5 Tips to Get Ready for Your First 5K

The first 5K, is an exciting moment.  Like turning 18, it’s a right of passage.  Once you complete your 5K race, you are now officially a runner.  Now you’re look into running 10k’s, half-marathons, and obstacle races.  But hold on a moment.  I am getting way ahead of myself.  You need to first run the 5K.

But wait a second…. Most of us never, ever liked running.  The thought of running a block is causing you to sweat right now.  How in the world are you going to not just run a block but run 3.1 miles?

Now before you start gasping for air in a minor panic attack take a moment to slow your thoughts down.  Running your first 5K is a very doable goal.  So take a moment and get composed.  With the proper approach, you will be able to run and complete your first 5K.  These next 5 tips will help you get started.

  1. Choose and Sign Up for a 5K Race.  This step is important.  Signing up for an event is a sign that you are committed.   This will give you a deadline for your goal.  Having a deadline, gives you a pleasant amount of pressure to get your workouts completed.  The focus and dedication that comes along with having a race in mind will help you overcome any negative thoughts that may sabotage your progress.
  2. Get a New Pair of Running Shoes.  Those old sneakers you wear when you garden will not cut it when you start your 5K training.  Invest in a new pair of running shoes from a qualified running shoe store.  A new pair of shoes will help you start off on the right foot (get it).  The right shoes will help your running mechanics and prevent injuries.
  3. Follow A Plan. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  A progressive plan that gradually increases each week is the best way to build running strength and confidence.  The biggest mistake new runners make is to go out and try to run a mile.  Initially that may not seem like a lot but think about this…. The average runner takes 90 steps every minute.  If your first mile is 15 minutes that around 1,350 steps.  Jumping from 0 running steps to 1350 running steps is a huge leap.  If you were new to weight training, would you grab the 50 pound dumbbells for a bench press?  No.  Same thing with running.  Your muscles need to adapt to taking many, many steps consecutively over time.  A slow and gradual approach is the safest way to get to your 5K destination.   In our Couch to 5K Training Program, we give all the participants a gradual week by week plan that easily progresses from non-runner to runner.  Plus, you’ll have a coach that has run the run and can guide you and answer your questions along the way.
  4. Join A Group.  This is so important if you kinda despise running.  Those first few weeks of running will be tough!  The idea of stopping or giving up will fill your mind.  Having other new runners around you can provide the motivation to get you through the tough times.  You’ll be less likely to ditch on a training run when your teammates are waiting for you.  If you’re looking to surround yourself with a supportive group of 5K runners, check out our Couch to 5K Program.  And let me tell you, it’s awesome to be part of a team.  People that “get it” and can relate to what you are going through as you train for your first 5K.
  5. Be Consistent.  Consistency is key to accomplishing your goals.  You can’t run for 2 days, take 5 days off and expect to be ready for your first 5K.  You need to be consistent in your training.  This will increase your running fitness and build your running confidence.  Having a plan will help with consistency, but making running appointments throughout the week is crucial to getting it done.  Don’t just have these appointments on your calendar, but share them on the family calendar.  Make sure everyone knows that your goal is important to you and that they need to allow you space to run.  You also need to honor this appointment and don’t make excuses to put it off.

Now it’s time to tackle that 5K goal and get it off your bucket list.  These tips will help get you started.  But you need to put in the work.  But trust me.  If you do, in a matter of weeks you will cross that 5K finish line feeling victorious.