I Want to Run a 5K … But I’m Not a Runner: 3 Tips to Get Started

RunnersWhat motivates people – who otherwise never run – to train to run a 5K? Sometimes it’s to support and raise money for a special cause. There are charity 5Ks every weekend – including several fun ones coming up in Springfield. (Click on a list of Memorial-sponsored upcoming races and walks here.) Other people just want to try something that may seem unattainable.

Gabe Stinson, a sports enhancement specialist with Memorial SportsCare, shares his expertise with those wanting to cross the finish line of a 5K this spring or summer.

  1. Start out slow. It is so easy for a non-runner to get injured at the beginning. Start out jogging 20-30 seconds and then walk for two minutes and slowly increase the jog time and reduce the walking time. Also, it’s important to slowly increase the distance. Start with a half mile and slowly add distance over the weeks. In addition, do not run more than three days a week with a day of rest in between the running days.
  2. Purchase proper running gear. Make sure the shoes you use fit your specific foot type.  Everyone’s arch is different, and your shoe should fit your arch. The right shoes can stop or greatly reduce the chances of experiencing overuse injuries. Running shoes should also be replaced every six months. Proper socks, shorts and shirts made with moisture-wicking material are also important.
  3. Find an app that will help you track your progress. There are many apps for smart phones that are useful for beginners. Many of the “Couch to 5K” apps provide helpful resources and practical information for beginner runners as well as a reasonable strategy to achieve your goal.

Most important? Remember to treat this like a 5K, not a sprint. Take it slow and work gradually – step by step – towards your goal. Before you know it, you’ll be crossing the finish line in style.