Making the decision to get fit and spend more time working out is an admirable one, as you are dedicating yourself to becoming healthier and happier. Getting into exercise for the first time – or getting back into it after you’ve been away for a while – can be challenging, but setting a goal is a great way to stay focused and help you succeed.
For people who want to take up running, training for a 5K is a great finish line to aim for, and the training will be a challenge, but is something that almost anyone can do.
A 5K race is 3.1 miles, which might sound like a lot at the start, but by the time you finish your training program, it should be much more manageable. The good news is that training doesn’t have to take up all of your time, which is important if you’re a full-time worker or busy new mom.
What steps should you take to train for a 5K?
First, you need to determine how much time you can devote to training. A good timeline is about one-and-a-half to two months, so you have plenty of time to work your way up to running the full length of the race. This allows you to create a schedule that’s a mix of walking and running leading up the race day.
Warm up your muscles
It’s always important to warm up before you begin your workout, so spend at least five minutes heating up your muscles with dynamic stretches with continuous movements and some body-weight squats or lunges to get your heart rate up and get you mentally prepared.
Walking vs. running
At the beginning of your program, you should start with walks a few times a week, and once you feel comfortable you can switch to intervals. During this phase, you should start with longer walking intervals and shorter running intervals, but this will gradually switch over as you start to run more frequently during your session.
As intervals become less challenging, you can progress to full runs during each workout, starting with a shorter distance and gradually running farther until you reach 3.1 miles.
Keep in mind that it’s always better to stay slow and steady and gradually increase speed and distance because doing too much too soon can result in an injury.
It’s also important to always take the time to cool down after a workout session, so be sure to stretch your muscles and give yourself time to return to your normal resting heart rate.
Throughout your training program, chances are you’ll experience sore muscles and knots. As part of your athletic recovery, you can use self-massage for plantar fasciitis relief and to work out any aches in your legs and back.