This post is meant for the beginners amongst us, those who have recently decided to run and have set themselves a goal of running a 5K come springtime. I know I have some beginner followers and most of the traffic from Google to my blog is from people searching for how to train for a 5K or for Jeff Galloway training information.
So this post is for you. It will help you learn how to finish a 5K with a big smile on your face.
First, congrats on setting yourself a goal to run a 5K. Give yourself a pat on the back! When I started I couldn’t run half a mile, much less a 5K and now I’ve run 3 marathons. I know from personal experience that you can run a 5K too.
Get Good Sneakers
The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is to get a good pair of running sneakers. I recommend getting properly fitted at a running store. It’s important to run in good sneakers so you don’t hurt yourself and have to stop training.
Sign Up for a Race
Second, sign up for a 5K race! Having that race date on your calendar will help you get out of bed or off the couch to go run. That date won’t move so you better. I recommend picking a date 10 to 12 weeks out to give yourself plenty of time to train. You may hit a speed bump along the way to accomplishing your goal so having an extra week or so will help you manage any unforeseen circumstances.
Check Out Couch to 5K Apps
Next you need to find yourself a Couch to 5K app (C25K) for your smartphone. These apps will help guide you step by step through training and through each run. They will begin by having you walk more than you run and gradually increasing the running portions of each training run until you reach a full 5K.
Here are 2 C25K apps to consider.
2. Jeff Galloway’s Easy 5K app. I am a big Jeff Galloway fan having used his training plan to run all 3 of my marathons. I have not used any of his apps as they either didn’t exist when I started running or I didn’t know about them. To get the iPhone app click here. This app is supposedly available for Android phones, but I have not been able to find it. I’ve searched all over the web, but to no avail. If you happen to know the link to the Android app, please post it in the comments. I’d be forever grateful!
If you do these first three things: buy good sneakers, sign up for a race and get a C25K app you will finish a 5K with flying colors. Everything else you could buy or use is just gravy. That being said, here are a few things you can do to enjoy the experience more or give yourself an extra little boost.
Buy Some Running Clothes
You do not have to buy any running clothes as you can start with what’s in your closet. (Unless you’re a woman and don’t own a sports bra. I highly recommend getting a sports bra.) If you want to check out some cool running attire like tights, shorts, running skirts or tech tees I recommend checking out RunningWarehouse.com. That’s where I buy most of my running clothes. They even have free shipping and free return shipping if something doesn’t fit right. You can of course buy clothes at local retailers or through Amazon.com as well.
The one thing I recommend is either buying some clothes with small pockets for items like keys or purchasing a running belt. The one I used as a beginner was an SPIbelt. It has a small pouch, is adjustable and never bothered me while on a run, even the long ones.
The truth is that you can run a 5K without modifying your diet, assuming you eat at least a few healthy foods. That being said if you want to help yourself out, eat foods that will fuel you well like whole grains and fruits/vegetables. Make sure to refuel shortly after your runs too. I personally drink a glass of chocolate milk, but you can also try peanut butter or protein bars. Also, make sure to drink lots of water all day long and not just on the days you run. The better hydrated you are the easier your runs will be.
The last thing I want to mention is motivation. We all have days when we don’t want to do what we know we should. You will have these days while you train. I recommend putting motivational quotes around your home where you’ll see them or developing a positive mantra about your running that you can turn to when you want to roll over in bed. You may also want to read the book The Courage to Start by John Bingham. It may just help you to believe you can do it.
Good luck with your training and reaching your 5K goal! I believe you can do it!