Train for your First 5K

The day has come! You have made the decision to train for your first 5K! Below I will introduce to you what a 5K is, the gear you need, and include an example 12 week training plan. She ran a 5K &thenShe believed in herself, she became fearless, she… [fill in your victory]!

*Always consult your doctor before starting a new fitness routine. See your local gym for a more personalized workout routine*

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What is a 5K?

A 5K (5 Kilometer) is a 3.1 mile running (jogging and/or walking) race. A cost of a 5K race can range from $15 to $40 depending on what kind of medals and extra gear you get (the more money, the more you get). A good running shoe will be about $100. It will take about 3 months to train for your first race, assuming little to no fitness level to begin. A 5K is hosted in communities for charities or just for fun and you can find one near you at practically any time of the year. A 5K (or any running race) is considered a bucket list item for many people due to the improvement to one’s health and the act of commitment to a challenge.

Step 1: Sign up for the Race

No really, find a race you want to run and sign up NOW! It should be ATLEAST 3 months out, especially if this is your first 5k or first of any new distance.

Find a 5K in your area by simply googling “5K’s near [insert city/town]”

  • Find a 5K that has SWAG – which means fancy “free” stuff, like a cool shirt or a Medal. Make it something that will motivate you! I love RunDisney cause their swag is amazing! But I have gotten some awesome swag at small local races too.
  • Charity? Check out if the race is raising money for a cause you care about, however know that just because you sign up for the race does NOT mean you’ve given to the charity. Typically you will need to click an extra button at checkout to donate to the cause. Read the details on the site and you should know if your race fee goes towards the charity or just covers the cost of the race.
  • Try a virtual race! This is a great option to run when and where you are comfortable, but make sure you try at least one IN-person race… the energy is fantastic =)
  • Not all 5Ks have medals, so make sure you check out the details on the website prior to signing up. Everyone should get a medal on their first 5K!

Step 2: Get your Gear

I will share more in another article about some of my favorite brands, attire and nutrition, for now, lets touch on the basics:

  • Shoes ($100) –
    • If able, do not go cheap here, your feet will literally carry you through this whole thing and will make a difference in whether you hate running after this.
    • My suggested Brands: Asics, Brooks, or New Balance.
    • I always recommend you go to your local Fleet Feet to get your gait (walk) tested and find your perfect shoe.
  • Socks
    • Avoid cotton and get a high heel sock! This is the difference between you and those blisters.
    • Go to your local Dicks and you should be able to find the perfect sock.
  • Pants/shorts/undergarments –
    • Again, avoid cotton and find lightweight wick away clothing. Read the tag when you head into the fitness section, you would be amazed how many “fitness” clothes are made with terrible fabrics for breathability. Depending on the weather you may need some layers, again check for breathability, because you will be sweating, even in the cold.
  • Hat –
    • If the sun is out you will need a ball cap, if it’s cold you will need a headband. Ladies – Get yourself a ball cap with a ponytail hole, it will change your life. 
  • Water –
    • You’re not cool if you don’t bring water. No really, find what works, a backpack, a hand water bottle, one for your wrist or waist, just please bring water and drink a swig every 10 minutes (drink more if it is unreasonably hot).
  • Watch/phone/GPS –
    • The workout below is based on time, so all you will need is a timer, however I highly recommend to download MapMyRun to track your distance as you go and stay motivated. Any fitness app or watch will work fine.
  • Entertainment –
    • Bring some earphones (bluetooth or wire) and a great playlist or podcast should get you through. You can always just listen to your breath/nature, whatever works for you =)

Step 3: Start Training

Pick any three days of the week and get to work with this 12 week example training plan! I know you can do it! Reach out for a more detailed 5K plan!

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