7 Tips for Your First 5K

If you're coming off the couch this year for your first race, use these tips for a successful event.

1. Slow Down

Don't be afraid to mix walking with your running.

For example:

  • Walk five minutes and run two minutes
  • Repeat for three to five repetitions.
  • Do this for three or four days a week

More: Your 3-Step Plan to Run a 5K

2. Increase Mileage

Build mileage by decreasing the walk intervals and increasing the run intervals for a couple of days. Keep one or two of the days at the lower walk/run intervals to allow your body to get used to the change.

After a few weeks of building up, take a week to taper (cut back). This will help your body recover from your new exercise program. Then gradually, build back up. For some, the walk/run intervals will be fine.  For others, you may be able to run for longer than two minutes.

More: What to Do Before Your 5K

3. Have a Specific Goal Race

Have a goal race (maybe a 5K or a mile fun run) to help keep you motivated. Look for races in your area and pick one that sounds like a lot of fun. Invite some friends along so you can do it together.

When you find a race, sign up for it right away. Mark the date on your calendar, stick it to your fridge, put a reminder on your phone or anywhere else you may see it. That date can help you get out the door when motivation is low. You'll be glad you did it.

More: How to Train for Your First 5K

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