Tips for how to run a 5k in 8 weeks! Written by a beginner runner. You can do this. True story.
Sign up for a small race to get motivated.
Ok, well first let me preface this by saying I am not a running expert by any means. I am just an average gal who decided to take up running in her 39th year of life! 😉 Why did I do such a thing you ask? Well it all started when my friend Kathy signed us up for the 5K Colour Me Rad race here in Calgary. I had always wanted to complete a colour run, and this was the perfect excuse to get training. So in March I got started.
Don’t Expect Yourself to Be An Expert Runner. Start Training.
Training was a big deal for me. Another reason I wanted to take up running was to reclaim my health and to prove that I could push myself and exercise. This all comes after a couple of years ago when I had multiple bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms from a surgery, and as a result had a bit of lung damage. And a lot of fear. I was afraid to push myself too hard and so avoided exercise like the plague. I also had (have) a little residual breathing issue so exercise scared me. But since I started running I can actually breathe better than I have in a long time. I have also learned so much about myself: I’m stronger than I think and I can do hard things! I also learned that I love running. I can actually say that. I love to run. It makes me feel free, it clears my head and melts away stress.
Now, after 8 weeks of simple and gradual training, I can easily run a 5km distance (and I feel super proud of that). I now try to run 3 – 5K runs each week, and am really enjoying it. I mean there are some days that I hate it and don’t want to run, but when I finish a run there is no better feeling than that accomplishment to keep me motivated!
So I want to encourage you if you are even thinking about running…you can do this! If I can do it you can too! To help you get started, I wanted to share some tips on what I find helpful for running:
Tips for how to run a 5k in 8 weeks!
TIP #1: Get a Running App to help you run a 5k
Yes, I really think an app is a must. I downloaded this Couch to 5K Runner app onto my phone, and it is the #1 reason I got through my runs. It offers a gentle introduction to running, starting off really slow and manageable with alternating between walking and running, then over an 8 week period it increases in intensity. I love this app because it has a great warm up and cool down period, plus it tells you when you are halfway through your run, and offers some encouragement as you’re running which I really needed. I still use it even though I finished the program. I think that I’ll eventually upgrade to a 10K version, but for now I’m happy doing 5K runs.
TIP #2: Since we’re talking about apps, I also like to use Strava.
Strava is a GPS running and cycling app that allows you to track your running with GPS, join challenges, share photos from your runs, and follow friends if you want. I don’t do any of that hahaha! But I do like Strava because I use it to track where I go on my runs. I also like that it keeps track of the distance I run each time, and how fast my runs are. It keeps me on track and motivated to perform better.
TIP #3: Proper running shoes are your best friend.
Do not, I repeat, do not cheap out on a pair of running shoes. No, you shouldn’t wear that same pair of runners you’ve had for the last 10 years. They’re not good for running…ask me how I know. I fought this for quite a few weeks, and insisted that the runners I’ve had for over 10 years were fine for running and they weren’t. Within a few weeks of wearing them I had very sore knees. But as soon as I got a new pair of good running shoes, my sore achy knees disappeared, basically overnight. Go to a running store like The Running Room and get fitted for a good pair of shoes. They’re worth every penny. Every. Penny. I bought these ASICS and they’re my running best friend. Also while we’re on the topic of feet, get some good socks too…the kind that are breathable.
TIP #4: Proper clothing is so important.
I tried a few different pieces of clothing for my runs when I first started and found that not everything is great for running. When you’re a beginner like me, you don’t really realize that some things just aren’t made for running. For example, cotton is not your friend because it doesn’t breathe, it gets sticky and stinky and is just not great for sweating.
And make sure to have a few pieces of running clothing: my running wardrobe right now consists of about 5 sweat wicking tank tops, and a couple pairs of running shorts and yoga capri pants. A running jacket running jacket is also great to have for cool days, and again make sure it’s breathable, especially at the armpits. Because you’re going to get stinky. You just are.
TIP #5: Let’s talk running underwear.
For all the ladies: get a good running bra to keep those girls in tight. This is super important for a couple of reasons: you don’t need things moving all over the place when you’re running, and you also don’t want to injure them…it’s a thing. Also, I discovered that the tank tops with built-in shelves are your friend. I used to just scoff at them because they offer zero support for busty gals. But I bought one by accident and wore it in addition to a bra and found the extra support of the shelf so great…keeps the girls in double check. 😉
TIP #6: Have something to hold your phone, ID and keys.
My husband bought me this FlipBelt Waist Pouch, and let me tell you, it’s the greatest invention ever. It goes around your waist over top your shorts or pants, like a belt. It’s made out of lycra so it’s stretchy, yet tight enough that it doesn’t slip down your waist, and it doesn’t ride up either. I love it because it holds my phone and keeps my hands free so I can listen to my app and my music. Up until I got this belt, I either had my phone in my jacket pocket or I was running with it in my hands. And over time running with my phone in my hands gave me the claw. A kinked claw hand and shoulder pain. Sounds funny but it’s true – gripping my phone ended up causing me pain! #gohandsfree #runnersagainsttheclaw
TIP #7: Make a running playlist.
Listening to music helps me get through my runs. I like to run alone because I actually don’t like to talk to anyone when I’m running LOL! But it’s true. I like to tune out and get into my running zone, and having good music to listen to really helps! So put together an upbeat list of your favourite music, and make sure it’s upbeat, because trust me if it’s too slow, you’ll run slow.
TIP #8: Get a pair of earphones.
This is a personal preference thing and you’ll have to try some until you find a pair you like. I tried to use the ones that came with my iPhone but I found that they slipped out easily. So I just use a simple pair of flat earphones like the ones above – they stay in better.
More things I use:
Mints. These are great for dry mouth. I keep a handful in my FlipBelt.
Sunscreen. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
Sunglasses. Protect your peeps while running too!
So there you have it…all the things that I use in my running! I hope you found this helpful, and maybe you feel inspired to start running too? You can do it! And, if you’re a runner already, what are your favourite tips and products? Share them in the comments – I’d love to know!
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