Anyone & Everyone Can Train for 5k Race Running
The beauty of 5k race running is that everyone can benefit and anyone can do it. You do not have to be an Olympic athlete to train for and complete a 5k race. In fact, I contend you actually will enjoy it so much more if you are not some great athlete, but just a regular everyday working person who simply wants to start running to get healthy and have some fun.
The 5k distance is 3.1 miles. I know if you are completely new to running that may seem like an overwhelming distance, but trust me when I tell you it is more than manageable. Even if you have never run a day in your life, are overweight and out of shape, you can successfully complete a 5k race in 8 weeks following a basic 5k training program.
Why Run a 5k Race
You may have never considered participating in a 5k race. “Race” is a loose term actually, as nearly every competitor in a 5k race is not really “competing” to win, but is simply participating to finish and have some fun with a group of great people. There are a variety of benefits that you will most definitely experience from having run a 5k race.
First, the entire event is an absolute blast. From the pre-race jitters and conversations, the joy of the actual running the race with everyone, and the post-race party’s jubilance and snacks, you will find the event itself is quite simply, a great time.
Second, you will feel an amazing sense of accomplishment, especially if you have not participated in a similar event in the past. Crossing that finish line with the crowds cheering and the volunteers congratulations is really tremendous.
Third, your body will thank you. Going from the sedentary lifestyle many of us maintain to beginning a 5k training program is like a return to your youth. We are not meant to sit at a desk all day, every day. Our bodies are not made for sitting on a couch and watching endless hours of reality television. You will find that once you start moving, your body begins to feel different. You will lose weight. You will become more optimistic. You also will crave more and more movement, and less lying around.
Finally, the joy of the training and preparing for the 5k race is rich in reward as well. You know the saying that life is about the journey, not the destination? Well, that is certainly applicable with respect to your first 5k race; however, the finish line destination is pretty darn cool too.
I never ran for enjoyment in my entire life prior to 2011. At the time I was a 33 year old lawyer, and I had become quite accustomed to sitting at my office desk for ten hours per day, then coming home to sit in a recliner watching television for five more hours while eating “snacks” and becoming more unhealthy.
I needed a change, as my wife was about to have our first child, and I did not want to drop from a heart attack before my 40th birthday. So like all those thirsting for knowledge these days, I consulted the great Google. Google led me to information about everyday folks that were training for, and participating in, 5k running races.
I remember turning to my wife beside me to enthusiastically state, “I am going to run a 5k race in 4 weeks!” She looked at me like I was a bit off my rocker, but I did not care. I found a basic 5k training program, like the programs found here, and I got started the next day.
At first, I was able to run for about five minutes straight before my legs went wobbly and my lungs felt as if I were trying to breathe under water. So I walked a great deal in those first few days. Gradually I was able to slowly increase the time spent running, and decrease the time spent walking. Before I even realized I was making progress, I was able to run consistently for thirty minutes straight. Just in time too, as the race was set for the Saturday after I first ran for thirty straight minutes.
That first race was an incredible, life-changing experience for me. I arrived early and received my race bag, which included my race bib, some safety pins to attach the bib to my shirt, some free give-a-ways like water bottles, coupons, energy gels and an awesome race participant shirt. I mingled amongst the other runners who nervously chatted away and enjoyed the energy created by everyone’s enthusiasm.
The race began and hundreds of us took of running. To my surprise many folks walked from the start, and they seemed to have just as much fun as the skinny high school runners who finished the race before I was halfway to the finish line. It did not matter where anyone finished. The only thing that mattered was that we were there, participating and trying to improve ourselves.
I reached the finish line a record-holder. No, I did not set the record for the world’s fastest 5k, in fact I was probably closer to the world’s slowest 5k. However, I set my own record that day. I finished that 5k faster than I ever had before, and that created an undeniable desire inside me to continue running as many races as possible.
Since that first race I have run dozens of races at all sorts of different distances. I simply cannot get enough running, training and participating in running events. Please understand, I am not an athlete, not even close. I am just an ordinary working middle-thirties American trying to do something constructive and improve my health.