Regardless of your current fitness levels, running 5k is genuinely achievable for just anyone. If you’ve been doing a bit of jogging but are thinking about entering an event to give you focus, then a 5k could be just the ticket.
This guide to running a 5k event includes tips on:
- Kick-staring your 5K training
- 5K training tips
- Safe training protocols
Start Training Early
Starting completely from scratch to train for a 5k does require plenty of preparation, so start early. Everyone is at a different level of fitness, and your own rate of progression for your training will vary depending on your age, gender, current and previous fitness levels, and available training time.
Exactly how long it will take you train is outlined below:
If you're a newcomer to running or exercise - the longer you train the better, but a period of three months running-specific training is essential.
If you're already running or involved in cardiovascular exercise - less than three months' may be required, but the longer your lead-in-period, the better your performance will be. Training for more than three months should be done if you are looking to record a 'personal best' on race day.
Before you start
Before you start your training, take some time to make a few safety considerations. Complete the safety checklist below. If you answer 'YES' to one or more questions, then make an appointment with your GP for a check-up before beginning your training.
Health status safety checklist
|1, Are you aged over 30 and/or have not exercised for some time?||Y/N|
|2, Do you suffer from any medical conditions?||Y/N|
|3, Are you a smoker or have recently given up smoking?||Y/N|
|4, Have you undergone any surgery in the past two years?||Y/N|
|5, Are you suffering from any injuries?||Y/N|
|6, Are you currently on any prescribed medication?||Y/N|
|7, Are you unsure about beginning an exercise programme?||Y/N|
Once you have been checked out by your doctor or are already confident that you are sufficiently healthy, you’ll be ready to get started.
What running kit do I need?
Running is an easy sport to get started in because the amount of kit required is minimal. Shorts, socks, t-shirts and/or sweatshirts, which you may already own, are pretty much all you need to get started. However, one area where you need to make a little investment is in your running shoes. Good training shoes are worth spending that little extra on, so that you have maximum running comfort and training shoes that will help you go some way to avoiding running injury. Visit a specialist shoe retailer so that you are properly assessed and make the right purchase for your particular gait and training requirements.
First steps towards training
If you’ve never been out jogging or running before, or exercise was quite possibly something you last did at school, then you will need to ease yourself into training. The body takes time to adjust to training, so don't overdo it and allow plenty of time for rest and for your body to adapt. Your aim in training is to gradually build up so that you are able to run comfortably non-stop at least 80% of the race distance (2½ miles) in training.
Progression in your running
If you’re already doing some regular aerobic exercise (including walking, jogging, running, swimming, rowing, cycling, and exercise classes) then you are possibly going to have a good degree of fitness already and will progress faster. Despite this, make sure you fit in rest days in your training and build up gradually. the aim of covering 80% of the race distance non-stop in training should be your minimum target, but if you are able to go further then you will be better prepared come race day.
Fuelling your training
Fuelling your run training is as important as the training itself. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your fluid levels topped up, and make sure you carry a lightweight drinks bottle when running on hot days. For energy, focus on slow release energy foods such as pasta and rice, which will ensure you don’t run out of energy part way through a training run.
5k success is achievable…
Training for and completing a 5k event is a great goal to have and is very much achievable. And as well as reaching your target goal, there's the improved general fitness and weight loss for you too. So, why not get training for a 5k today?