I’ve always enjoyed running, I ran track in high school, sprint actually 100 meter dash, and I also did the 400 meters relay. Penn State relay was the race everyone wanted to be a part of. I only wished I could remember my time, because I was fast. Yep a lot has changed since then that’s for sure. I continued my love for running while in college but I mostly did local charity run. Less than 5 years ago, I signed up to run the ING New York City Marathon, sadly I wasn’t selected.
Running was always my me time, my serenity that was until I had a leg injury early last year, which resulted in me sporting a leg brace for a few months, and I’ve been scared to run ever since. However, my goal this year is to rekindle my love for running. Although, I am not quiet a newbie runner I am nervous at the thought of hitting the tracks again. So how do I go from being a couch potato all the way to crossing the finish line, well about How to Run a 5k for the Ultimate Beginner!
How to Run a 5k for the Ultimate Beginner
If you’re a newbie runner, or just trying out runner for the first time. These tips will help you transition from newbie to stellar. First, to kick start your new love, you will have to invest in a pair of good running shoes and a comfortable running clothes that wick away moisture from your body to reduce chafing. Having a stick of Body Glide isn’t a bad idea either as you can apply it on your feet to prevent blisters or anywhere else on your body that might be rubbing together. In my case, it will be my thunder thighs. To begin, you will also need a timer, I use my Samsung Galaxy Gear which comes equipped with a timer and it also sync to an app on my phone called S Health.
The key to running a 5k for the ultimate beginner is learning how to do pace yourself. In the beginning, everything should be broken down to 30-second intervals. You can do anything for 30 seconds! Head outside or onto the treadmill and start walking for two minutes. This gets your heart rate going and hopefully will calm your nerves a little bit. After those initial 2 minutes, run for 30 seconds. After the first sprint and you try to catch your breath, walk it out for two minutes. Keep a log of how long it takes you to regain your breath. If it is two minutes, then you’re on track – run for another 30 seconds. If it is 5 minutes, then walk for 5 minutes and then run for 30 seconds.
On your first day, you need to walk/run for at least 20 minutes. Write down your time and splits on a calendar. Every day you are out there, write down how much you walked vs. running. In this example it would be 2min/30sec for 20 minutes. Your goal for the first week is to hit the pavement 4-5 times with consecutive being best. Trust me, your legs will hurt after the first couple of days, but getting back out there will help to make it easier. After the first week you will notice how fast your body adapts to this new exercise and you starts to crave it!
The goal for the second week is to increase your running time to 30 minutes. If you are still having a hard time, keep the same split times as the first week. If you are feeling stronger, run for a minute and walk for two minutes. Keep increasing the time running in either 30-second increments, depending on your fitness level. Keep your walks to 1-2 minutes though. If you started out walking 5 minutes, keep running for 30-60 seconds but reduce the amount of walking until you’re down to two minutes and then start to increase your running time. You need your heart rate to increase before you increase your running time.
By the third week of running 4-5 times a week, your body would have become conditioned to your new exercise regime. At the beginning of this week try running for 5 minutes then walking for 1 minute, running for 4 minutes, walking for 1 and on down until you are running 1 minute and walking 1 minute. You will be surprised that at first it will seem impossible to run for 5 minutes at a time, but your body just might enjoy it. Keep working on these splits and see if you can reduce your resting time to 30 seconds.
The key to running success is to increase the amount of time running while reducing the time walking. On average, a super-fast runner will compete a 5k in less than 25 minutes and an average runner less than 40 minutes. Most people that run-walk a 5k finish in less than 50 minutes. Learning to run in splits and not for sheer distance is the best way to start out learning to run and the best way to learn to run a distance of 5k.
Well, I hope these tips will help you in achieving your dream of running a 5k.