When I first set out to start running, I only had the goal of running a 5k, and not knowing anyone else who completed the distance I didn’t have anyone to give me tips and tricks. Fast forward to almost two years later and15+ 5ks and other races under my belt I finally feel like I know what it takes to complete a 5k.
The first thing I learned which is very important is that a 5k is a respectable, and achievable distance for anyone. Running is mental, the only competition is yourself, it’s not about finishing first or last, it’s about finishing. Secondly, times have changed, there’s so many different free running apps for iOS and Droid phones that you can use to give you an easy to follow training plans. My personal favorite is C25k by Zen Labs, very easy to follow and has a 10k extension.
Also, the hardest part was committing to a plan, sometimes life happens it can impact your ability to get out and run on a scheduled day. Guess what? That’s okay, missing a workout here and there will not impact your ability to finish the 5k. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or your body aches, take a day off, it’s very important to listen to your body to avoid injury.
Speaking of your body, what you put on it matters. I’ll keep it simple, go to a real running store and get fitted for proper shoes. Everyone has a different foot shape, arch, and gait and not every shoe is created to accommodate every type of foot combination. As far as gear, you get what you pay for. It’s that simple, invest in moisture wicking shirts, and compression tights with minimal seams to reduce chaffing. For a good value Walmart has a Danksin brand of dri-fit shirts that I still use and are my favorite go to shirts to run in, and Old Navy are my favorite compression tights. As far as socks go, yes you will spend $6 on a pair, but your feet will thank you, I promise.
I also discovered the importance of going to the bathroom before going out for a run, or heading out to your race. When you run, things in your tummy get jumbled, and before you know it…you gotta go…well you know. Get your PRP (Pre Run/Race Poop) done at home, you don’t wanna do that at a ports-potty.
Lastly, have fun and enjoy yourself, a 5k is a gateway drug into the running world, make it a memorable experience not a stressful one. Don’t run for time, but run for fun.
Motivational Tips: Find a friend or group to run with to help you stay on track, and my personal favorite… sign up for a race because you don’t want to waste that entry fee money.