Two weeks ago, I shared that I was hoping to improve my 5K run time—which was hovering around a 5:30-per-kilometre pace since my last marathon in February thanks to minimal running and preferring strength training over cardio in general—in an attempt to get faster to prepare myself for those speedy tempo runs as part of my next round of Boston Qualifier marathon training. I set the goal as part of the #evenbetter challenge with Ocean Spray®, which meant I had to set a healthy goal I could obtain within two weeks, make myself accountable to it by announcing it on my blog, and update my readers and social media followers about my progress in reaching said goal over the next two weeks.
As part of the challenge, Ocean Spray® sent me three flavours of their PACt® Cranberry Extract Waters (Cranberry Pomegranate, Cranberry Raspberry and Cranberry Mango Passionfruit) to help keep me hydrated, which I downed after my runs and brought to work with me to encourage me to drink more water during the day.
So what was the result?
Not only did I stay hydrated all day long (Cranberry Raspberry was my favourite flavour, in case you’re wondering), but also I smashed my 5K run time goal by several seconds and 3 kilometres! (Meaning when I did my final run at the end of two weeks, I ran a bunch of 4:45-ish-pace kilometres in a row, and eight kilometres at a sub-5:00 minute pace instead of just five.)
Starting out at a 26 minute 5K and ending in a 24 minute 5K (which was actually part of a 13 km run) in just two weeks felt pretty great, and definitely pulled me out of my running rut. It also proved to me that I’ve still got it in my legs – I just need to be focused on training, hydration and nutrition to get it done.
My training and hydration plan
To improve my 5K run time, I did three runs per week (one speedy 5K, one easy 5K, and one 8K tempo run where I ran 3K at a 5:00 pace) on week one, and another 8K tempo run, easy 5K and speedy 13 km run (with an as-fast-as-I-could 5K in there somewhere) on week two. I also dialed in my nutrition (meaning mostly whole, plant-based foods and more carbs on run days), and brought a bottle of Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water with me to work to make sure I actually drank during the day and not just before and after my runs.
My H2O intake definitely increased over those two weeks, and not just because Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water tastes better than plain ‘ol regular water. I also liked that Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water is “Packed with the Power of 50 Cranberries”, meaning it contains proanthocyanidins (PACs), a compound found deep inside cranberries that helps protect against certain harmful bacteria from sticking in the urinary tract. It’s also low in calories, naturally sweetened with Erythritol and Stevia (it contains just 1 gram of sugar per bottle), and free of artificial colour (it’s red for a reason – the colour comes straight from those 50 cranberries!), GMOs and gluten.
If you struggle to drink enough H2O during the day and love the taste and benefits of cranberry juice minus the extra calories, I’d definitely recommend incorporating Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water into your lifestyle to be #evenbetter, too.
Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water is a tasty and low-calorie way to hydrate in a more meaningful way. Packed with the power of 50 cranberries, PACt® Cranberry Extract Water delivers unique cranberry health benefits. Visit http://pact.oceanspray.ca to learn more and find out where to buy PACt® water at a store near you.
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Ocean Spray® via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Ocean Spray®.