5K for beginners isn’t a new term. It’s been around now for a while. How does someone who has never run a day in their life run a 5K? The distance is 3.1 miles and the underlying difference between a 5K, rather then the longer classic 26.2 mile event is it has a much higher anaerobic (without oxygen) ratio to aerobic ratio (with oxygen).
What does that mean? Due to the fact that it is a shorter race, it can be run at a faster pace but you have less time to recover if you do make the mistake of going out too fast. You would have MUCH more time to slow and recover in a marathon but it has its cons as well.
This should not scare you in anyway. My brother, who HATES to run could run 5K. He is around 250lbs and is 6’1″ compared to yours truly, who is 143lbs and 5’10″.
I began running this distance in high school as a junior.5K for beginners and posts that revolved around that topic wasn’t what I was looking at at the time.
I didn’t know what ‘cross-country’ was and how far we raced and surely had no idea how to race the distance.I was introducing 5K for beginners to myself back then.
I ran the mile and two-mile in high school and had the same question you have. How do I run this distance? What pace should I hold? Do I need to run hard the first mile to buffer the last two-miles? Can I finish?
If your having similar questions, keep in mind, you are not alone.
I will give you a few tips that can assist you in running your very first 5K. I hope they can give you some ideas as you move into your training. My idea is that a 5K for beginners, should be run very relaxed. Below I have listed a few key points that will get you to the finish line with your hands held high
The First Thee Steps For 5K For Beginners training
- Do Not Focus On Running More Than 4 Days a Week Starting Off. You simply want to run easy miles early. I preach the ‘foundation’ quite often here. It is so important that you don’t jump into doing sprints or running harder than you should too early.
- Gradually Build Your Mileage Up Per Week. The consensus is no more than 10%, so say you start off at 20 miles per week, keep your next week around 22-23 miles. Don’t jump into the deep end too early.
- Practice Running The Pace You Want To Run. If your goal is to run 30 minutes. You have to hold 9.40 per mile to hit that time. Now that goal here isn’t to really hit a goal time. It is to finish the distance for the first time but for future reference.
- Practicing the pace you want to race at will lower your body’s tolerance to the lactic acid that is building up in your blood stream which cause muscle functioning to shut down. Runners that look as if they are on autopilot have practiced this.
The Second Three Step Process for 5K For Beginners
- Find a Group To Run With. A big motivating factor for most people (including me) who are running their first 5K, is being around other people that can hold you accountable to your goal. It is also much easier to get through the pain in the early weeks is to have someone who can get your mind off the task.
- Run A Weekly Long Run Twice The Distance Of The Race. A 6-mile run on saturday or sunday will build up endurance. The results may not come initially but your body will, over time, harden itself to the mileage and soon enough, running 3.1 miles is something you have already practiced may times in training. The fact that you have doubled the distance will give you a lot of satisfaction going into your first attempt at racing the distance.
- Take an Iron tablet everyday. I say this because if your body runs low on iron it doesn’t matter how motivated you are. Your body will remain in a fatigued state. I have lived this and was found to be anemic because I wasn’t paying attention to eating iron-rich foods in my diet (i.e., red meat, spinach, nuts). This will keep your body strong and make your job much easier in preparing for the 5K.
The Last Step In Running A 5K For Beginners
- Have Fun self explanatory I know but just keep it light. Run it. See if you enjoy the distance and try to better your time next time out.
So in closing, a 5K for beginners, should be run with a few thing in mind. 1) Gradually build the number of days you are running per week 2) Slowly increase your mileage and no more than 10% (this isn’t a RULE, be sensible to how your body is reacting to the training) 3) Try running your goal pace, if for only a couple minutes, so you can have an idea if you can hold it for the 3.1 mils 4) Find a group and take a little stress of yourself by being around a support team 5) Run once per week a couple miles over your race distance…gradually build up to twice your race distance 6) focus on your diet and lastly, have fun.
Do this and you will be well on your way to a great debut 5K.