5K, 5 kilometers, at 0.6 miles per kilometer that’s 3.1 miles. You can walk it, jog it or run it. Casually do it, do it for fun or get serious and race it. Regardless, it’s great exercise and invigorating.
This activity will also give you time to think, meditate or pray. I have always liked it for these reasons. I often pray (talking with God about a life circumstance) or think through a scripture verse as I run. But, be careful, life is still going on around you and you’ll need to consider that. Be aware and watchful of your surroundings to avoid accidental meetings with cars, cyclists or other runners. My advice is to always stay as far right as possible and when you want to stop running or turn around, always turn to the right.
So, how do you get started? That’s the great thing about this sport, all you need is a good pair of shoes and the desire.
What follows is an outline of how you can get started.
1. Decide you want to do it.
2. Find out from your doctor if you are healthy enough to start a walking/jogging program. Ask them what type of signs you should look for that represents negative stress on your body.
3. Find a comfortable pair of shoes, a pair you already own will do, and go for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood. Don’t be worried about how far or how fast you are moving, just keep moving. But, don’t be a hero, if you feel discomfort of any kind slow down or take a few minutes to rest. My advice is to leave your doorstep and walk around the block, so if any problems arise you’ll be close to home. Take your cell phone with you.
4. Continue this walk process every other day for two weeks.
How are you feeling?
Hate It? Try cycling or swimming.
Not Sure? Give it another two weeks.
Like it? Love It? Move on to step 5.
5. Consider buying a pair of shoes. Your feet are important and the way you pick them up and put them down can have a chain reaction throughout your body. Remember, the foot and ankle are connected to the knee which is connected to the hip and the back. Good shoes will allow you to use all those body parts in unity, rather than in opposition, which will result in minimal injuries.
Here’s my suggestion for finding a good pair of shoes.
a. Don’t buy the shoes from your local big box store. They may carry the big names but that shoe is more likely for fashion than sport.
b. Go to a runner’s store. Look for one that thoroughly measures your foot. Not only your length, but also your width, your pronation, and whether you are flat footed etc. Some stores will make you an insert, to help you be more stable, and even let you use a treadmill to try them out.
c. Don’t worry about what they look like, rather make sure they are comfortable.
Ok, so now you’ve got your shoes and you’re wondering what other gear you should get. My only advice here is be comfortable. When I started my running program, I wore a pair of cargo pocket shorts with a t-shirt. Signature clothes will not make you run faster or walk farther. But, if stylin, gets you pumped up, then go for it.
6. If you’ve decided you are a walker, then continue where you left off. Consider adding 10 minutes to your workout for two weeks, then add another 10 minutes for two weeks etc until you are out walking for an hour.
7. Once you are walking for an hour at a time, you may want to increase your speed. If you get tired walking faster, then slow down but don’t stop. When you catch your breath, then pick up your speed again.
8. Congratulations, you’re 5K fun walk ready if you can walk an entire hour.
9. If you decided you’re a runner, please notice that I believe you need to walk before you can run. Well, I also believe that you need to jog before you run.
10. Once you can walk an entire hour, try jogging. Start your workout jogging. When you get tired, walk until you catch your breath and then start to jog again. Keep this up until you can jog the entire hour.
11. Now you are ready to run. Begin increasing your speed at a comfortable rate. Note: If you can’t talk while you are running, then you are running too fast.
12. Have fun, don’t get obsessed, and keep learning about the sport.
What’s after a 5K?
Well, there’s the 5 mile, 10K, 10 mile, Half Marathon (13.1 mile), Marathon (26.2 mile), and more.
Watch for future posts on how to get ready to run longer distance.