Running 3.1 miles can seem like an impossible feat, especially if you don’t usually run long distances. But it doesn’t have to be! No matter how long you’ve been running, or even if you haven’t started yet, running a 5k is completely within your grasp, and can even be a lot of fun. Keep these five tips in mind as you train for your first 5k:
1. Set reasonable goals
As much as we might like it to, being able to run a 5k is not something that will happen overnight. Instead of trying to run the whole distance immediately, work your way up to it. Start by challenging yourself to run (or even walk) short, easily accomplishable distances, then gradually work to increase your distance and speed.
2. Get a running partner
It can be easy to get discouraged or lose motivation during training, especially if you run alone. Having someone by your side can make a big difference. Get a running partner to support you, encourage you, and keep you accountable on the days you’d rather stay home and watch TV.
3. Make sure you have the right gear
When you run longer distances, it’s important to have quality running gear that fits well and can stand up to the wear and tear of your training routine. Poor quality gear will wear out quickly, and improperly fitted gear can set back your progress by causing blisters, muscle strain, or more serious injuries.
4. Don’t over-train
There’s no need to run every single day. In fact, doing so increases your risk of injury. Your body needs time between runs to rest and recover, so find a balance between running and relaxing. Most professionals suggest running three days a week and using the remaining time to rest or perform other exercises such as stretching or weight training.
5. Keep things new and interesting
To avoid getting bored or falling into a predictable routine, switch things up by running along a different route. Taking in new scenery can distract you from focusing on how tired you are or how far you have left to run. Creating a motivational playlist or downloading a new podcast will also give you something to look forward to while you train.
Training for a 5k is a great way to increase your stamina and expand your running horizons, no matter what your level of fitness is. So, grab your Run Forever Sports gear, lace up your running shoes, and start training today!
Rebekah Glupker contributed to this story.