Running your first 5K is such an amazing feat! If you’re a new runner and this is a goal of yours, we’re here to cheer you on! There are many benefits of running, from helping strengthen your muscles to maintaining a healthy weight, boosting your immunity and improving your cardio. With the right training, you’ll be confident in your running abilities and be able to run your first 5K in no time. We’ve put together tips and a 5K training plan for beginners to help you on your way!
5 Running Tips for Beginners
1. Ease Into Things
It’s human nature to want quick results, but if you’re new to running, you shouldn’t try to run super fast or long in the beginning. Start each run slowly as you warm up and then increase your speed as you get more comfortable. Keep your pace nice and controlled and try not to go too fast or slow. A good rule of thumb is that if you feel like you have so much lung capacity that you could sing while you run, you’re probably going too slow. If you’re huffing and puffing, you’re going too fast. You’re at the right pace if you can comfortably hold a talking conversation.
2. Create a Running Schedule
Create a weekly running schedule to help make running a regular habit. Aim for consistency, rather than speed or distance at first. When you’re starting out, try to run 3 days a week. It’s important to give your body time to recover from every run as it needs time to adapt to this new type of training. And don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day on your schedule. Don’t let it derail you and get back on track with a run.
3. Walk When You Need To
Take walk breaks whenever you need them. They help with muscle fatigue and delay the depletion of your stores of glycogen – your main source of energy when you run. This will allow you to run for a longer time than if you had run continuously. In fact, many new runners start training by combining running with intervals of walking. This will help you build endurance with minimal joint stress.
4. Practice Good Posture
Good posture is very important while you’re running. It allows you to breathe easier, improves endurance and stamina and allows for proper movement of your muscles, joints and ligaments. Keep your posture upright with your head lifted, your back long and tall and your shoulders level but relaxed. Maintain a neutral pelvis and make sure you’re not leaning forward or back at your waist. Pay special attention to ensure you’re not hunched while you run, as rounding your shoulders too far can tighten the chest and restrict breathing.
5. Take Your Rest Days
Rest days are super important for runners of all levels, and especially when you’re just starting out. They give your body and brain a chance to reset and recharge. Rest days are also important so that your muscles have a chance to recover. During training, you create microscopic tears in your muscle tissues and your rest days allow your muscles to heal and grow stronger. If you don’t take rest days, you’re more likely to get an injury, become mentally exhausted and delay your progress.
4 Running Essentials to Invest In
1. Running Shoes
Investing in a good pair of running shoes is a must. They should be running-style shoes, not sneakers/lifestyle runners. Choose a pair of running shoes that fit comfortably and are the right type of shoes for your feet. Consider visiting a specialty running shoe store to get fitted for the best pair for you.
2. Running Cap
If you’re planning to run a 5K, you’ll likely be doing most, if not all, of your training outside. Prepare for those sunny days with an athletic, breathable running cap. This one has an adjustable strap for running and will help you stay cool in the heat.
3. Sports Bra
Having proper running sports bras is also super important. You want your sports bras to be moisture-wicking, supportive and comfortable to support you on your runs. This Champion sports bra has all three, plus odour control so you stay fresh during and after your runs.
4. Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is crucial when you’re doing any type of exercise. As soon as you start to run, you lose water through sweating and start to dehydrate. Invest in a water bottle to ensure you hydrate before and after your training. If you’re running on a super hot day, you may want to bring water with you on your run as well.
5K Training Plan for Beginners
Run: 3 Days Per Week
Aim to run three days a week doing a run-walk combo, where you alternate between running and walking. Consider investing in a watch with a timer or stopwatch feature as it will really come in handy for intervals. The ‘Couch to 5K plan’ was coined by runner Josh Clark in the 1990s as he wanted to get his mom off the couch. The plan gradually eases you into running and helps you get to 5K in 9 to 12 weeks. Check out this post by Run with Caroline that shows you exactly how to incorporate the ‘Couch to 5K plan’ week by week to get to your first 5K in 10 weeks!
Cross Train: 2 Days Per Week
You’ll cross train two days a week during this 5k training plan. Cross training is incorporating workouts that are not running, such as biking, yoga and strength training into your routine. These workouts are complementary to, and will benefit, your running by improving your muscular and cardio endurance, strengthening your body, reducing your risk of overuse injury and providing a physical and mental break from running.
Rest: 2 Days Per Week
During this plan, you’ll take two days a week completely off of working out to rest and recover. Don’t skip your break days as your body needs them to prepare for your next workouts.
Using the above framework, a typically week training for 5K would look like:
Tuesday: Cross train/rest
Thursday: Cross train/rest
Friday: Cross train/rest
Sunday: Cross train/rest
There you have it! Everything you need to know to get started with running and work your way to your first 5K!
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