How to Start Training for Your First 5k?
Do you have a dream of running a 5K just so you can check it off your bucket list? If that sounds like you, but you haven’t gotten around to actually doing it then here is a step by step to get you signed up, ready and through your big race.
Pick a Race (www.active.com)
- Price - Most races have a participation fee, so you’ll want to keep that in mind as you search for a race. The fee typically goes towards paying for your race number and any other race swag they offer in their package. This might include an event t-shirt, shoe tracker, water bottle, and metals for the first finishers in each age group.
- Map - Look up the map for the race. If you live nearby, consider walking the path to see how difficult it will be. Are there a lot of hills? Does it go cross-country or stay on the road? These are good things to know when you are training for the big day.
- Specialties - What is your race for? Some races are to raise money for a cause. Others are purely for fun. It might be a color run, meaning chalk will most likely be tossed at you periodically throughout the race. It could be a glow in the dark race, so you’ll run in the evening with glow sticks. It could even be a dress-up race where you will wear a costume as you run.
Before you start
- Find a friend - If you can talk a friend into running the race with you that will make training and race day way more fun. You will be able to help keep each other motivated to practice and focused on the big day.
- Get the right shoes - Make sure you have the right type of shoes for the race. If you’ll be pounding the pavement, then you need shoes with good support to keep your feet and ankles in prime running condition. Few things are worse than shin splints or a sprained ankle because you were running in the wrong shoes.
Start an exercise routine early
- When to start - If you are going to need to get race ready, then plan at least 6 to 8 weeks to train. If you don’t give yourself enough time to prepare then you might injure yourself from pushing your body harder than it is able to go.
- 3 - 4 days per week - Schedule 3-4 days a week to exercise. Start small. If running all 3 miles sounds too daunting then set a time frame where you walk for 5 minutes and jog for 5 minutes. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. It’s great to push yourself just don’t push so hard that you break.
- Warm up/cool down - Always, always, always take the time to warm up and cool down properly. This will help keep you from pulling any muscles and it will also relieve some of the soreness you’ll probably be experiencing those first few weeks.
Day of Race
- Eat 3 - 4 hours before - Make sure to eat a good meal before you run so you will have the energy you need for the race. That being said, eat about 3 to 4 hours before the race. This will give the food time to get processed so you aren’t running with extra weight sloshing around in your stomach.
- Get there early/Warm-up - You want to get to the race at least an hour before your race actually starts. This will give you time to figure out what is going on and get warmed up. You don’t want to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to figure everything out right before you race.
- Cooldown - After the race, your adrenaline will be pumping super hard, but don’t forget that you need to give yourself a few minutes to cool down. Stretch your tired muscles so they don’t cramp up.
- Celebrate - You did it! Now is your chance to congratulate yourself and go eat a burger. Your body is going to need a few carbs after all that energy that you just used.
Now you know what to do from beginning to finish of your bucket list 5K. So, what’s stopping you? Go find and race and start getting ready!
Written by Mignonne Slaugh