How to Train for Your First 5K

Take Time to Recover

Listen to your body while you train. The body actually grows stronger when you are resting. Training is a process that includes strategically-placed workouts and rest days to allow your body to be stimulated by the activity and then recover during the rest.

Many people make the mistake of over-training and running too much, too soon and end up with an injury. It doesn't have to be the case though if you listen to your body for aches and pains or just fatigue. If your body is giving you a yellow flag with a few aches, take an extra day off and adjust your training to allow full recovery.

Additional ways to improve recovery include getting at least eight hours of sleep every night and eating frequent, well-balanced meals throughout the day.

Train Comfortably

Take the talk test. The key to running successfully is to dial in an effort level that is comfortable while you run.

A good way to know you are running the right pace is by taking the "Talk Test." If you can talk while you run, you are at the right pace. If you are gasping for air, can't get a word out and are counting the seconds until you can stop, you are likely going too hard. When you run too hard, the fun factor drops, injury risk goes up, and the chances of returning for another run are slim to none.

Like the Tortoise and the Hare, you will reach your goals more successfully.

The secret is to finish the running workout knowing you could run a little farther if you had to. Running is all about having fun, getting in shape and feeling good. Run at a pace where you can still talk and you will find your running career taking off.

This may mean you need to walk a little more at first, or slow your pace a bit, but doing so will pay off as your body will progress more quickly. Like the Tortoise and the Hare, you will slowly reach your goals more successfully.


Running requires a lot more oxygen than not running and efficient breathing is key to getting the needed oxygen to the working muscles. Breathe through your mouth and nose and from deep in your belly.

Like dancing to the beat of a good tune, try linking your breathing tempo with your foot strikes, breathing in every 2-4 steps and out 2-4 steps. You will breathe more efficiently and get more oxygen to the working muscles.

If you find that you are gasping for air, slow down. Most likely, you are at a pace that is too challenging and your body is not able to keep up.

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