How To Run A 5K In 8 Easy Steps
This summer I decided that after 10 years of not exercising, it was time to start again. Don’t get me wrong; while I do spend a lot of time on the computer, I also spend a lot of time running around.
Not literally running around, but constantly moving – busy job that’s not tied to a desk, two young kids, townhouse with three flights of steps…you get my drift. That’s a lot of exercise!
Except at my last doctor’s visit, my doctor informed me, “Liza, none of that is exercise; it’s activity.”
I have a number of friends who are runners, and it seems each year I get older, the number grows exponentially. I’m not really sure why, so the only thing I can figure is that it’s relatively inexpensive, and doesn’t require driving to a gym.
Plus, runners all seem obsessed with running. Like they crave it. Right?
So, back in the last week of July, I decided to start running.
But before I started, I polled my runner friends to find out all the things I’d need to know beforehand – because I don’t like surprises, and I also have no time to do due diligence of my own. (A nice mixture of lazy and busy.)
Guess what? On Sunday, September 11th, 2011, I ran my first 5K in 35:48 – not too shabby! My sister-in-law ran it with me (she just had a baby four months ago; how fabulous is she?!), and we snapped before and after shots (I’m in the blue). It was hard – really, really difficult – but we did it. And in a respectable time too. I’m proud of us!
Here are are the 8 easy steps I found worked best for a beginner with a 5K goal:
- Use the Couch to 5K Program – also known as #C25K – and pay for the upgrade on your phone or iPod. I found posting to Facebook at the end of each day was a motivator for me, and also a way for me to stay focused. The whole “people are watching” thing can really keep you going….
- Stick to the C25K program and give yourself the nine weeks to get through it. They’re the experts, people, and even though you may want to skip ahead, don’t. I signed up for my first 5K and only had six of the nine weeks in C25K complete – I finished the 5K, running all but a minute or two, but had I trained for the full nine weeks, I probably would have rocked that first 5K!
- Drink lots of water the day before. I kept getting those pesky side stitches, and one of the reasons was because I wasn’t tanking up with enough H2O the day before I ran. Imagine that!
- Focus on breathing. I had no idea how important breathing would be, and how not breathing correctly would be another cause of those pesky side stitches. Think Lamaze breathing – in through the nose, out through the mouth. Eeeh-eeeh, hooh-hooh. Whatever. It works.
- Buy good running shoes. Like, go to a running store, have someone fit you for running shoes, and buy them. The ones that aren’t on sale. The ones that might cost over $100. Your feet and legs will thank you.
- Buy good running socks that aren’t cotton. Again, your feet will thank you.
- Grab a running buddy. See the first step in regards to motivation and accountability.
- Sign up for a 5K. Best advice given to me out of anything. Without a concrete goal, and $25 invested in a race, chances are you’ll give up. I’m being serious here. Check out Active.com for races near you!
Last Updated on September 15, 2011 by Liza Hawkins
Congratulations! I am a running addict myself…
& the hardest part is getting out the front door. It’s nice to have a running buddy.
🙂 You look great!
@Jamie – Thank you!
Yay! What a great time!! I’m running my first one this Sunday!!!! SCARED!!!!! You are so right about the invested money!!! LOL!
I love running. When I did the couch to 5k program a few years ago, I blogged my entire journey- from that program to a half marathon!,
It was the best experience….I miss running. After that half, I slacked off, got pregnant…had 2 kids…and now I am craving the feeling of pavement under my very cushioned shoes 🙂
@Annie How did your 5K go??
@Erica I remember your running journey! Didn’t realize you made it to the 10K (half-crazy) league. Impressive! Not sure I can get my head there yet, but blogging about it is a good idea.