Bored with your running routines? New to running and need a motivation to continue? Or would you like to set a goal for your running exercise? Then you may consider signing up for a local 5K race.
5K is about a 3.1 mile running race. Most healthy people with proper training can run a 5K in about 30 minutes. 5Ks are hugely adapted local events in most communities, also very accessible to novice runners. Having an actual date to work toward will help you focus and commit to your running.
It is common that 5K first-timers train for 8-12 weeks for their first race. If you are new to running or you haven’t run for a while, give yourself 12 weeks or more to build a base.
Here are some rules of thumb for the first 5K training:
- Start slow, walk, and then gradually run at an easy pace. Do this for 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week.
- Gradually increase running time, and gradually reduce walking. Do this for 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week.
- Continue with cross training (such as swimming, cycling, yoga…). Do this for 30 minutes, 2 days a week.
- Do warm-ups and dynamic stretching before running, which reduces the chance of injuries from running.
A walk and run combination is perfectly okay when you train for a 5K, in fact, it’s okay even in the race. If you plan to take walk breaks during the race, place yourself close to the back of the crowd at the start, so you avoid obstructing other runners.
Keep your body always well hydrated and balanced in nutrition during training and on the race day. Here are some good sources for main nutrition:
- Good sources of carbohydrate: fruits, brown rice, whole grain breads, wheat pasta, energy bars, and fruit juices.
- Good sources of protein: chicken, whitefish, yogurt, cheese, eggs, and protein bars.
- Good sources of fat: olive oils, avocados, almonds, cashews, peanuts and peanut butter, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.
Once you have committed to your first race, it's a good idea having a running buddy who keeps you on track. She/he can makes the entire experience more fun and special.
The race day should be as similar as possible to other training days: Run using same pace as you used when training, and keep all other running or eating routines the same. Just make sure you arrive early enough to avoid unexpected traffic or parking situations. This gives you time to relax and warm-up before the run.
And most importantly, enjoy your first race experience!