You are thinking about running your first 5K, but you’re not a runner. You don’t even like running, but you’ve read some articles about running, a few of your friends are trying to nudge you to sign up for this local 5k and it seems like an attainable goal.

But where do  you start? Here are some good ideas to get you going, so not to make this such a scary endeavor.

You Don’t Have to Run the Whole Thing

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. If you’re just getting into running and are hard pressed to go down the block without feeling winded, then you may want to start with just a walk-run combo, or maybe even walking. Before you even start trying to run any distance, see how long you can walk without teetering. Let’s say you can go 5 minutes walking without feeling exhausted. A simple way to build up your endurance is by adding 1 minute to your walk (or walk/run) each week.

Get Out there 3x Per Week

To feel ready for the 5K you are going to participate in, I would suggest building up to at least walking/running 3x per week. I would suggest getting out every other day, rather than walking/running 3 days in a row, in order for your body to adapt to your new fitness routine.

Don’t Worry About Miles – Worry About Minutes

When you start out, it may seem daunting to even think you can complete 3.1 miles without dropping dead – so don’t. Instead, think about walking/running a little longer than the prior week. Think of it this way, a slow walk is about an 17-20 min/mile; a brisk walk can be anywhere from 14-16 min/mile; and a run/walk combo can range from 11-13 min/mile for most people. That being stated, you are looking to be able to continue walking/running anywhere from 34-60 minutes, if you want to finish the 5K.

Give Yourself Time to Train

Don’t set yourself up for failure. Except where you are and embrace it – don’t run away from it (pun intended). If you can really only go 5 minutes walking without feeling light headed, then it may take 6 months before you feel good about trying to complete a 5k. On the other hand, if you can go 20-minutes walking/running right from the get-go, then you may need only  2-3 months of training before you can complete a 5K. While it’s good to set goals for yourself, just make sure they are realistic ones for you and not ones placed upon you by friends and family, who may mean well, but are not taking into consideration you uncertainty and stress in getting ready for a race that you’ve never done before.

Find a Running Group, If Possible.

I know, you feel like everyone is going to be faster than you or they will all be uber-serious runners; but, believe me, that won’t be the case for 99% of the running groups out there. Runners, on the whole, are very welcoming, understanding and supportive people. We all know what it takes to get out there on the roads, and the last thing we are going to do is look down at a newbie. When starting out on this running journey, it’s good to have people around to help you navigate your way and joining a running groups can do that for you.

Believe in Yourself

Millions of people have run/walked 5Ks, so why not you? Yes, there will be some discipline that will need to occur for you to accomplish this goal, but you can handle it! Don’t worry about how fast you can run/walk the 5K – the first and ONLY goal should be to finish the 5K. Don’t think about where you need to get to, but think about how you have improved since yesterday or last week. Walking/running 1-minute longer is 1-minute closer to completing this goal. Keep adding minutes and before you know it, you will have completed that 5K – good luck! Actually, luck will have nothing to do with it because you are going to put in the work need to do this! Rock on!

See you on the roads!

Always consult a physician before doing any physical activity, especially if you are uncertain of your physical fitness level or are unsure of the physical exertion you personally can handle.

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