Walking to 5K

Training for fun runs

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The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The same is true for your first 5k. If you’re used to a more sedentary lifestyle, it may not be easy to go from “couch to 5k,” but it will definitely be worth it. Here are our tips for making the journey as enjoyable and beneficial as possible.

Ask your doctor: Be sure your plans are doctor-approved. He or she may have specific advice and guidance based on your health history, so don’t forget to check in before starting anything new.

Start smart: Attempting to run 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles before you’re used to even walking 5 kilometers is setting yourself up for failure. Start by walking a kilometer every day. Slowly incorporate short periods of running while increasing your distance.

Think about the weather. It is more difficult to run when it’s extremely hot and humid. Be safe and go for a run during the cooler parts of the day.

Work backwards and set goals: When you’ve identified which 5k you’re going to attempt, determine your training schedule by working backwards from the day of the race. Give yourself as much time as possible to train, and set goals for along the way. If the 5k is too far in the future to imagine, break down your goals for when you want to be at certain points—e.g., being able to run 2.5 kilometers in X number of weeks, etc.

Leave in recovery days: When making your training schedule, be sure to be honest with yourself. You probably won’t be able to work out every day, plus your body needs to recover. Make sure you have days here and there to just rest.

Keep it up: After you’ve successfully completed your first 5k, don’t let all your hard work go to waste by reverting to old habits. Incorporate running into your lifestyle and be in excellent shape for the next race.

While you may not be feeling the “fun” in fun run (at least not right away), training for your first 5k will pay off richly in feelings of accomplishment, the famous “runner’s high,” and a healthier body and spirit.