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1.Choose a training plan
There is no shortage of running training plans on the internet.
Pro tip: If you don’t feel ready to progress to the next workout, repeating a training run is a great option before moving on.
2. Invest in a pair of running shoes
One of the best things about running is all you need is a decent pair of shoes to get started. Those old tennis shoes in the back of your closet will definitely work to get you out the door, but we advise investing in a new pair of running shoes before starting your training plan, if you can. In addition to being more comfortable, a new pair will provide you with the stability you need to prevent injury during your training. We’ll provide some tips for choosing the right pair in a later post!
Pro tip: You can save a few dollars by purchasing the previous years’ models of your favorite running shoe.
3. Be consistent
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to make running easier. The “secret” to becoming a better runner is to run- and to do it consistently. 5K training is a “you get out of it what you put into it” experience. If you commit to following your training plan you will most definitely see improvement!
Pro tip: Make a “running” appointment with yourself in your calendar on your phone that repeats for 8 weeks and set an alarm reminder to keep yourself on track.
4. Don’t worry about Speed
If this is your first 5K, the focus of your training plan will be on building endurance, not speed. Your workouts will be specially designed to help you build an aerobic base, which includes increasing your cardio endurance, lung capacity, and strengthening your muscles. Focus on endurance first, speed will follow.
Pro-tip: Your training runs should be done at a conversational pace. That means you should be running slow enough to have a conversation with a friend or sing along to a song on your playlist.
5. Find a training buddy
Training with a friend or family member is a great way to stay accountable. Getting out of bed for an early morning run is a little bit easier when you know that there is someone waiting for you. An added benefit- miles go by much more quickly when you are chatting with a friend!
Pro tip: If you find yourself without a training partner, many cities have local running groups that cater to all skill levels. Team Playmakers is a local option for new and veteran runners!
6. Stay committed
Let’s face it, if you’ve committed to 8 weeks of training you’re not going to be excited about every run. Life responsibilities will come up, the weather may not be ideal, and at some point your motivation is going to wane. This is the time to dial in and remind yourself why you chose this race. Use that as fuel to keep you going.
Pro tip: Print out and hang your training calendar in a prominent location at work or home. Every time you complete a training run, add a sticker or mark an X on the date. Seeing your completed runs accumulate over time is a great motivator to see your goal to the end.
7. Prioritize rest days
Rest days are an essential part of your training plan. Recovery helps prevent injuries like stress fractures and aids in muscle repair. It also allows you to recharge mentally and prevents training burnout.
Pro tip: In addition to foam rolling, an epsom salt bath is a cheap and effective treatment for sore muscles. Epsom salt is made from magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium is known to increase relaxation and reduce inflammation.
8. Create an awesome race playlist
Music can be a powerful tool to help you get through a tough training run or race. Choose songs with a driving beat to match your cadence or ones that energize and uplift you for a final push in the end. Be on the lookout for an Ele’s Race playlist to get you hyped for race day!
Pro tip: Find your “Power Song,” the one song that never fails to make you smile or run faster and save it toward the end of your playlist. Queue that song to play in the last mile of your race. It is guaranteed to give you a second wind to the finish!
9. Don’t worry about coming in last
Completing 3.1 miles is a triumph, whether you finish first or last. Your primary goal for your first 5K is to finish. Use that first finish time as your baseline for future 5Ks (because believe us, there will be more!). And remember, you not only had the courage to start, you also had the courage to finish. That is something to celebrate!
Pro tip: Take a photo and post about it on social media! It’s okay to be proud of something you have worked hard for. You never know who you are inspiring in the process!