Training for Your First Race as a Runner

Most people start running because they need or want to lose weight and get in better shape. Running is one of the very best ways to do that. As with any exercise program though, staying motivated is often a problem over time. Running, however, has an easy solution – racing. Competition is often the key to staying excited about your fitness program. For most runners, this means signing up for their first 5K race.

5 kilometers is approximately 3.1 miles. This is a perfect for your first race. Most people can easily get in shape to run 5K within 6 to 12 weeks if they can walk 30 minutes to begin with. Running a 5K race doesn’t require spending every free moment training and even a very slow beginner can finish the race in a reasonable time.

Training for a 5K race doesn’t even require daily running. If you can already walk for 30 minutes, all you need to do it to gradually build up your fitness until you can run for 30 to 40 minutes without stopping You can find many sample training programs for free online, although all you really need to do for your first race is just be able to run easy and cover a distance just a little bit longer than 3.1 miles. Most people get there by mixing running and walking and gradually increasing the amount of running they do until they cover the whole distance.

When you start, the best way to keep up with your training is by measuring time instead of distance. This makes your training more predictable and it also makes it so that you can train wherever you are since you don’t have to lay out and measure a course.

Begin your program by slipping on you running shoes and start running for one minute and walking for 4 minutes, and repeating that to complete a 30 minute total workout. Repeat that 4 times per week. You can either walk or simply take the day off on the other days. Each week add some time to the running segments of your workouts while cutting down on the walking. Many people do this in 30 second increments, but feel free to increase a minute at a time as long as you are taking days off from training to recover.  I very little time you will find yourself running for 30 to 40 minutes without stopping.

When you reach that goal, you will want to measure the distance you are covering. You can do this with your car or even with one of the online mapping systems such as Google Maps. If you find that you are already going the race distance within your training time, you simply need to keep training and be sure to take a couple of days off right before your race.

On the other hand, if you find that running 5K is going to take you longer than 30 minutes, don’t worry. You have already trained enough to complete the distance. However, if you have time you can work at least one of your training runs during the week up in time until you are covering the full distance. You will find that this increased fitness also helps you run faster.

Competition is a great way to keep motivation high when working toward a fitness goal. Once you complete that first 5K race you will probably be hooked and ready to look into training for other races too.

Craig Lancaster has been jogging for better health after putting on a little too much weight.  He is much more attractive now.  Follow him on Twitter.