With the weather stating to pick up outside it’s a great time to get your shoes laced up and start running! A 5K is a great distance to start with, especially if you are new to running or haven’t ran for a long time. In addition, if you are planning on running a 5K to keep fit and lose weight, regularly running is a great exercise for burning calories.
Despite a 5K being one of the shorter running event distances, it’s perfectly reasonable to be apprehensive about race day. To help you out we’ve put together our top 10 tips for training and running a 5k.
Use a training plan
The best way to prepare for any race is by preparing! Follow a structured training plan that will build up your fitness and stamina gradually over a few weeks. The Couch to 5K plan is a great option for beginners.
Sign up to an event
Signing up to a 5K event, whether it’s a local park run or a bigger charity event, will motivate you to keep up with your running and you’ll get a great sense of accomplishment once you cross the finish line.
Make sure you take adequate rest days between your training sessions. This will give your body time to recover and build strength, and also avoid injury.
If you are trying to improve your 5K speed, try introducing intervals into your training programme, alternating between running hard and walking/jogging. This will help to build up your stamina for running at a faster pace for longer.
Just as important as your rest days, on running days and before your race make sure you do some warm up exercises. A few stretches can make the difference in crossing the finish line and getting doubled over with cramp.
Don’t use up all your steam at the start of the race! Whatever your average running time, try to pace yourself over the first 3 miles of the course, saving a bit of energy to finish strong (this makes for more impressive finish line photos too by the way!).
Run with friends
Running with friends, or even joining a local running club, can add an element of fun to your training and help keep you motivated on reaching your 5K goals. What better way to celebrate crossing the finish line that regrouping post-race for a much needed victory meal?
Leave the new shoes at home
Nothing can ruin your race quite like a painful pair of shoes. No matter how comfortable they felt when you tried them on in the shop, if you haven’t broken your shoes in before race day stick with your tried and tested training shoes.
Research your course
Before you show up at your event, try and find out where the course will take you. If there are any hills or tricky terrains you’ll have a better idea of how to pace yourself over the 3.1 miles.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself! Enjoy the excitement and atmosphere of your chosen 5K event and give yourself a huge pat on the back once you’ve finished the run – regardless of times.
If you are looking for your next 5k run, take a look at our event listings to find the perfect event for you - 5k Run Listings