I love 5k’s. They tend to be less serious than half or full marathons. That is, unless you just can’t snap out of the competitive zone then, which in that case maybe it’s time to lighten up a bit.
The last 5k that I ran was on Thanksgiving morning this past year, and it was so much fun! The energy in the air is so light and fun. You can always tell the super serious folks too. You know who I mean. For instance, this past year, It was literally 29 degrees on the morning of the Thanksgiving 5k. I’m about to freeze.
Some dude strolls past in shorts, no sleeved shirt, and just little arm wraps on his fore arms like it’s a balmy 72 degrees outside. I’m like dude, no. Just get up there with the 18 minute finishers and leave us fun folks back here.
Anyhow, there were some people dressed up as turkeys, etc. It was a lot of fun doing a race for the United Way.
Let’s start with the don’ts!
- DON’T walk out the door and just start running down the road as fast as you can. This works for no-one and that includes Usain Bolt the fastest man alive. If you do this, you will hate yourself, hate running and life in general and that just isn’t good, so let’s take things in bites shall we? Okay great! This leads me into my next point.
- DON’T start training without a plan and schedule in place. However, be aware of generic training plans because you want to make sure that it lines up with your fitness level. As a general rule of thumb for those that are just picking up running, you want a nice balance of walking and running and work your way up to running the three miles without stopping if that is your goal. I am a running coach and I offer customized training plans for all levels.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Its a pointless game that I used to play and one day I had to be brutally honest with myself when I realized that I never won playing that game. Running isn’t about winning, it’s about challenging yourself. It’s about taking your fitness to the next level and having some real me time. Some of my best me time is early morning as the sun is coming up and I can hear my feet hitting that pavement.
Now for the DO’S!
- DO this is my number one DO for every single training. Make sure your running shoes are in good shape. If they are worn out from training for your 5k, then grab another pair. Rule of thumb on shoes is 300-400 miles which sounds like a lot but miles add up quickly! I used to wear a certain brand of shoes and swore by them. While that company is still great, I now swear by a different pair. It’s because the sturdiness is better in these shoes and the cushion of these shoes it absolutely out of this world. You’re a runner and I’m willing to place a good bet that you’re in the gym too. The Reebok Harmony Roads not only make good running shoes, they can double for gym shoes as well.
- DO find a support system. Support systems could mean having a running buddy or it could mean finding a running club and training with them. Yes, there are such things as running clubs and they are great communities of people! Running communities are so supportive and a lot of times, local races will have training groups that are run by running coaches like myself. So, whichever race you choose, look to see if they have a training group to get ready for the race!
- DO set a goal for yourself and think outside the box when it comes to your goal. Here’s what I mean; since this is your first 5k, I suggest making your goal not about a finishing time because you don’t have anything to base it against. Try a goal like, I want to run 2 of the 3 miles or run the full way. Once you have completed this 5k, you will have an ‘official’ time you can work off of! Which you can then use that time to run your next race!
- DO have fun. This process is not only a fun process, it is extremely rewarding. So what if you don’t “get it right” the first time? What does that even mean anyway? You’re getting it right because you’re doing something for yourself and you’re pushing yourself past your limits!
Are you excited to run?
Time to hit the road!
But before you head out that door to chase dreams and accomplish your goals. I want you to remember something. I’ve had girls say to me “oh it’s just a 5k” to which I reply, oh it’s only three plus miles on your feet running as quickly as you can.
What I mean is, don’t let someone else’s misunderstanding of your dreams of running 5k’s and beyond cause you to shrink back and not get after them. What do they know anyway? They’re your dreams. You’re in charge of them.
So go get ’em!
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