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How to complete the Couch to 5K challenge

Couch to 5k is designed for anyone who is getting into running and is an excellent template to follow. Taking up running can seem like a monumental prospect, especially if you feel unfit or out of shape. That is why Riixo is here to help.

What is Couch to 5K?

Couch to 5K was developed by Josh Clark, who wanted to help his 50-something mum get off the couch and running fit. So, it has been designed as a running plan for absolute beginners.  We have a running plan for you to follow as well as all the tips and advice you need to complete your goals.

 

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What is the best way to start the couch to 5K?

By Having a reason, or to quote Simon Sinek... "Your Why". This is the purpose behind wanting to do it, it can be as big or as small as you like but it the reason you decided to get into running. This will be the driving force behind you if things get tough.

The other way is just by getting up and giving it a go. To ensure the best success at achieving your goal as well as preventing any injury, we strongly recommend focusing on mobility and basic strength work at the same time which is why we have included this program for you to follow.

Riixo Couch to 5K

How to Achieve Your Couch to 5Km Goals

Warm Up

The benefits of warming up before running are clear:

  • it reduces your risk of injury,
  • it increases your performance,
  • and it just feels good.

Warming up is crucial for any type of exercise but especially running. Warming up helps prepare your body for the demands of running and can help prevent injury. It also helps raise your core body temperature and heart rate so that you are ready to handle more intense exercise.

Warming up is especially important if it's cold outside or if you've recently been inactive for a period of time. If you're a runner, it's important to know how to warm up before you go for a run.

A proper warm-up includes walking, light jogging and, on occasion, stretching; this combination will increase blood flow to muscles and joints, which will help prevent injury. If you're going to be doing fast intervals or longer runs, then you'll want to do dynamic stretches instead of static stretching (like holding a pose). Dynamic stretches involve moving through different movements as opposed to holding one pose for several seconds or longer like in static stretching.

Recovery

Establishing a good recovery routine is as equally as important as forming a robust training program.

Recovery is important after running because it helps you keep your body healthy allowing time for it to repair preventing injury and soreness.

If you don't give your body enough time to recover from exercise, then it will start to get sore and even injured from overuse.

If you want to continue running in the future, then you must recover from each run so that your body doesn't get too worn down by all of the stress from running on top of other activities like work and family life.

When you run, your body produces lactic acid, which causes muscle soreness and pain. If you don't rest and recover, the lactic acid will continue to build up in your muscles, causing even more muscle soreness, pain, and injury.

When you're running regularly and recovering properly from each run, your body will adapt to the training load and become stronger so that it can handle more mileage or faster paces without getting injured or overtrained.


Products to help you recover


Reducing Muscle Soreness

Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is a common condition that affects nearly everyone who exercises. It's characterized by pain and stiffness in the muscles 24 to 72 hours after a workout and can be quite intense. While DOMS may disrupt your usual activities, it will eventually go away on its own.

It is important to note that muscle soreness after running is not a sign of an injury, but a sign that you have been working a muscle in a new way. We will cover recovery tips to minimise and reduce the impact of DOMS.

What causes DOMS

The true cause of DOMS is not completely understood, but it probably involves microscopic tears in muscle fibres caused by new workouts or exercises. The tears lead to inflammation and swelling of muscle tissue, which causes pain and tenderness in the affected areas.

How to prevent DOMS

You can reduce your risk of getting DOMS by allowing adequate time between workouts for the recovery of your muscles. That is why it is important to follow this running program.

The best way to prevent DOMS is to keep moving! As soon as you finish your workout, get up and stretch out your muscles. This will help increase blood flow and circulation in the area, which will speed up recovery time.

Another great way to avoid DOMS is to take an ice bath or cold shower after your workout. This will help reduce inflammation and swelling in the muscle tissue.

Strength work and cross training

Cross-training is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows you to build up your strength in different ways.

If you're training to be a better runner, you will see improvements in your speed and endurance if you cross-train. This is because cross-training can help build up the muscles that running doesn't target. When these muscles are stronger, they can support your running form better and prevent injuries.

Focusing on one sport is a great way to develop your muscle memory, and it can help you achieve certain athletic goals. But focusing on one sport can also limit your ability to develop the strength, flexibility, endurance, and speed that will benefit your running and overall health.

Cross-training also helps prevent injury because it gives your body time to rest between workouts, giving your muscles time to recover from each run. Cross-training is also beneficial if you do pick up an injury because you can keep those muscles strong so that when you return to running again, there is less risk of re-injury.

