Whether you haven’t run in years, or you are brand new to the running world, preparing for a 5K is a perfect way to get primed and ready for a runner’s lifestyle. And truth be told, once you cross that finish line, the sky is the limit. A 10k or half marathon could be next—it’s all in your hands, and we’ve got all the information you need to get you there!
Are you ready to change your life? Steadily increase your confidence? Feel better and more empowered than you ever have before, and finally understand what a natural high (that only comes from running) feels like? Then brace yourself—because while training for a 5K is challenging—it’s well worth it. It’ll change your life, and your body for the better!
Search out a Community of Support for Your Running Goals
One mistake many beginning runner’s do is run with non-runner’s (friends, spouse, children) or running alone. Running alone can be beneficial and convenient, but if you’re a beginner, it can also be a frustrating experience. For example, if you run and suffer an injury, it’s much easier to stop running without another person holding you accountable. Or, when you encounter runner’s fatigue, it’s easy to quit when you’re doing it alone.
But, when you join a runner’s group (just search online for runner’s club/group in your area and you’ll find multiple opportunities!) to strive for a level of success that other runners can encourage you to reach! When you join a runner’s group, you’re not just running—you’re acquiring a group of lifelong friends and supporters, too.
Come Up With a Training Program
The most important use of your time will be devising the correct training program based on your fitness level. If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to start off walking for twenty minutes (running long distances requires an endurance level to be built up). Here are the steps to take in order to have the strength and the stamina to cross that finish line:
• Allow yourself enough prep time. First things first, is to sign up for your 5K! Once you’ve done that—congrats! You’re committed. Spend about three weeks’ time preparing for the race, with the first week being solely devoted to walking and running intervals. So, for the first three days, you want to briskly walk for twenty minutes straight, and then run at a moderate pace for five minutes, and then conclude your workout with walking uphill for twenty minutes.
• Hit the weights. On day 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, increase your running time from five minutes at a time to ten minutes. Walk and run alternatively for one hour, followed by a thirty minute weight lifting workout(which will boost your overall endurance).
• For the next week and a half, run your heart out. Stretch your running muscles and motivation for the remaining days left before the race! Run for fifteen minute stretches, followed by a short (three minute) walk in between to reach 2.8 miles. Make sure to fuel your body after your workout with plenty of protein—you’ll need it to rebuild your muscle tissue.
Getting your body primed and ready for a 5K is key—and when you apply a strategy like the one above, you’ll cross that finish line in record time! But as it goes with life, the real joy of running is about the journey (not the destination), so enjoy it all: the strides you’ll make, the confidence you’ll gain and the support and friendship from other runners you’ll make along the way!