The legendary 5K run! Preparing for a 5k run is your first step to becoming a long-distance road runner. The 5k is a fairly popular race that occurs over a stretch of ideally 5 kilometers, it is the shortest of all road races with the classical races being the 10k (10-kilometer distance), and up to 42 kilometers in official marathons. How long does it take to run a 5k? Good question, it takes about 30-40 minutes, and if you are really fast you could beat the world record for the fastest time taken to complete a 5k run which is 12 minutes, 51 seconds. Also, if you were wondering how long is a 5k in miles its 3.107 miles
Preparing for a 5k run will take more than mere vocal commitment, it will take a healthy diet, exercise, a doctor’s visit(probably), and a whole lot of stretching.
Here we’ve taken the time to outline the 5 best stretches for a 5K run while you use the extra time on your hands to prepare for it.
Short or stiff hamstrings are a big problem for runners. The classic hamstring stretch is a very easy exercise and it will help ensure that your hamstrings are stretched adequately while building flexibility over time. Tight hamstrings cause the inward movement of the pelvis over time, and causes pain while running long distances and renders you more prone to other injuries. To do the hamstring stretch all you have to do is get a mat, no other equipment is needed.
How to do it
- Get an exercise mat and sit on it comfortably.
- Stretch both legs out straight
- Extend your arms forward while keeping your knees straight and bend your waist as far as possible without too much discomfort.
- At this stage you should feel a bit of tension on your hamstrings.
- Stay in this position for 10-30 minutes.
- Rest by going back into the starting position.
Repeat the whole process 3-5 times.
This is one exercise on the list everyone should be familiar with from gym class. Hip circles are essential to keep your hips loose and limber while going for runs. 5-kilometer runs take time and you would need a whole lot of support from your hips. Hip circles are easy to do and can be performed by anybody including kids and it works the hips, glutes, thighs(quads), and the abdominals.
How to do it
- Stand straight on a level platform.
- Place your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Place your hands on your hips.
- Shift your hips forward to the left then back to the right in a circular motion.
- Shift your hips back from the left to the right again.
- Do this 10 times then change direction and go right to left.
Repeat the whole process for 3 sets.
Lunges are a jack of all trades when it comes to stretches, they work the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. The runner’s lunge is more suited for runners and ironically is performed like you are about to run. Runners lunges can help to naturally lengthen your stride and improve your single-leg balance
How to do it
- Start by crouching down on all fours in a plank-like position.
- Step your right foot at 90 degrees and place it next to your right palm.
- Relax your hips and back.
- Hold this position for 10-20 seconds while gently inhaling and exhaling to activate your core muscles.
- Repeat the whole process while raising your left foot.
After a good long run, your calves are usually sore and this is perfectly normal. Note though that not all soreness in your calves is normal and improperly stretched out calves will give you sore calves even after running for a short distance. Without stretching your calves you stand the risk of tremendous to light tightness, pain, or injury.
You can do a calf raise either barefooted or wearing foot ware and with elevation. There are different types of calf raises which you can do based on preference including weighted, Standing, Seated, Bent knee, and Single leg but we would be demonstrating the standing variant today.
How to do it
- Stand up straight.
- Push using the balls of both feet to raise your heel till you are standing on your toes. NB: the balls of the feet is the space between the toes and the arch of the foot.
- Slowly lower your heel back down
- Repeat the whole process 10-30 times based on your preference for about 3 sets.
Standing quad stretch
You could be planning on running a 5k a day or running a 5k 3 times a week but with improperly stretched quads you may not be able to live up to your goal. Tight quad or thigh muscles cause the pelvis to pull down and forward, limiting the pelvis’ ability to rotate the opposite direction. This could lead to the lower back, knee pain, or possible injury. The standing quad stretch help eases up tension in the quadriceps.
How to do it
- Stand straight on a level platform
- While standing on your right foot, bend your right leg backward using your hands. You can place your foot on any form of support like a wall to make it easier.
- Keep your shoulders and hips squared
- The higher the foot the more stretched out your quads but don’t push your self farther than you can go
- Maintain this position for 10-30 seconds
• Repeat the whole process while standing on your left foot.
Apart from being a formality, stretches before any form of physical activity especially running helps build up flexibility, warm up muscles, and to also avoid any form of injury. All stretches should be done with the correct form and at your own personal pace. You don’t have to stretch like a yoga master before your stretches can be effective, stretch as much as your body will allow with rest periods in between. With the stretches listed, you would be ready for that 5k run in no time.