Many users are getting ready to run their first 5K in preparation for the annual Runkeeper Global 5k.
Once you’ve decided you want to run a 5K, the first thing you need to do is set a goal. Perhaps your goal is to simply run a 5k. Start by registering for a specific race. In my own experience, signing up for a race is one of the best motivators when it comes to training. Having a deadline will help push you to keep running if you find yourself struggling to stay motivated. Or perhaps your goal is time-related! Say your goal is to run 5K in under 28 minutes, your training plan will reflect your time goal. Pick a goal that will motivate and encourage you throughout training.
Follow a race training plan
The best way to prevent injury, burnout, and just pure training frustration is to follow a training plan. Simply open your Runkeeper app and select a training plan based on your goal! Whether you are starting from Square 1, you want to lose a little weight, or if you want to run a personal best time, there’s a training plan for you. The main thing to keep in mind as you begin a training program is to make sure that it is progressive. Don’t expect to be running 1 mile this week and 3 miles the next. Just like any other sport or activity, running takes practice and patience to build strength and endurance over time. Take your time and stick with it!
Find your motivation
Next, find your motivation. Ask yourself why you are running this particular race. Is it for the cool shirt? Is it because all of your friends are doing it with you? Is it to prove to yourself that you can be a runner? Everyone’s motivation is going to be different. Some people use races as a motivator to enter into a healthier lifestyle. There’s no right or wrong reason, you just need to make it important for YOU. So ask yourself (and be honest), why are you running? What’s at stake?
Pump yourself up
As the old saying goes, “If you look good, you’ll feel good”! Help get yourself excited about your upcoming race by investing in some new gear. If you haven’t already, go get outfitted for a good pair of running shoes. Or go buy a new running shirt you’ll be excited to run in or some nice socks. It may not seem like a big deal but sometimes it’s the little things that can get you pumped to train.
Rock it out
From my own personal experience, I know that sometimes the perfect running playlist is very important. Keep your playlist new and up-tempo with the help of Spotify. By selecting a playlist set to your pace and songs that aren’t necessarily on your music device, you may be surprised to find some new songs that get your legs moving faster and help you get through some of the miles.
Research the race
First-time 5Kers, I know running a 5K can seem daunting and intimidating. There are a lot of questions you may ask yourself:
- When/where do I get my race bib?
- How early should I show up for a race?
- What is the race route?
Some of these questions can be answered just by looking up the race online! Generally, races will tell you where you can pick up your packet (“packet” being the term for your race info including but not limited to your race bib, t-shirt, and sometimes some freebies). Take some time pursuing your particular race’s FAQ or website to answer your specific race day questions. If your race is a virtual 5K, plan out your route and train on it! This way you will be ready to tackle any elevation changes on race day!
Be prepared for race day
Through a consensus by the runners in my local community, they recommend getting to a race anywhere from 30-45 minutes before the start of the race. Keep in mind, for a bigger race you may want to arrive earlier so you can make sure you can park, warm up and go to the bathroom without feeling rushed.