Sponsored By Health Alliance Plan

 
Michigan-based small business owners interested in making their organizations more profitable should consider signing their companies up for a 5K race. The process of training for the event will help your employees lead a more active lifestyle, a change that will greatly reduce absenteeism and healthcare costs. It will also serve as a highly effective team building exercise, which will make your workforce more productive. Here are a few tips on how to prep your team for a 5K run.

 
Register for a local race

To start, you’ll want to register your company for a local race that takes place at least eight to ten weeks in the future. That way, all participants will have the recommended seven weeks of training time to properly condition themselves for the event. It’s also a good idea to sign up for a walk/run event so that your less athletically inclined workers won’t feel excluded.

 
Provide an incentive

While some members of your team may view the 5K as a fun challenge, others may feel disinterested. To drum up support, offer an incentive. Money would be ideal, as a 2015 study found that cash incentives can increase participation in company wellness programs by as much as 35 percent. Paid time off and gift card prize packs can also serve as useful motivators.

 
Organize running groups

Once you’ve signed up a number of your employees for the race, you should organize a running group. This group will get to gather at least once a week to practice for the race, swap running playlists and provide mutual support. To optimize the process, you might want to bring in a nutritionist or personal trainer to give your team tips about dieting, gear, conditioning and injury prevention.

 
Train together

This Mayo Clinic article lays out an excellent training program for first-time runners. Using a system developed by Olympian Jeff Galloway, the article lays out a simple program that will help a person slowly and safely condition their body for a 5K race. It takes about seven weeks to complete and is appropriate for both running and walking events.

 
Complete the race

After training is completed, gather your participating employees together on the day of the race at the starting point. After everyone has checked in, you can all begin the race together. Running as a group will harness the camaraderie that you and your workers built up over the last few months and will help ensure that everyone makes it to the finish line.

 
Celebrate!

Following completion of the race, you should hold an office party for all the participants. There, you can recognize your group achievement and acknowledge individual fitness goals that were realized over the course of the project. You can give out prizes to the employee who finished the race in the shortest amount of time and the staffer who lost the most weight while training. This celebration will play a key role in ensuring that the quality of life changes your employees made while preparing for the race become permanent.
 

 
Take the HAP 5K challenge and prepare for your next 5K race.

To learn more about affordable healthcare plans for your small business, visit Health Alliance Plan.

For more tips and inspiration for small business owners, visit Small Business Pulse Detroit.

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