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Training for a 5K race

I have done many 5k's, 10k's, and even a triathlon so running is a big pleasure of mine. Training for a 5k takes a lot of work and a decent amount of time to build up to unless you are already a long distance runner. Also, if you have any health problems, I would suggest seeing your doctor before starting your training on route to running a 5k.

The amount of training you will have to do and the amount of build up needed to run a 5K depends a lot on your current level of fitness. For example, a person who regularly runs a mile or two will have a much easier time than someone who doesn't run at all. If you are someone who can run a mile or two, you won't have too much work to do.

Lets start with someone who is already at the point in which they can run a mile or two. Like I said before, you won't have too much trouble building up to that 3.1 mile mark. The key for you will be consistent improvement. I would suggest a work out program that involves running 3 times a week. If you are currently at a mile, start with that. I would suggest working your way up a quarter mile to a half mile at a time. As you run more and more, milage increase will be easier for you. So, it is ok if you find yourself only increasing a quarter mile a week for the first few weeks. Also, try to improve on your times at the same distance as you go. Try to make your third time running 2.5 miles a little bit faster than the first time you ran it. Try to give yourself enough time to build up to about 3.5 or 4 miles miles before race day. This is the ideal case, however, we all know that the ideal case rarely happens. So if you plan on getting up to 4 miles, it will be more realistic to get to 3.5 or the 3.1 mark.

If you are someone who is unfamiliar to running and have trouble running any distances, try to start off with intermittent running and walking. As you continue to train, try to find yourself doing more of the running and less of the walking. You should try to set running a full mile as your first milestone. After you are able to get to the mile, stick with this a few weeks and just try to improve your times. From here you should go along the path above in which you try to increase your distances a quarter mile or so per week up to the point where you can run 3.5 to 4 miles. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to build up to this point. It may take you 6 months or more to get to your goal, but when you cross the finish line it will all be worth it. You will feel great because you completed your goal and you will have more energy due to the level of fitness you have achieved.

Here are a few more general pointers:

  • Consistency is key: Getting out there and running multiple times a week is the biggest part of getting up to a 5k.
  • If you don't have the time to run, try to do some other type of exercise such as a bike or an elliptical.
  • If you can, try to run on a track once or so a week to help the amount of stress on your joints.
  • Drink Plenty of water every day.
  • If you feel any pains that are the normal pains of running (sore muscles, getting winded, etc are ok) then STOP! Trying to fight threw a bad pain will only make the injury worse.
  • Make sure to stretch out before and AFTER every run. This will help prevent injuries and increase your flexibility.
  • If you have the time, try to add in some type of strength and muscle toning into your fitness routine. Doing some basic exercises such as lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, and squats may help take some of the pressure off of your joints. Make sure to keep the wait low or use no wait if you are not familiar with lunges or squats.

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