Are You Ready for the Tulip Time Run?
It’s no big secret—and especially not here in West Michigan—that Tulip Time 2018 is almost upon us!
Now, this means a lot of different things, some of which are connected to foot health in some way, shape, or form. After all, this is a festival wherein one of the staples is a type of footwear – the ubiquitous wooden shoe.
(That’s a cue for locals to ask “Wooden shoerather be Dutch?”)
The shoes we wear—no matter if they’re constructed out of wood or more current materials—play an integral role in foot health. In fact, a key tenet of responsible foot care is to make sure you choose footwear that is appropriate for any activity you might perform.
With regards to shoes for physical activities, it is essential that you sport models that are well-constructed, provide ample arch support, comfortably cradle the heel, and have sufficient cushioning. Further, they need to be intended for the actual activity you are going to perform.
That means wear basketball shoes if you’re playing on one of the courts at Matt Urban Sports Complex and running shoes if you log miles around town or heading out State Park – but not vice versa!
Sure, you can play ball in running shoes and go for a run in snazzy basketball kicks, but each kind of footwear is engineered specifically for the respective activities.
Preparing for the Tulip Time Run
Of course, a lot has changed with regards to footwear over the years – and this means there are better options than wooden shoes if you want to incorporate running into your regular exercise routine!
There are numerous different reasons you might want to run. This activity has many obvious physical benefits, like improved cardiovascular health, increased calorie burn, and stronger bones and muscles, but emotional and mental ones are also important. In fact, running (and other forms of exercise) promote better sleep at night, which is vastly underrated when it comes to physical health.
Another reason you might want to run—at least, if you live in the greater Holland area—is to participate in the Tulip Time Run.
If this is something you are planning to do, we hope that you’ve been carefully training for at least several weeks at this point. In the event you haven’t trained at all, you may want to consider just walking the course this year (instead of running).
When you engage in an activity like running, it’s best to give your body time to adjust to the amounts of force you place upon it.
See, we all place roughly 1 ½ – 2 times our bodyweight in force on the landing foot of every step we take when walking. You’re probably unaware of this, since our bodies are designed to handle the force loads. (At the same time, though, this highlights how a minor foot or ankle issue can become a big problem.)
For running, we can actually place upwards of 4 times our weight on the landing foot!
The actual amount of steps taken while running varies, naturally, on an array of factors, but a reasonable estimated ranges is between 1,000 – 2,300 steps per mile. Even if you take the lowest end of the spectrum, 1,000 times someone’s bodyweight adds up quite a bit, no matter how light he or she might be!
To prepare for the force—along with making sure joints have adequate motion, your heart is healthy enough for the activity, and other such considerations—you need a training plan.
How to Safely Train for a 5K
It might be late in the game to train for this year’s Tulip Time Run, but here is a plan to safely get you ready to run a 5K in just nine weeks:
Week One – In this first week, you will train on three, nonconsecutive days. For each session, start with a brisk, five-minute walk. From there, alternate between one (1) minute jogging (or light running) and one-and-a-half (1 ½) minutes walking. Follow this pattern until you’ve hit twenty total minutes.
Week Two – In the second week, we’ll start to increase things just a little. You will still start with a brisk, five-minute walk on each of your three sessions, but then you will alternate between one-and-a-half (1 ½) minutes jogging/light running with two (2) minutes walking. Each session will still be twenty minutes.
Week Three – Continuing the gradual increase, you will follow your five-minute walk with two cycles of one-and-a-half (1 ½) minutes light running and one-and-a-half (1 ½) minutes walking, and then three (3) minutes running followed by three (3) minutes walking. As with the previous weeks, each of the three training sessions (on nonconsecutive days) should total twenty minutes.
Week Four – At this point, you are ready to follow your five-minute brisk walk with three (3) minutes running, one one-and-a-half (1 ½) minutes walking, five (5) minutes running, two-and-a-half (2 ½) minutes walking, three (3) minutes running, one-and-a-half (1 ½) minutes walking and five (5) minutes running.
Week Five – Now we will start to mix things up a bit. Instead of all three sessions being the same (like they were in previous weeks), each is different:
- Run One – Brisk five-minute walk, then five (5) minutes running, three minutes (3) walking, five minutes (5) running, three minutes (3) walking and five (5) minutes running.
- Run Two – Brisk five-minute walk, then eight (8) minutes running, five minutes (5) walking and eight (8) minutes running.
- Run Three – Brisk five-minute walk, then twenty (20) minutes running (no walking).
Week Six – Again, each of the three training sessions are different:
- Run One – Brisk five-minute walk, then five (5) minutes running, three (3) minutes walking, eight (8) minutes running, three (3) minutes walking and five (5) minutes running.
- Run Two – Brisk five-minute walk, then ten (10) minutes running, three (3) minutes walking and ten (10) minutes running.
- Run Three – Brisk five-minute walk, then twenty-five (25) minutes running (no walking).
Week Seven – All three training sessions—as always, not on consecutive days!—start with a brisk five-minute walk, followed by twenty-five (25) minutes running.
Week Eight – All three training sessions are the same again. This time, follow the five-minute walk with twenty-eight (28) minutes running.
Week Nine – In your final week of this plan, your three sessions will consist of the five-minute walk followed by thirty (30) minutes running…which means you’re ready to participate in your first (or “first in a while”) 5K!
A Couple of Key Points
Now, when following this plan you need to keep a couple of things in mind:
- Rest days are essential. The reason for one or two days between each training session is not only to reduce your injury risk, but also to give your body time to recover – which then makes you a better, stronger runner.
- Rest and inactivity can be two things. Just because you’re resting from running doesn’t mean you have to be completely inactive, though! Running rest days are great times to focus on stretching, weight training (if you’re so inclined), and low-impact activities (cycling, swimming, yoga).
- “No pain, no gain” is no good. You can expect a certain degree of soreness when starting a new workout program like this, but there’s a difference between “sore” and “pain.” If you’re tired and have shin splints, that’s fairly normal. If you have sharp pain or a heel that is really hurting, that’s a reason to come see us here at Northwood Foot and Ankle Center.
Professional Foot and Ankle Running Injury Treatment in West Michigan
When you start training—no matter if it’s for next year’s Tulip Time 5K, the Fifth Third River Bank Run, or any other local road race—be sure to follow these guidelines to reduce your injury risk.
In the event you do sustain a foot or ankle injury during your training, be sure to contact our team here at Northwood Foot and Ankle Center. Call us at (616) 393-8886 for more information or to request an appointment today.