Thinking About Running Your First 5K?
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get healthier, or simply want to challenge yourself, running is a great place to start. However, running aimlessly probably won’t get you where you want to go. Most people find it easier to achieve their fitness goals if they’re working towards something big, like a 5k. Why not consider setting your sites on your first 5k run? Here are some tips that should help you get prepared.
Why a 5K Run?
Exercising is already hard enough, you may be thinking. Why add complexity and a whole new level of difficulty? While running competitively can seem daunting, it’s actually one of the most invigorating, enriching, and confidence-boosting things you can do. Running a 5K doesn’t cost much, it’s fun (yes, really), and its fantastic for your health.
Exactly What Is a 5K Run?
A 5K run is 3.1 miles and is one of the most popular race distances in the United States and around the world. This is largely because its distance is long enough to be challenging, but short enough to be accessible to people at varying levels of experience. A 5K is relatively easy to train for, there are many of them so you don’t have to venture too far to find one, and they're a great way to get fit. There are other bonuses, too. For many people, running is a form of meditation and relaxation and studies have shown that runners have lower stress levels than those who do not exercise. Another plus is the social potential of running a 5K. There are likely many runner’s training groups near you that you can join for advice, support and proper training help. These groups are a fantastic way to find friends and fitness partners.
How to Start Your 5K Journey
- Don’t Be Intimidated – It’s not as hard to prepare for a 5K as you may think. First, know that very few people are “born” runners. Champion runners are created through training and dedication. That means everybody and anybody can—and should—run! The first step is getting started. You’ll see the many mental and physical benefits soon after that!
- Overcome Mental Blocks – This is the number one problem for most new runners. It’s easy to put yourself down, to tell yourself that you’ll never achieve your goals and to tell yourself you weren’t, in the words of Bruce Springsteen, “born to run.” You may, like many people, feel small and inexperienced next to runners who’ve been doing this for years, even decades. Know that all these negative thoughts are just your mind playing games with you. Anyone can run a 5K and contrary to popular belief, most runners are very nice people and very welcoming of newcomers.
- Get the Running Habit – To begin, you need to get in the habit of running. Time yourself, set goals, and record your progress. It may take you a bit of time to work your way up to feeling more comfortable running. For example, say you're now running once a week – try to up that to twice a week, then three times a week. If you can't run for extended periods of time yet, walk part of the time. Slowly build up the walking to run-walking, then to jogging, then to running. You should start at your current level of fitness, not where you want to be. This will help you avoid burnout.
- Create a Training Plan – Once you've grown accustomed to running and believe you're ready to up the ante, you should establish a training plan. Expect to run at least three times a week and arrange your schedule accordingly. It doesn’t really matter what time you run — pick the time that is best for your schedule. If you’re not sure where to start with a plan, it would be helpful to contract the help of a coach or a more experienced runner. If you don’t know of anyone, reach out to your local runners groups — they’d be more than happy to help you! Most beginners need at least 8 weeks to prepare for a 5K race.
- Find a Community – Most people find it’s much easier to train for a long run in a group. There are communities of runners all over the world. Having people around you will help motivate and inspire you, and hold you accountable so that you keep going out week after week to train. When morale is low, your community will lift you up.
You Can Do This
Follow the tips outlined above and be patient. Be kind to yourself and don't listen to negativity from anyone who tells you "you can't." Running a 5K is certainly a challenge, but it's one that almost anyone can meet if they're willing to exercise some self-discipline and put in the preparation necessary to succeed. Don't give up on yourself.
RX Fitness Equipment Can Help
If you're beginning a training regime to run your first 5K and would like to discuss your goals with a professional, we work with hundreds of personal trainers, fitness coaches, nutritionists and dietitians, and we would love to refer you to one that can help you get off on the right foot. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget and we're here to make your fitness routine more productive. Stop by our store in Thousand Oaks or give us a call. RX Fitness is here to help with your fitness goals and accessories wish list, whatever they may be. Come in and let us help you find exactly what you need. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, on Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.