I never set out to be a runner, it just kind of happened. I wanted to run my first 5K, then a 10K, then I thought I could never run a half marathon…but I did. Then I thought I could never run a marathon…but I did! So, it should come to no surprise I am constantly begging my friends to try their first 5K.
With the New Year here, people are discussing New Year resolutions. Health and fitness goals are extremely common when people think about what they want to change in the New Year. And let me tell you: adding “run my first 5k” to that list is the best thing you can do!
I know for a “non-runner” thinking about lacing up your shoes for 3.1 miles can seem like a big feat, and it is, but I have a few tips/tricks to help you on your way!
How to Train for Your First 5K
1) Set a Fabulous and Fun Goal Race
This seems obvious, but this is the most fun part of the process. Find a FUN 5K to look forward to! Find a theme that you love (Hot Chocolate, anyone?) or even a Color Run! There are races like the Hotcake Hustle where you get pancakes at the finish line, you can Dash for the Beads with a Mardi Gras theme, run a race for the beer with Shannon Brewing Co, or rock out at the Rock n Roll Marathon Series 5K! If you have a really fun goal on the horizon it makes the training a little more exciting!
2) You Don’t Have to RUN the Entire Time
Seriously. Miles are miles whether it takes you seven minutes or 14 minutes. We all cross that same finish line. One of the most common training plans for beginners is the Couch-to-5K program. You can find endless apps that go with this basic plan. Run a little, walk a little, and eventually you’ll run a lot and finish your first 5K!
You will also find a lot of folks who swear by the Galloway Method (myself included). Jeff Galloway is an Olympian who has perfected the run/walk/run method for races. Unfortunately for us slower runners, typically there is a stigma attached to the run-walk method. Newer runners gearing up for their first race can feel that “real runners” will look down on them if they aren’t running the entire course. I can’t tell you how incorrect this is, which leads me to my next point…
3) The Running Community is the BEST
I have found the best friends in the world through running. Runners are the most supportive and uplifting people, and we all have the same goals—we just have different ways to get there!
You can find different running groups on Facebook where you can connect with runners all over the world…or you can find a local running club to meet up with runners in Collin County to go run together! The best place to find a local club would be at a running store like TriShop or RunOn!
4) Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
There are approximately seven billion different training plans on the Internet that will get you off the couch and on the way to your first 5K. Ok, I may be slightly exaggerating. Take a look and pick a plan that fits into your already-hectic schedule. The key is to find something you like, keep it interesting, and pick one you can mostly stick to.
Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a run. The key is to keep it fun so you don’t dread it. If you aren’t having fun, then what is the point? Missed runs will happen, don’t beat yourself up, and just keep your eye on the prize!
5) Unleash Your Inner Runner
For me, it turned out that the combination of a really fun race to look forward to, a really good group of friends to keep me accountable and run with, and a fun and interesting training schedule was the perfect combination to unleash my inner runner. Once you make the commitment to train and accomplish a goal, YOU are a runner, no matter how fast or how slow. A three-hour marathon and a seven-hour marathon are both 26.2 miles! Stick that race-distance bumper sticker on your minivan. Wear that “Mother Runner” tank top you found on Etsy. You earned it!
I really hope that these tips help push you over the edge to make the commitment to run a race in 2018. Running in the USA is a great website where you can find local races to participate in. I’ll be all over the place this year running all sorts of races! If you see me, be sure to say hello!