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Fit Minute - How to train for a 5K

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Thanks to the economic bust, running has become very popular again. It's one of the most inexpensive forms of exercise and you can do it virtually anywhere. Many beginner and expert runners like to work up to something like a 5K.

"5k's are probably the most popular distance because they're short enough where if you've done a little bit of training you can compete it," said Jim Sprecher, the UNCW Head Track Coach.

Sprecher said you can start that training with a walk or a jog. As you work up to a run, Sprecher said it depends on your personality. You can set goals, like running two laps and then walking one, or you can just feel it out by running until you can't anymore.

After you stop, Sprecher said you'll want to stretch and then strengthen. Sprecher said start with your core. Do crunches with your legs bent, then at 90 degrees and lastly twist. Those all work your upper and lower abdominals plus your obliques. And, don't forget about your back. To work that, do 'Supermans.'

"Your lower back is going to be important for your posture," Sprecher said.

Then, finish with pushups, planks and any other strengthening exercises you like. Sprecher also said you can cross train by doing other forms of cardio like swimming.

"You need to be specific in your training and then with that in repetition then you'll become more efficient," Sprecher said.

You can become more efficient by doing sprint drills. Always keeping your toes up, do a march. Then, speed it up into a skip. After that, turn it into a fast knees-up run.

"It also takes a while for your legs to adapt," Sprecher said.

But, once your legs do adapt, Sprecher said you'll be well on your way to running a whole 5K.

Sprecher adds that you should always talk to your doctor before you start a running program so you know what kind of shoes you need or which injuries you might have.

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