Run/Walk Your First 5K

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If you're hoping to run or run/walk your first 5K, here's how to get started with your training.

The 5K is one of the most popular race lengths in the world. A 5k run is 5 kilometers long, which is the equivalent of 3.1 miles. Because the 5K is one of the shorter road races, it's very popular among beginner runners who want to give racing a try as well as advanced runners who like to have short-term goals.

Why Run A 5K?

People run 5K races for many different reasons. Some of the most common include:

· They want to challenge themselves.

· They want to train for a specific goal, rather than just running for exercise.

· They enjoy running with others.

· They want to see how fast they can run.

· They want to show their support for a specific charity.

· They like the idea of crossing a finish line.

· They promised to run with a friend or family member.

· They want to beat their personal record in the 5K.

What's Involved in Training for and Running a 5K Race?

For beginner runners, the 5K distance may seem intimidating at first. However, even someone who is new to running can be ready for a 5K in a matter of eight weeks. Many new runners use a run/walk strategy
for their first 5K. People who have more experience running can usually run a 5K race on any given weekend. But even advanced runners will follow a very specific training schedule in order to achieve a goal time in the 5K.

Finding a 5K race is usually not too difficult, since a lot of small companies even hold them annually. Many charity races, such as the Sigma Run, are 5K distances.


Run/Walk technique

Most beginner runners start out using a run/walk technique because they don't have the endurance or fitness to run for extended periods of time. Here's how to do the run/walk method:

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

1. The run/walk method is simple: After you've warmed-up with a 5-minute walk, run for a short segment and then take a walk break. Beginners can alternate very short run segments with short walks, such as 1 minute running, 7 minutes walking.

2. Keep repeating your run/walk pattern until you've covered your goal distance or time. For example, if you want to run/walk for 16 minutes, you can run/walk at a 1:7 ratio for two cycles. Make sure that you're using the proper form (applies to both your running and walking segments).

3. You should start your walk portion before your running muscles get too tired. This will allow your muscles to recover instantly, which extends the time and distance that you can cover. If you wait until you're very fatigued, you'll end up walking slowly and it will be difficult to start running again.

4. If you want to time your running and walking intervals, you can use a watch or other device that beeps to signal when you need to switch

5. For the walk portions, make sure you're not taking a leisurely stroll. You should use good running form and pump your arms, so that your heart rate stays elevated. That way, you'll still be getting a good cardiovascular workout and it will make the transition back to running easier.

6. As you continue with your run/walk program, try to extend the amount of time you're running and reduce your walking time.

Once you can successfully run for long stretches, don't feel as if you have to abandon the run/walk method. Some long-distance runners use it in training runs and races to help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.


1. Use your breathing as your guide during your running segments. You should be able to carry on a conversation while running and your breathing shouldn't be heavy. Not only will you be able to run/walk longer, but you'll also prevent side stitches.

2. Drink water at the end of your workouts to rehydrate. If it's hot and humid, you should also drink some water (about 4-6 ounces) halfway through your workout.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 April 2011 20:59  

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