Weighing In: How to Train for a 5K

Each week, our own fitness fanatic Bethany Shirilla will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.

Along with football games and fall favorites, there’s one more thing you can add to your semester calendar: a 5K. With the Color Run and THON 5K coming up, there’s just enough time to get moving and start training.

For those of us less experienced runners, don’t be intimated by a 5K. This 3.1 mile race is a great distance for beginners to strive. Whether you’re racing just for fun, or to challenge yourself, running is a lifestyle change for the better. Luckily, training for a 5K is the perfect stepping stone.

The first, most important step in preparing for a 5K is running shoes. If you aren’t familiar with the type of shoe you prefer or need, it’s best to go into a store that can assist you with your decision. When choosing, consider how much you will be running, your arch type and the natural motion of your foot. Choose something with the right fit that’s comfortable and offers excellent stability. Once you get the essentials, then feel free to can brighten your shoe selection with the perfect color and style.

Register. Don’t waste time. It’s super easy to find a 5K on campus or in the local area. And there’s many amazing charities and causes to run for. But any type of training takes a toll on your body. If you register ahead of time, it’ll be a little kick start to get started. It will probably take several weeks to get your training plan into action.

And for the actual training, it needs to be personal and developed based on your needs. There are hundreds of 5K training plans online, or you can create your own. Consider your current level of fitness. Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced runner? You also need to develop a training schedule that fits into your daily lifestyle. Decide when and where you wish to train to remain consistent. It is recommended that your plan includes 2 days of rest per week. On these rest days, however, a brisk walk or light jog can be beneficial. You may wish to choose a plan with little to no variety. Whatever plan, make sure it includes gradual advances at a pace not too strenuous for your body to adapt.

If you have the nerves of a beginner runner, don’t fret it. The perfect place to run your first 5K is here at Penn State. If you need to lightly jog or cool down with a walk, don’t feel ashamed. Just remember – it’s Penn Staters that will be cheering you on.

In my opinion, the most motivating part about training for a 5K is aiming for the goal. Although accomplishing your goal is the ultimate prize, training will bring more rewards than you might originally expect. And who knows, maybe your running goal will continue much further past the finish line.


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