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Get Set to Run a 5KM Race! Top 5 Action Steps

What To Do Before Your First 5K

You have decided to run a 5KM race! Congratulations! Setting a goal such as this has numerous benefits.

  • First, marking the race on your calendar is a great way to stay motivated; as the date creeps closer, you will be less likely to skip workouts.
  • Second, taking part in a shared community event like a 5KM race is a wonderful way to feel connected and boost your confidence.

Many 5KM races are charity fundraisers, so it’s also a perfect way to give back to your community. If you are not a runner, this goal may seem a bit daunting.

Give yourself at least six months of training, and follow the suggestions here to ensure your race day is nothing short of brilliant. 


Step One

  • Do your research, and find the right race.
  • Choose one that is relatively local to keep costs down and so that you can practice running the course.
  • Register early as many races offer a lower rate for early registrants.
  • Get a decent pair of running shoes; go to a shoe store where the staff is seasoned runners.

A great running shoe will not require any “break-in” time and should fit great right away.

  • Consider your foot structure and whether or not you may benefit from a quality orthotic.


Step Two

  • Formulate your training plan.

Your training will depend on your current fitness level and whether you are already a casual runner. There is a wealth of 5KM plans available online, so do your research and find one that fits your current fitness level.

  • Begin with an introductory walking routine, which increases in distance every few days.
  • Then, implement a walk that is interspersed with a bit of running, say, five minutes of walking, then 5 minutes of running.
  • Gradually increase the length of the running segments and the total distance you are going.
You will be surprised at how quickly your endurance builds and how soon you are running more than walking! 


Step Three

It will not be helpful to your goal if you ignore pain; doing so may result in a severe injury that will require you to skip or postpone your race.


Step Four

  • Continue to complete your strength training workouts on the days you are not running.
  • Mix it up a little, and do deep water running workouts to give your joints a break from impact.
  • Try barefoot beach running for another challenging workout.
  • Play soccer to amp up your cardiovascular endurance while having a great time.
  • Note where you are running and what surfaces are present in your route.
  • Avoid running on cement or angled sidewalks as these can be harmful to joints. Many areas offer running tracks with great surfaces, so choose these first.
  • Practice running on the actual running course, so steep upward grades and long downhills do not throw you for a loop on race day.

Step Five

Race Day is here! Be excited! 

  • Pack a bag the night before with all of your race gear, including runners, running wear, music, and what have you.
  • The race organizers will likely have water stations along the route, so it’s probably unnecessary for you to bring your water but confirm this with organizers. 
  • Arrive at the course as your information pack advises so that you are not rushed to check-in and get your race bib.
  • If the race is largely attended, you may be asked to position yourself with your estimated race time group; the fastest runners (uber-competitive) will position themselves at the front of the pack, and those who plan to walk/run most of the way, and just want to finish the course, will be asked to position themselves at the back.
  • Choose your pack position honestly as you don’t want to be run over, nor do you want to have to jockey around walkers.
Have someone at the race’s end to capture your smiling face as you finish your very first 5KM race!!

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