Train for a 5K in the Lower Hudson Valley

Planning to run a 5K? Here, key training tips and strategies from an expert personal trainer and running specialist

Training for a 5K is a great way to boost your cardiovascular health, reduce stress or simply add more running to your routine.

And luckily, the Lower Hudson Valley is the ideal place to train. Whether prepping for New Rochelle's Encouraged Wellness Run, Katonah's Road and Trail Race or one of the many treks in Rockland County, the region's hills, dips and scenic routes make training simple.

A 5K, or 3.1 miles, is perfect for beginners, but it does take some training to gain the endurance to go the distance. Raina Hafer, NCSF, certified personal trainer and running specialist, shares her shape-up tips for success.

Commit to a Race. Many local charities and organizations host 5K races in the area, so you'll be raising money for a good cause even as you meet your fitness goal. Choose a race date that allows you ample time to prepare. New runners typically need between 8-10 weeks to train, while those who are already active may only need 6.

Click here to find a race nearby and choose one that is the right fit for you.

It’s also smart to tell friends and family about your upcoming race, says Hafer. “By doing so, you're less likely to drop out of the race and will also get a ton of motivational support to propel you across the finish line,” she says.

Find a Group. Connecting with others to prepare for a race can make training less overwhelming, and can help you stick to your training schedule. You won’t want to let your running buddies down by skipping a workout. Look for a running group that meets at the local YMCA or check out CoolRunning.com to find listings of other local groups.

Follow a schedule. Once you've signed up for a race, you'll need to create a training schedule.  Hafer personally loves the Couch to 5K app, which is great for beginners and super user friendly. Plus, at only 30 minutes, three times per week, it’s the perfect program for even the most time-strapped runner.

In addition to scheduled runs, more advanced runners should cross train twice a week. Hafer suggests cycling, yoga or strength training, activities which increase muscle strength and flexibility and ultimately help you become a stronger runner.

Work on Endurance. Building up the stamina to run a 5K is something that takes time. When you begin training don’t be afraid to alternate between running and walking, says Hafer. Run at a speed where you can comfortably hold a conversation until you become too tired to continue and then begin walking. Once you’ve caught your breath, return to running. Over time, you will be able to walk less and run more, until you can eventually run the entire distance.

Enjoy Race Day! On race day be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the actual start time to register and warm up. Most importantly though, have fun running the race! You’ve worked hard to get there, so enjoy completing such a great accomplishment.

Jackie Cassagnol, RN, MSN, PMC September 03, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Join the WCFR Walk for Health Raising funds and awareness for Worldwide Community First Responder, Inc. Every journey begins with that first step. Who: Everyone Where: 920 Route 45, Pomona, NY 10970 When: Saturday, September 29th, 2012 at 9 AM Registration will be from 9AM to 10AM. Walk will be from 10AM to 11AM. Health Fair will be from 11AM to 2PM. A $10 donation is suggested for participants to attend this event. Walk with us and save lives! For registration and further information, please visit: http://nanuet.patch.com/events/wcfr-walk-for-health
Kevin Zawacki September 03, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Thanks for the race info, all -- keep adding them!
Rachel September 03, 2012 at 04:53 PM
The Village of Tuckahoe has a 1 mile and 5 mile road race scheduled next weekend. The fast and flat 1 mile course starts at 9am on Sunday September 9th. The 5 miler begins at 9:30. http://www.tuckahoe.com/forms/tuckahoe_road_race.pdf
Stella Medina September 03, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Saturday, Oct 27th at 9am, on the beautiful trails of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Sleepy Hollow--a 5k race, all proceeds go towards trail maintenance at the park. Awards, professional timing, and a special Coed Century Team category (both runners must have a combined age of 100 or more). More info at www.rockysraces.org
Burke Rehabilitation Hospital September 04, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Sign up for the Heels & Wheels 5K Road Race--the Only 5K in White Plains this year! The race will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 22 and is open to runners and wheelchair athletes. Register online at www.NYCRUNS.com or call (914) 597-2578. There is a $20 fee for participants who pre-register and the cost the day of the race will be $25. The event is free for spectators and community members are encouraged to attend and support the participants. For more information, go to www.burke.org.


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