5 Important Steps to Take in Preparing for a 5K Run

Preparing for a 5K run is no small matter, especially if jogging already seems like a major task!

Yet, a 5K (3.125 mile) run is not only for the experienced runner. It’s a good place to start even if you haven’t run an event like this before. All it takes is planning, time and commitment.

Here are five important steps to take before you embark on your very first 5K run:

1. Ask the Doc:

Getting medical approval is the first important step before preparing for a 5K run. Getting the green light from your physician ensures that you are physically and medically capable of handling the task at hand. Do you have special medical needs? Are there medical conditions that might prevent you from completing your training safely? ALWAYS check with your doctor first. And while you’re at the doctor’s office, also inquire about the proper diet you will have to adopt while preparing for the run. Remember, your doctor’s approval is vital.

2. Where’s your starting point?

After getting your doctor’s approval, it’s time to find out what your basic level of fitness is. This will help you better plan your strategy in training for the run. With your watch/timer handy, head to the gym or a running track. One the first day, time yourself running the full 5K. (This becomes your ‘base time’.) Don’t worry if you can’t complete it. It is important to remember that your progress will be gradual. Hang on to your commitment!

3. Setting realistic goals

Your success begins with setting realistic, achievable goals. With the base time you clocked on the first trial run, your goal is to beat that time. Don’t push yourself TOO hard the first few times you run. Aim to complete the same distance, but with a faster time. Then aim to complete MORE of a distance, always keeping track of how much time you took to run it. Reward yourself when you reach these self-set goals. But not with cookies.

4. Put it on the calendar

Remember, you have a life – and it involves work, family, and commitments outside of your training.

Get out your calendar and assign times for training, whether it is on a track at the gym, or at home. Your decision as to how often you’ll train will be dependent on your personal schedule, your access to a gym or track, your fitness level – and of course, how close the 5K run is. Take these into account, and you’ll find that training for the run will rewarding, and not stressful. Above all, stick to a running/training schedule. You’ll be thankful for this consistency.

5. Give it a rest

It’s 24 hours before the race. Give yourself a rest. Don’t train. Your body needs a chance to recover from the previous day’s training. It also needs to store up energy for the run that is tomorrow. Hydrate yourself with water and certainly stay away from caffeine. Assure yourself with a good 8-hours of sleep. It’s your big day tomorrow.

It’s 5K time

Finally, it’s the day of the race. Your preparation and commitment will pay off today. Enjoy the social event – and remember, you’re not alone. You run with other individuals who have worked equally hard to prepare for the run. Enjoy the experience!

Adam Keyes is a contributing writer to AviatorFlightFest.com, a website dedicated to promoting the Aviator Flight Fest & 5K Run/Walk event – a fundraiser for the Sycamore Junior High athletics program. For more information about this event, please visit www.aviatorflightfest.com

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