How do I get ready for a 5 K?

By Sasha Pachev

Getting ready for 5 K is a good start to build your fitness. You will lose weight while getting healthier, in contrast with the diet programs aimed at losing weight as their primary objective.

It is possible that you are already able to run a 5 K in spite of your perception of the lack of fitness. Many people are surprised by what they can do when they accept a challenge. I suggest you first try to run for as far as you can and see where you end up. You may do your experiment on a track (5 K is 12.5 laps around a standard 400 m track), or you may have somebody drop you off 3.1 miles away from where they are going to pick you up and run the distance. A treadmill is also a possibility.

If you are extremely overweight, it is a good idea to swim or bike for a while first to lose some weight. Running puts a lot of impact on your bones, joints, and ligaments, which are probably not up to the task of handling your weight. Doing another form of vigorous endurance exercise will also help you develop a measure of cardivascular fitness. After some time you may be ready to run.

If you find that you are currently unable to run a 5 K some training will help you bridge the gap. Start by running for as long as you feel good, take a walking break until you feel good again, then repeat until you have covered a mile. Repeat the routine 6 days a week. If you still feel tired the next day, skip a day, but make sure to not skip more than one day. In a couple of weeks or so your fitness should start improving and you should find yourself running all the way. Once you are able to run a mile without stopping, try increasing the distance you cover by 1/4 mile every two weeks or so. Once you are able to run 2 miles without stopping, try running a 5 K. You should be able to finish it now.

Now that you have finished a 5 K, do not stop here. Continue running to maintain and improve your fitness.

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