10 Tips for Getting Started and Prepping for Your First 5K
Jul 25, 2018
Is this the year you'll finally run your first 5K? Maybe it's been a bucket list item for a while, or maybe someone near and dear to you has been begging you to get out for a run with them. No matter what your motivation is, I have ten tips to help you get started!
I did a full podcast about this, so you can also listen here!
- JUST DO IT! This one is as simple as making the decision. Stop thinking about it. Stop talking about "someday." Make the decision today, and then take the following actions.
- CHOOSE A RACE. If you are not already running, it will take you about 3-4 months to prepare. You can talk to the people at your local running store to find out what races are coming up, or search a database like Let's Do This, Running in the USA, Active.com, or RunSignUp.com. (Active and Run Sign Up will only show the races that they host as the place the race director has chosen for people to register for a race.)
- GET A PLAN. You can download a free plan as part of my RUN YOUR FIRST 5K GUIDE. Or you can search the internet for one of the many free plans. Another good rule of thumb is to run or walk three times a week, and to increase the amount of time you spend running by just a few seconds each time you go out.
- BE CONSISTENT. The best thing you can do is to be consistent with your training. It's better to go out two to three days a week than it is to run three days in a row and then be so sore or tired that you need to skip the next week. You'll make huge gains just by getting out there and trying week after week.
- TRY TO WALK/RUN/WALK. There is NO shame in walking. Ever. Even after you've been at it for years. Your first time out, just get started and test yourself so you know what your starting point is. How far can you run now before you're so tired you want to stop? If you can run 15 seconds, start there. Alternate that with a walk break. Is one minute enough rest? If not, add 10-15 more seconds. Then start back with the same running time. Alternate that for the duration of your run. The next time out, add about 5 more seconds to your run and see how it goes.
Get the free Crush Your First 5K Training Guide!
- ALTERNATE HARD AND EASY EFFORTS. It's best to avoid going hard day after day. Your body makes gains AT REST. So, you need to get those rest days in too. For now, consider running days your hard days and a walking day (or even a yoga day) as your easy day. Don't do two hard days back-to-back, even if you decide you looooove running. Let's get your endurance built up and strengthen your tendons and ligaments before you start going all crazy! :-)
- BE SAFE. Be aware of your surroundings. Tell someone where you are going. Use an app that will send your location to a friend or family member in case of an emergency. Or use your tracking feature on your iPhone. Another good idea is to wear a product like a ROAD ID so that in the event of an emergency, someone knows who you are and who to call for help. Also if you're listening to music or a podcast while you are out, consider using just one earbud so that you can hear traffic, emergency vehicles and others out on the road with you.
- MAKE IT FUN. This is one of my top "rules" for running and any exercise. HAVE FUN. If it's not fun or meaningful, it's not worth doing. Work out with a friend. Use it as a time to pray or think. Write motivational messages on the sidewalk with chalk. DO YOU and make sure you're energized and uplifted when you're finished.
- FIND A DEEPER MEANING. Lots of people run for a charity or train for charity races. That's one way to add a deeper meaning to your running. Some runners do Bible studies like the Run for God study. This isn't something you need to do, but it might be that connection that keeps you interested long enough to make running a lifelong behavior.
- GET OUTSIDE OF YOUR HEAD. Stop all the negative mental self-talk. Nearly every new runner thinks that the experienced runners are laughing at or talking about or judging them because they're taking walk breaks or running slow. They aren't. And if they truly are, they aren't worth your energy. Everyone was a beginner at running at one time, and every runner I've met has tons of respect for anyone out there giving it their best shot. And if you have other "too's" running through your head (too slow, too old, too heavy, too.... whatever) STOP IT. Fill your mind with positive thoughts and you WILL achieve your goals!
You can listen to the full podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, or Spotify. Or you can listen right here in the player below.
If you want the free 5K training guide, click over to this page.
And, if you want even more help, I would love to be your coach! Take a look at my one-on-one or online group programs for all distances, or message me about one-on-one coaching.
I hope to talk to you in person or online soon!