Examples of cross training

  • Cycling
  • swimming
  • Yoga
  • Gym and weights-based exercise

Active Recovery

Active recovery is an important part of any workout routine, but it's especially important when you're running. Running is a tough sport that puts a lot of pressure on your muscles and joints. Active recovery allows your body to recover from the stress of running without having to stop moving completely.

The two optimum times for active recovery are:

  • immediately after you finish your run. To do this you want to plan your run so that you finish around 15 minutes away from your final destination. Active recovery, sometimes referred to as a cool down is a slower-paced jog or walk for 15 minutes that will bring your heart rate back down gradually and prevent shock to the system of a hard stop after a run.
  • 24 hours after your run. This takes the form of 20 minutes of low-intensity exercise such as swimming, bike, walking or yoga. The slight increase in heart rate will stimulate blood flow to the muscles helping with your muscle recovery

Active recovery involves doing low-intensity exercise that helps to flush out lactic acid and other byproducts of exercising, while also easing aching muscles. The goal of active recovery is to get your heart rate back down to normal levels and restore blood flow throughout your body.

Active recovery has many benefits for runners, including reducing muscle soreness and fatigue, improving athletic performance, and increasing flexibility. It also allows your body to repair itself so that you can perform at your best in the next workout and can also help you recover from injuries faster.

Ice for Recovery

When you run, your muscles generate heat as they break down glycogen in your body's cells to produce the energy they need. This is why after a long run, or even a short one if it was particularly intense, your muscles feel warm and swollen.

Ice is a great tool for recovery and these are the reasons why;

  • It helps reduce the temperature of the muscles meaning that all your energy can be better used repairing the muscles instead of regulating body temperature.
  • It helps prevent muscle soreness by reducing inflammation and secondary tissue damage.
  • Ice improves the function of the cells in the muscles making them more efficient at producing the energy they require during exercise. Improving the cell function means you can train harder for longer and minimises the impact after.
  • Icing can help relieve pain associated with muscle fatigue.
  • Ice can help reduce muscle spasms and pain caused by overuse injuries such as runner's knee (patellofemoral syndrome) or shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome).

The icing process also helps prevent injuries from occurring in the future by decreasing your risk of tissue damage and aiding in muscle repair.

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Benefits of ice of muscle and injury recovery

Heat for Recovery

Runners of all levels have always been recommended to use heat after a run as it is great at helping muscles recover after a long run and is even more effective when used immediately after ice.

The benefits of heat therapy after running include; improving the elasticity of the muscle fibres, increasing blood flow to the muscles, and speeding up the removal of waste products. Heat therapy also helps to relax the muscles and reduce tension in the body.

The benefits are numerous and can help you recover faster and prevent injury. Heat therapy is especially beneficial for those who run long distances, as it aids in muscle recovery and repair.

You can use heat in the hour after your run. It is best to use radiating heat such as a bath, shower or hot water bottle and try to avoid using topical creams and lotions. When you are using heat you want to apply it for 15-20 minutes, ideally three times per day for three days after running. This will help to reduce muscle soreness.

Heat the day after.

Using heat the day after will help to reduce DOMS by helping the muscle tissues repair. It does this by increasing blood flow to the area bringing with it higher levels of oxygen and nutrients that the muscles need.

Heat is also a great way to prepare the body for the next training session.

Maximum Muscle Recovery

Benefits of Heat for Recovery

Rehydration after running

Rehydration is important after running because your body needs to replenish the water that you lose while exercising.

Your body uses sweat as a cooling mechanism while you exercise. You lose electrolytes and water through this process—and once they're gone from your system, they have to be replaced if you want to continue exercising at your best level without suffering any ill effects from dehydration or poor hydration levels in general

Your body needs enough fluid to keep all of its systems functioning properly. If you don’t drink enough water when you run or sweat too much during exercise sessions then it could lead to dehydration symptoms such as headaches; dizziness; fatigue; muscle cramps; dry mouth; constipation.

The amount of fluid you need depends on several factors, including how much you sweat and how long your workout was. If you’re just starting out with running, aim for at least 2 litres (about 8 cups) during the first 2 hours after exercise. You can break this down further by aiming for 500ml every 20-30 minutes.

You may want to use a sports drink instead of plain water if there is sodium in it—that’s because sodium helps your body absorb the fluid better than other minerals do. Rehydrating with water, sports drinks, and food helps your body replenish these things so it can return to normal levels of hydration and nutrition.

What to Eat After Running

After a run, your body needs to replace what you've lost so it is important to eat something within 45 minutes of finishing your run. This is especially important if you're doing intense physical activity on a regular basis.

