Running a 5K is not as hard as you might think! It may take a lot of time and work to get in shape to run a 5K, but it's a goal that anyone can attain if they're willing to put in the effort. Worried you're not in 5K shape yet? Don't worry! Follow these tips and run that 5K in no time:
1. One Block at a Time
Get on Google Maps and lay out a route that is exactly 5K long, starting and finishing at home. Learn the route, and learn the distances between each city block. Start out by jogging one block, then walk a block, alternating until you reach your goal. The next day, jog two blocks, walk one. Continue until you're jogging for five minutes before taking a 30 to 60-second break. Keep working at it, running until you don't need breaks. The average 5K run will require about 25 to 35 minutes of jogging/running, so work on your endurance one block at a time!
2. Train Your Legs
Want to increase both your run speed and your muscular endurance? Spend time training your legs -- your calves, hips, quads, hamstrings, and shins. Do weight training exercises with light weight and lots of reps (20 to 25 per set) to build up your endurance. The stronger your legs, the easier they will carry you through the race without tiring!
3. Add Hills
If you're running a 5K, it's highly likely that you'll be faced with both up and down-hills. If you've never tackled hills, you'll be unprepared for the race. Make sure to add hills to your daily running route. Get used to tackling the uphills more slowly, as well as trying to slow your pace for the downhills.
4. Learn Your Pace
There's no way that you can full-on sprint for 5 kilometers, and you're going to tire very quickly if you pick up the pace too much. It will take a few weeks of daily jogging to learn your pace -- the signs you're tiring, getting over that initial fatigue, using your second wind, etc. As you train, listen to your body and learn to watch for those indicators. You can learn when you'll be tired and when you can pick up that pace a bit more.
5. Keep it Slow and Steady
Don't run too fast! This will lead to your getting tired far too early in the race. Keep your pace moderate for the first 10 minutes, as that will help get your body accustomed to burning energy. Once you get over that initial fatigue, you can pick up the pace a bit. Settle into the breathing rhythm, let your body adjust to the pounding of your run, and keep the pace as steady as possible.
6. Finish Hard Every Time
Want to get that runner's high? Take that last 50 yards as fast as you can and cross the finish line at a dead run. It sounds impossible considering you've been running for half an hour, but that final burst of energy will be a "high" that will make the race absolutely worth it!
Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise -- he does so six days a week -- and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.