Hit the Ground Running: Get from Couch to 5k This New Year

Learn how to prep for a race in the new year.

Think you can’t run a 5k? Think again. These short races are perfect for beginners, and with the right training, you can ramp up slowly and gently. Give yourself plenty of time and be ready to stick to your training habits. You’ll be crossing the finishing line before you know it.

Set a Specific Goal
Choose a race a few months in the future. When you have a specific race in mind, it will help keep you motivated and it won’t give you any wiggle room to put off training sessions. Go ahead and register for it so you can’t back out.

Use a Buddy System
Get support as you train for your first race. If you don’t have a training buddy to actually run with you, ask friends and family to track your progress and cheer you on. Try posting to your favorite social network or using a website like Daily Mile to share your progress with your friends.

Don’t Worry About Walking
When you’re just getting started, you’ll end up walking more than you run. This is perfectly okay. Set intervals such as two minutes running and five minutes walking at first. When you run, run slowly and gently. A 5k is a race, but your goal is to finish it, not win it.

Increase Distance Slowly
Don’t run 5k on your first training session. Start with half a mile, and then a mile, increasing slowly as your body gets used to the distances. Give yourself a day off between your longer, harder runs. It’s important to recover and get used to workouts before you make them harder. Track your runs with these Tools To Keep You Active.

Wear Good Shoes
Don’t skimp on footwear. Visit a running store to be fitted specifically for running shoes. Everyone has different types of feet and different ways of running. An expert can help you find shoes that support your knees and back as you run.

Ready to start training? Visit our online health library to learn more about fitness. You can also call our free Consult-a-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 to ask any questions or to request a physician referral.

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