Training tips for going from couch to (virtual) 5K 👟

people running
Dr. Amanda Warner, a podiatrist at Lexington Medical Center, explains how to prevent common running injuries while you train for virtual races this fall | Photo provided

The Midlands truly knows how to welcome fall: apple picking, seasonal lattes, pumpkin patches and – usually – a ton of local races to get active before the weather gets cold.

While race season will look a little different this year (thanks, COVID), you don’t have to put off training just because you’re stuck at home – in fact, training for a marathon is quarantine-friendly: all you need is yourself, some good shoes, a bangin’ playlist and a street or path and you’re good to go – no gym cleanliness standards to stress about. 

If you’re not an avid runner, though, these marathons, 5Ks and dare we say 10Ks can seem intimidating. But you can get from your couch to a 5K in a couple of weeks – we promise.

Training tips

Here are a few training tips and ways to prevent injury while you train up during quarantine from Dr. Amanda Warner, a physician with Lexington Podiatry, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice in Northeast Columbia and Lexington (read: she treats many patients who have hurt their feet running). 

  • Get the right shoes. 👟 The right gear will prevent you from getting sprains and strains that could set back your training. Dr. Warner suggests adding inserts for your shoes based on the look of your foot and how you step. And remember that shoes expire after three seasons of active use.
  • Stretch before + after each training session. 🤸‍♂️ Dr. Warner suggests stretching, which can relieve stress on ligaments and tendons from running, and, in turn, prevent plantar fasciitis, which is pain in the heel or arch of your foot that feels like a bruise or ache (or like you’re constantly stepping on a rock). Ice and anti-inflammatories can also help treat this condition. 
  • Watch out for – and don’t ignore – shin splints. 🏃‍♂️These occur after repetitive stress on the shin bone and the connective tissues that attach muscles to bone. New runners or people who are adding more running to their workouts commonly experience this injury. Dr. Warner suggests adjusting your activity and taping or padding the area to promote healing.
  • Stay active + on your feet to optimize long-term health. 🚶 Early intervention will help prevent chronic injuries and trips to the operating room for surgery. Dr. Warner says that the sooner a condition is diagnosed and treated, the happier the runner will be.

Now that you have some pro-tips in your back pocket, here are 10 Midlands races to have on your radar this fall – from virtual 5Ks you can do in your own neighborhood to holiday trots.

10 Midlands races worth training for Fall/Winter 2020/2021:

Dr. Amanda Warner is accepting new patients. She practices at Lexington Podiatry’s new Northeast Columbia location.