

1. SELF-MOTIVATION — “I CAN DO IT!” The ultimate source of motivation must come from within. YOU have to want to run, and you must truly believe in the benefits of doing so. Each time you feel like giving it all up, remind yourself how much better you’re going to look and feel in the months ahead — IF you stay with your running program. Consider the alternative – you and your tired, overweight body slouched on the couch, embracing a bag of potato chips. C’mon, you’re better than that!

A great catalyst for self-motivation is a clearly-defined set of realistic goals. That’s why this program includes a personal goal each week. Goals give you something tangible to reach for and, when met, provide incentive to continue.

And don’t forget your ultimate goal — to cross the finish line of the Groton Road Race 5K on April 26! When we asked you to commit yourself to the Groton Road race, it was for good reason. A road race gives focus to any running program. Without that focus, your running regimen could become aimless and ultimately fail.

2. VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE. The surest way to kill a running program is to go to a track and run in circles for a half hour or so, day after day. Keep things interesting by varying the conditions of your run – location, distance, terrain, even time, if possible. Make your daily run an adventure to look forward to!

3. GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS. The phrase “strength in numbers” certainly applies to running. Veteran runners often train alone, opting for the contemplative side of running. But the beginner needs encouragement. A conversation with a running partner (we advise that you maintain a running pace that allows you to do this) can turn even the most tedious run into a pleasant outing. And it’s hard to skip a run when a friend, decked in running attire, stalks into your living room and shouts, “Get your butt outta that couch — we’re going running!”

4. KEEP A RUNNING LOGBOOK. Whether it’s purchased at a local bookstore or simply put together from a stack of notebook paper, a runner’s logbook is a great motivator. Each entry would indicate date and time, the distance run, elapsed time, and comments about road and weather conditions, as well as your physical status. Note weekly and monthly mileage totals (it’s quite a pleasant eye-opener to see how much mileage you’re accumulating). You’ll think twice about skipping a run if it means having to write “NO RUN TODAY” in your logbook.


GOAL FOR THE WEEK: To complete a three-mile run. You can do it!

Sunday, March 15: Begin the week with a relaxed two-mile jog. Try to go the distance nonstop.

Monday, March 16: 15-minute nonstop jog. Be adventurous and explore new routes, especially local woodland trails, if conditions allow. Like yesterday, run relaxed. How far you run in those 15 minutes will depend on your pace; you’ll probably cover a mile and a half.

Tuesday, March 17: HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! Two mile nonstop run. If you feel up to it, push the pace. Alternative — run at a good clip until you feel fatigued, then slow to a relaxed jog. When you feel rested, resume the faster pace. Alternate fast and relaxed paces until you complete the run.

Wednesday, March 18: Rest Day, or make-up day, if you missed one of the above workouts.

Thursday, March 19: Relaxed 15 minute nonstop jog. Same ground rules as Monday’s run. Enjoy!

Friday, March 20: A BIG DAY, because you’re gonna “crank it up” with your first three-mile run. What a great way to finish your third week of training! Complete this run, and you’ve almost covered the distance you’ll be running on Race Day. You’ll also have logged about ten miles on the road for this week. Write that in your logbook and circle it!

Sat, March 21: Rest Day, or make-up day.

NEXT WEEK: Time for some serious 5K training!

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