“Isn’t running bad for your knees?” is a question that runners frequently hear. And then there’s the occasional story about a runner passing out or—even worse—dying of a heart issue after running a marathon, which might make some people wonder if this running thing is really all that good for you.
While there is still some disagreement even in the medical field, a study in 2014 showed that even 50 minutes of running per week can cause a 30 percent drop in mortality risk. That being said, the researcher concluded that there should be further studies on the effect of over-exercising.
TIME also cited another study that showed while runners were thinner, with lower blood pressure and heart rate, older runners had “a lot of plaque in their arteries and scored higher on a measurement of heart-attack risk.” This is because when you rack up those miles on a regular basis, it can thicken your heart tissue and/or create plaque in your arteries.
So for the average person, running does more good than bad. It lowers your blood pressure, actually strengthens your knees, helps your heart, reduces your risk of cancer, and keep your memory sharp. Sounds good to us.
Maybe you’ve just finished your first 5K or maybe you’re a veteran looking to improve her PR (personal record), but either way you’re ready to set some goals and get a faster 5K time. Here are four simple tips will have you knocking out that PR in no time!
Hill repeats have been proven to strengthen your legs and improve your cardio stamina and your cadence or leg turnover - all important aspects of running faster.
To run fast, you have to, well, run fast. Add in a few strides or incorporate speed intervals to a longer workout or go for a good ol’ track workout. Join the Fun Run Boxers Facebook group to learn more about the speed intervals we incorporate into out challenges.
This means getting in some muscle-specific exercises, whether you hit the gym or workout at home. We don’t just mean your legs, though - don’t forget your glutes, core, and lower back. Try the core workout from the Fun Run Box 5k Challenge.
If you can’t go run the route, at least look at the course map. Where can you cut corners (literally - stay on the inside of turns whenever possible)? Is there a hill you should know about? Consider choosing a route that is PR-friendly: no hills or mostly downhill, flat, etc. You don’t want any surprises that might slow you down or throw you off your game.
Remember, running a 5k is hard and it is going to hurt, but when it's over, you'll forget all about the pain and remember the amazing feeling you had crushing your PR! So, when race day comes, stay calm and give it all you got and go get that PR! Good luck!
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