Train For Running Your First 5K

Running a marathon is a great way to add interest to your exercise program. If you are considering taking on your first marathon, a 5K run is the perfect choice. These marathons are fun and provide not only exercise but an opportunity to run with your friends or make some new ones. It's always easier to get out and run when you have a group or even just one companion to accompany you. It is important to properly train for running a 5K marathon, which is actually a 3.1 mile run. Don't be intimidated by the distance, it is indeed the perfect length for a beginner. Here are some great tips to help you take the steps needed to prepare for your first 5K run.



Purchase Quality Athletic Shoes



What shoes to wear is probably the most important thing to consider when you train for running a 5K. It is best to go to a store that specializes in running shoes. Have your feet measured by a trained professional so you can get the best shoes to match your foot type and running style. You’ll need arch support that aligns perfectly with the arches of your feet. You need shoes that are not too bulky or heavy. The quality of your running shoes is just as important as finding the proper fit. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for running shoes. Quality footwear will help prevent injury as you train for running and during the 5K run itself. Don’t even think about running in old worn-out shoes; it’s not worth the risk of twisting your ankle or injuring your knees. Buy new running shoes and plan to replace them at about every 400 miles of use.



Set Up a Training Schedule



You should give yourself at least two months to train for your 5K. Keep in mind that the longer you train for running the better the outcome will be. It’s never too early to start training. If you know about the marathon 6 months in advance, then go ahead and start training. Take the time to set up a training schedule that you can realistically stick with and begin right away. Since this will be your first race make sure you start out slowly in your training sessions. During the first week spend about 15 minutes each day jogging at a slow pace. The following week pick up your pace. On the third week, keep the increased pace and add about 10 mintutes to your practice sessons. Gradually building your speed and endurance is a great way to train for a 5K run. This method will help keep you motivated and prevent you from injuring yourself by taking on too much too soon.  In addition to the running practice, include cross training sessions in your weekly routine. Try swimming, yoga or cycling to help build your overall fitness. Strengthen your leg muscles by doing jumping jacks or leg lifts. Some people find it beneficial to alternate days they train for running with other fitness activities.This breaks up the routine making you less likely to become bored with training. It also gives your running muscles a chance to recover between sessions.



Maintain a Healthy Diet and Stay Hydrated



It will be harder for you to train for running if your body is not well hydrated or getting the energy it needs through nutritious foods. Whole grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables should make up about 60% of your calorie intake. Be sure to get a sufficient amount of protein to keep up your energy.  Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, beans and low-fat dairy products. You need to replenish electrolytes when running so try having sports drinks after each training session. Increase your water intake to keep yourself well hydrated. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses a day depending on your weight and perspiration.



Remember to Rest



When you train for running don't become overwhelmed with exercise, take the time for rest.  Giving your body time to rest and recover is just as important as training to run.  By getting the proper rest your body can keep up with your training schedule and you will prevent injuries and fatique.  Be sure to rest well and eat properly the day before your 5K run.  Once you've done your training and made it to the day of your first 5K, have fun and enjoy the feeling of your accomplishment!



5K Run Considerations



Before training for your first 5K run, talk to your doctor to make sure it is safe based on your health and fitness level. If you are overweight, have an existing health condition, or are taking medication it is advisable that you receive a medical checkup. If you definitely decide to challenge yourself to a 5K run, consider hiring a personal trainer to work with you during the training sessions, or at the least find a running buddy to tag along while you practice.

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