When people first think about running a marathon, many believe that they are not cut out for it. In reality; anyone in a fairly decent shape and good health can take up running. If you follow the marathon runs in cities like New York or London, you will find that not every runner there is an experienced one. In fact; many people in these races come from different walks of life and are in various shapes and sizes. So, if they can run the 5K, why can’t you? Here are some easy tips for training for a 5K on the treadmill or road if you are a beginner:
1. Sign up first!
If you have always wanted to run the 5K but don’t know where to start, then the first thing to do is to sign up. That will give you all the encouragement you need to get off the couch and out the door. The good news is that anyone who can run for 10 minutes can run the 5K and begin a 5K training plan. 5K runs are very popular and common so you are sure to find them near you. In fact; it is the most popular distance in races. So sign up and take the first step. If it helps, you can get your partner or a friend to join you.
2. Come up with a training plan
Decide if you want to train indoors on a treadmill or outdoors. Some people tend to get bored with treadmill training. So you need to know yourself in order to come up with the best 5K training plan that suits your lifestyle and personality. Parks, bike tracks, and traffic free routes are great places to start your running. Alternatively, enroll yourself in a gym membership so you can get regular on the treadmill.
3. Invest in good shoes
Good running shoes are essential to prevent injuries. Visit a shoe store and find out if your shoes are fit for running. Specialty stores can also help you find the right fit and size.
4. Start slowly
Never do too much in the beginning. Always start slowly and increase the distance bit by bit. Come up with a weekly plan. For example, on day 1, you could run for 5-7 minutes and walk for 15 minutes on a slight gradient at a slower speed. Gym trainers can also help you with a treadmill 5K pace chart. Gradually, increase your speed and time until you are able to train for up to 45 minutes to an hour daily. (Note that 5K is 3.1 miles). Listen to your body and stop training if you experience pain. Here is a basic chart for planning a 5K run in 5 weeks:
|1||1.5 miles||1.5 miles||2 miles|
|2||2 miles||2 miles||2.5 miles|
|3||2 miles||2.5 miles||3 miles|
|4||2.5 miles||2.5 miles||3 miles|
|5||2.5 miles||2 miles||3.1 miles|
5. Reward yourself
To keep yourself motivated, you need to reward yourself from time to time. If you run longer than you have ever run before, go to a spa, get a massage, or buy yourself something you’ve always wanted. You could even indulge in some food treat which you may have been depriving yourself of.
Related content – Easy Ways to Run Faster
6. Train with a buddy
If you train for the 5K at a gym, you can make some friends and encourage them to sign up for the event. When you train in a group, you are sure to have more fun and you can all motivate and encourage each other. You can also find training groups near with the help of a simple Internet Search.
7. Use training apps
Whether you have decided to do 5k on the treadmill or on the road, you need to stick to a training plan. There are many mobile applications to help you along the way. Free to download apps like RunKeeper and Endomondo are very useful and have many features that can help you stick to a training plan. Some features of these apps include:
- Audio cues
- Comparing stats with friends
- Discovering new routes
- Challenges for extra push
- Weather and other important information
- Prescribed workouts
- Playlists to keep your routine fun
Other popular apps include C25K or the couch to 5K treadmill app.
8. Be consistent!
Unless you schedule your runs and stick to a training plan, you will not train daily. Use the apps mentioned above, train with a buddy or hang up a daily planner on your desk or refrigerator. This way, you will be constantly reminded of your training schedule and can plan your day around it. Keep yourself accountable by telling your friends and family about your training plans. You can also keep a training log and note down the distance you covered, your timing, your diet and also how you felt. Training logs can actually prevent serious injuries and also spot trends that lead to injury or burnout. They can also keep you motivated when you see how far you’ve come.
9. Warm up and cool down
It is very important to warm up properly before the run. Do some stretches, brisk walking, a few pushups, squats and jumping jacks. After the run, stretch properly. Do some yoga poses. Stretch your legs.
10. Stay safe
Whether running indoors on a treadmill or outside on a road or in a park; safety is paramount. Listen to your body and let pain be your guide. If your muscles are a bit sore, go for a massage. But if you experience nagging pain that is persistent and lasts for weeks, you must see a doctor.
11. Walk every now and then
Marathons always allow people to walk during the run; walking is not considered a form of cheating. So do not hesitate to walk. In fact; many runners break their runs into periods of walking and running which helps make it more doable.
12. Handle doubts with positive affirmations
One of the common problems faced by runners is negative thoughts which affect training. If you get doubts from time to time, you need to come up with positive affirmations. Make your own affirmations and repeat them over and over in your head like a mantra: I am strong, the 5K is easy for me, My legs are strong and so am I, No pain-no gain etc. You can also try visualizing your success before each run.
13. Eat right
Fueling the body right is important during training. According to Runner’s World training guide, the best foods for runners include eggs, salmon, oranges, sweet potatoes, black beans and green salads. Cereals, energy bars, bagels and pasta are good sources of carbohydrates for energy. You can also have banana, oatmeal and yogurt before running. Avoid high fiber and high protein foods just before the run as they can cause stomach distress.
14. Ease aching, sore muscles
Tired and sore muscles are often hindrances to one’s 5K training plan. Ease your sore muscles by using heat packs, ice therapy, massages, and gentle stretching to get back to the full range of motion.
Running a 5K successfully will help you feel great about yourself in many other areas of your life. We hope this brief training guide helps you achieve your goal.