When it comes to fueling yourself after exercise, there are a few things you should know:

1) Your body will use up more calories than usual during exercise. To keep your body running smoothly, you'll have to replenish what was burned off when you run.

2) When you exercise intensely, your body uses up more carbohydrates than fats or proteins (protein is necessary for muscle repair). If you don't replenish these carbohydrates after exercising intensely, then your body will start breaking down muscle tissue for energy instead—which can lead to a loss of muscle mass over time!

3) The best way to replenish these nutrients is by eating foods high in carbohydrates (like fruits and vegetables), protein (like meat), and healthy fats (like nuts and seeds).

After a run, your body needs nutrients to help it recover and rebuild. Here are some of the best things to eat after a run:

1. Protein: You need protein to repair muscles and it also boosts your immune system, which is what happens when you run. Protein helps your body recover faster and rebuild its muscles. Some good sources of protein are eggs, chicken breast, tuna fish, beef jerky and Greek yoghurt.

2. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates replenish your body's glycogen stores so that you can have energy for another workout tomorrow! Good sources of carbohydrates are brown rice and whole-wheat bread and cereals.

3. Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables give your body the vitamins and minerals that it needs to keep running strong! They also have antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can cause damage in our bodies over time if we don't get enough of them in our diets every day. Some examples include apples, carrots and broccoli.

How to Manage an Injury or Niggle.

Icing an injury is a great way to help reduce pain and swelling, but it's important to know when and how long to apply the ice for maximum benefits. Here are some tips:

  • Don't apply ice during the first 24hrs of sustaining an injury. This will go against everything you may have been taught and believe, but new evidence shows that any swelling in the first 24hrs is the body repairing itself. If the swelling has not gone down after 24hrs then it is important to apply ice to the area.
  • Never apply ice directly on your skin—it can cause frostbite! Instead, put a towel or cloth between the ice pack and your skin. Over time as you become accustomed to the cold then you may be able to place it directly on the skin.
  • Ice for 20 minutes at a time 3-4 times a day. 20 minutes is long enough for the cold to penetrate the deeper tissues and elicit the physiological response that we are looking for.

If your injury isn't improving after about 48 hours (or if it worsens), see a doctor!

When ice is properly applied to an injury, it can help relieve pain and swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area. It also helps control bleeding and bruising by constricting blood vessels.

Riixo Ice Ball For Plantar Fasciitis

Carrying an injury?

Head over to the physio room to understand more about different injuries, their causes, symptoms and how to treat them.

How to Understand and Look After Your Feet.

It is important to understand a bit about your feet and what footwear to select to ensure that you don't pick up any injuries. I know it can be tempting to pick a fashionable running shoe, a pair you like the look of or may have seen your friend wearing. But everyone is different, and every shoe is different, like cinderella and the glass slipper, you need to find the one that fits you.

How To Prevent Achilles Pain After Running 2021 Normal Foot

"Normal" arches are common in people who are active or athletic and are often referred to as a neutral foot. If you have normal arches, the arch of your foot should be at least 2 inches high when you rest your weight on it.

Shoe choice

A neutral cushioned shoe with moderate flexion

How To Prevent Achilles Pain After Running 2021 Excessive Over Pronation Flat Feet

Flat feet

Flat feet are when the foot has an arch with little or no curve. Normal feet have a slight arch and high arches have a more pronounced arch.

Shoe Choice

Cushioned supporting shoe with arch support. An alternative is to wear supportive insoles in your running shoe.

Collapsed arches

Collapsed arches are when the arch of your foot collapses, causing pain in your heel and toes. This is often caused by overuse or wearing inappropriate shoes.

Shoe Choice

Cushioned supporting shoe with strong arch support. An alternative is to wear supportive insoles in your running shoe.

How To Prevent Achilles Pain After Running 2021 High Arches

High arches

High arches are when your feet have a higher-than-average amount of curvature in the foot, which can cause pain in different areas around the foot.

Shoe Choice

Neutral running shoe. In some cases high arches may need support so, a dense midsole or inserts can be of benefit to someone with high arches.

What are the benefits of Running?

There are lots of benefits to getting into running. It is a great way to improve your physical fitness and a great stress reliever. Medical studies as far back as the 1970s have looked at running as a way to treat depression.

Physically running will;

  • improve the health of your heart and lungs
  • help you lose weight, even more, if you follow a healthy diet
  • help increase bone density in some people
  • help protect against bone diseases like osteoporosis

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