How to Tackle a 5K

The weather’s getting warmer, and you’re thinking about tackling your first 5K — congratulations! This is a great way to get your toes wet and an easy way to include your family for exercise. A 5K is 3.1 miles long, which is doable for almost everyone!

Here are a few tips for getting started and setting yourself up for success:

1. Register for a race that best matches your training grounds. Pick a race with a course similar to what you’ll be training on. If your neighborhood is mostly flat, or if you run on a treadmill without incline, be sure to find a race with a relatively flat course. Surprise — hills aren’t fun if you haven’t been training on hills!

2. Choose the right gear. Having the correct gear can make a world of difference. Take time and visit a running store to have your gait analyzed so that you can get shoes that meet your needs and provide the right support and cushion. This will help prevent injuries on the back end.  Also, be sure that your clothing is appropriate for perspiration and climate.

3. Research a training program. If you’ve never run a race before, do some research and find an easy program that starts out by running and walking, then gradually work your way up to jogging or running the entire distance. Also, give yourself two to three months with two to three weekly runs so that you can work up to 3.1 miles of jogging or running.

4. Prepare your body. Be sure to stretch, hydrate and get the proper amount of sleep and nutrition as you begin your training.

5. Get inspired! Find a partner to help keep you accountable, and put together a great playlist to keep you motivated. Good luck!