How to Achieve 5K Success – A Runner’s Guide for Beginners

Here’s another great article by Jason Lewis which will lead you to a successful 5K run!

Jason Lewis is a personal trainer, who specializes in helping senior citizens stay fit and healthy. He is also the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created StrongWell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65

Photo via Pixabay

How to Achieve 5K Success: A Runner’s Guide for Beginners

by Jason Lewis

Running is great exercise and can be a lot of fun. If you don’t typically run, jogging around the block can seem impossible, but even a beginner can train to run a 5K race in just a few months. Ready to get started! Then follow these tips to achieve 5K success.

Start off slowly

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and rarely run, if at all, you aren’t going to be able to run a 5K next week. Start off slowly by walking every day for 30 minutes for four weeks. Then, for the next two weeks, run at least half of the time and walk the other half. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to run the whole 30 minutes.

Try Couch to 5K

If you need a detailed plan on how much to exercise each day, use a schedule like Couch to 5K, which includes a week-by-week plan that builds up gradually to get you ready to run a 5K. When training, don’t worry about your speed. Pace yourself and take walking breaks when necessary.

Team up with a friend

If you need the motivation to train and exercise, find a friend with a common goal. Pick a 5K race in your area that’s a few months away, and train together to run in the race. Having a friend for motivation and accountability can be a big help for beginners.

Use tech

Track your progress with the use of a fitness tracker or even a smartwatch. Though a smartwatch isn’t necessary, it can be extremely helpful to track your activity level. A smartwatch or fitness tracker can also work as a motivator, as well as keep you safe and healthy while running. The newest model in the Apple Watch series, for example, includes health and safety features like electrocardiogram (ECG) generation, fall detection, and emergency SOS. Additionally, some fitness trackers allow you to play music while you’re working out (you may need to purchase wireless headphones, which are available as over-the-ear or in-ear).

Don’t forget to stretch

To avoid injury and increase flexibility, stretch your major muscle groups after each run to cool down. Focus on your hamstrings, quadriceps, back, groin, and hips. Runners World offers these suggestions for post-run stretches.

Reward yourself

In the months leading up to the 5K race, set milestones in your training. Each time you reach a goal, reward yourself with something you enjoy – maybe a massage, a book, fancy coffee, or a new outfit.

Know the course

If possible, run the course (or at least map it out), so you can become familiar with the terrain, difficult areas, or places where you could get lost. Knowing the course will make you more confident on race day.

Don’t wear new shoes

Never wear a brand new pair of shoes on race day. Though you don’t want shoes with treads that are thin, you want to wear comfortable running shoes that are broken in and don’t cause blisters. If you buy new shoes weeks before the race, alternate wearing your old shoes with the new one. Studies have shown that doing this can decrease the possibility of running-related injuries.

Don’t stress about it

As race day approaches, don’t stress about how fast you want to run or other details. Your goal is to finish the race happy and healthy. Enlist a couple of friends to cheer you on. During the race, don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning and take walking breaks for a minute or two throughout the race, if needed. Run the first two-thirds of the race at a comfortable pace. And then if you have a goal of a particular time to finish, pick up your pace in the last third.

Five kilometers might not seem like much, but it’s a big deal for a beginner to finish a 5K. Celebrate your finish by going out with friends, taking a day off work, or doing something else you enjoy. Next thing you know, you’ll be training for a half-marathon.

Dr. Stacey Naito is dedicated to helping people achieve their weight loss goals through her nutrition and exercise plans. To find out more about available programs, reach out today!