Training for Your First 5K

After much deliberation, I’ve finally decided to sign up for my first 5K run! On Saturday, October 26th I’ll be taking part in the Region of Peel’s “Run, Walk and Roll” 5K for the United Way with some of my co-workers.

It might not seem like a huge deal, but it’s a big step for me considering I HATE running. Don’t get me wrong, I love cardio – bike riding, swimming, hiking, dancing (despite my lack of coordination and grace)… that’s all very appealing to me. But running, on the other hand, is not my friend.

So what has motivated me to sign up for my first 5K? Well, first and foremost, it never hurts to try something new! More importantly, though, I felt like I was in need of a change – something challenging to make me push myself. With no gym membership and limited access to fitness equipment, my workouts were starting to get boring.

My biggest problem when it comes to working out is simply getting started. When I force myself to just do it, then I have no problem getting through a 60-90 minute workout. But after a day’s work and long commute home it’s so much easier to throw on some pj’s and relax!  So to motivate myself to get started, I downloaded the free version of the RunKeeper app. I set a goal to complete a 5K, and selected an appropriate training program to start in the next couple of weeks.

I got a head start on my training a few days ago by tackling a 3.5K route, and managed to run for about 40% of the way and walk the remaining 60%. I figured that’s not too bad for a person that hates running! My next task is to invest in some decent running shoes.  Shin splints are no fun!

If you’ve recently signed up or are thinking about signing up for your first 5K race, here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Invest in the essentials. Proper running shoes are key!  My mom is an avid runner and she insists that it’s best to get professionally fitted for the right running shoe.

2. Create and follow a running program. Smartphone apps are a great tool to use for free training programs. Set some calendar alerts in your phone so you’re less tempted to skip a workout!

3. Slow and steady wins the race! If you’re just starting out, don’t try and push yourself too hard. Running is a lot like weight training – your body needs time to adapt. Start your running program off by alternating between a few minutes of walking and a few minutes of running, until gradually you’re able to run the whole way.

4. Recruit a buddy. You’ll be much more likely to stick to your training program if you have a friend to accompany you along the way! You may even want to consider joining a running group, or try starting a running and/or walking group with co-workers over your lunch break.

5. Dress for success. I have to be up before 6:30 am every day for work, so unless I’m willing to wake up before the sun has risen (um, no thanks), it’s more convenient for me to work out in the evening. I find I’m much more likely to follow through with a workout if I immediately change into exercise clothes when I get home from work.

What do you like to do to prepare for a race, and how do you keep yourself motivated? Feel free to comment below and share some tips!

Be Well xo