With Runkeeper’s Global 5k right around the corner (Have you joined the challenge? The free and virtual race is happening December 6th, 2015! CLICK HERE to join!), many users are getting ready to run their first ever 5k. New to running? Here are some tips to help you rock your first 5K!

7 Training Tips To Rock Your First 5K

Getting Started.

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 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.

Like 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 playlist is very important. Keep your playlist new and up tempo by either purchasing some new songs (especially for race day) or try listening to Pandora, Spotify, or Songza. 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. (Runkeeper DJ is a great way to mix up your running playlist! Just select your pace and genre you would like to run to and Runkeeper will generate a fresh playlist straight from your iTunes library that fits your selection.)

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 purusing 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 On 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.

Whether the Runkeeper Global 5K is your first 5K ever or if you’re a seasoned race day veteran in the running community, this challenge is perfect for everyone. Runkeeper wants you to be a part of their largest event of the year by taking the challenge to run or walk a 5K on 12/6 along with hundreds of thousands of runners around the world! Whether you’re outside or on a treadmill, all you have to do is get out and run! So first time 5K’ers, plan your route and get training! Set your goal, find your training plan, stick with it and there’s no doubt you’ll rock your race day!