Why and How you Can Run a 5k
Running a 5k is usually the first step in one’s running journey. Anyone who has considered taking up recreational running may feel intimidated by a race. They see tall, skinny people with short shorts and think there’s no way they can do that. True – short shorts aren’t for everyone, but running definitely can be.
A co-worker recently confessed that he needs to “do something to get more active.” Naturally, I recommended running a 5k. Specifically, I suggested he sign up for a 5k. By his own admission, he didn’t have a clue where to begin. Here are the reasons I gave as to why he should sign up for a 5k, and tips on how to begin training:
Reasons Why You Should Run a 5k
- It’s fun. Where else in life can you share a goal with hundreds or thousands of people? There’s usually music along the route, plenty of spectators and some sort of party at the end. You’ll also get a free t-shirt.
- It’s easy. Seriously, a 5k is a very attainable distance for any level of runner. It only takes two months to train, and even if you end up walking the whole thing, it would only take an hour. The 5k is generally a lot less taxing on your body than other races.
- It’s rewarding. The euphoria that comes from crossing the finish line is intense. You can take pride in knowing that what got you there was the discipline and hard work of sticking with a training plan.
- Get Fit. Yes you will probably even lose a few pounds (assuming you lay off the junk food), but you’ll see improvements elsewhere. Most runners report increased energy and mental sharpness. You’ll also sleep better at night.
How to Begin Training for a 5k
Here are just a few tips for running a 5K:
- Set a goal. Perhaps you just want to finish. Perhaps you have a time or something else in mind. Whatever it is, make sure you set that big, audacious goal and go for it! If this is your first race, make sure your goal is realistic so you’re not setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Buy good running shoes. You can get shoes for as little as $25 from Target, or $150 from a specialty running store. Find a shoe that fits your foot and is comfortable. I suggest Run N’ Fun, Mill City Running or any retailer that actually knows about feet.
- Sign up to run a 5k. There are a zillion 5ks around the state between now and the end of the year. Pick one that’s about 8 weeks from the date you plan to start training. Once you pay your registration fee, you’re more likely to commit to the training.
- Find and stick to a plan. This is the hardest step. There are MANY different 5k training plans. If you’re a beginner, find a couch to 5k plan. Here is a beginner plan I made for a friend who was already running a few miles every now and then.
Lastly, run your race! Achieve your goal and have a blast doing it; completing a race of any length can be one of life’s great accomplishments. Make running a 5k part of your lifestyle.
Your Advice for Running a 5k
If you have run a 5k or two, what would you share with a first timer?