A blog by runners. For runners.

Race newbies: training tips for your first 5K race


Spring is finally here, and if you’ve never raced before, this is the perfect time to take the plunge. And don’t worry — even if you’ve spent the winter hibernating, you still have plenty of time to start training for a 5K — 3.1 mile — race to run in late spring/early summer.

Just follow these five steps:

  1. Choose your race wisely. Find a local race (our Events page is a good place to start). Keep in mind your preferences before you choose your race. Would the crowds of a larger race motivate you? Do you prefer the ease of a flat course or the challenge of rolling hills? Do you want to race for charity? Do you mind racing at 6 a.m. or would you rather race at night? How much are you willing to spend? You can learn about the race’s size, course, start time, price, and other details on the race’s website.
  2. Follow a sound training plan. Browse the 5K training plans here on WalkJogRun. We have tailored plans for everyone, from beginners who want to walk-run their first race to experienced runners who want to knock out a 5K PR.
  3. Set realistic expectations. Maybe you ran 5Ks in high school, but be careful not to let old accomplishments get in the way of your current goal. A good goal for a first race is to finish with a smile on your face. Don’t fret about your pace and take walk breaks as often as you need them.
  4. Grab a buddy. Train with a friend or join a local running group. Having company on your runs will make the miles fly by. Plus a workout buddy will hold you accountable — you’ll be more likely to stick with your training plan if you have someone counting on you to show up.
  5. Keep safety in mind. To avoid getting hurt, get fitted for proper shoes at a running specialty store, take plenty of rest days, and back off at the first sign of injury. Be mindful to drink plenty of water before, during, and after runs to stay hydrated.

Written by Jen Matz.

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