Registered For First Ever 5K - Advice?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I've been seeing people writing lately about all of the races they are doing this Fall - seems to be a popular time for special themed races. I saw where the local college is having a fundraising "Fall Frolic" on October 15th - it looks to be a pretty advanced one because they mention "chips" and they also have 10K and a relay.

I'm not a runner. I want to run one day. The most I can do right now is jog for short periods of time (without getting winded - woohoo!), but my knees seem to give me fits if I do it too much - even after my loss so far (maybe I have damaged them with all the years of excess weight?)

I filled out the signup on-line and it said next to the 5K that it is walk/run. I am trying to tell myself that even just by walking and signing up to go through this process it would be a start toward my dreams. I've never even attended a 5K race - except through all of the amazing blogs that you Sparkies write.

So I have only a rough idea of what to expect (and what to do) - I'm really nervous already, and wondering if it was a mistake signing up. It is a little less than a month away - and I need to start psyching myself up for it so I don't chicken out and just don't show up on race day. My husband is supportive, and said he will be there with the kids to cheer me on.

I'm considering trying to build up my running endurance so that I can jog at least part of it - but maybe that is being too ambitious.

I would appreciate any and all advice regarding a first 5K - long winded answers would be most appreciated - and advice on shoes - I have a pair that is totally shot that I used for years because I loved them, another "cheap pair" I've been using to get by that are junk, and I want to buy a pair that is fit to suit me, but is it too close to an event to do that, should I stick with something that won't rub my feet?

I'm a little psyched out that people will be staring at the pathetic non-runner, but my husband (the sweetheart that he is) said "but you are doing this for you" - as always, he's right :)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I haven't done a 5k but am training for one, just started too- search in sparkpeople 5k Train Your Way; it is a pretty fun training program, I am about to finish week 1.

    I want to do a Turkey trot this year- mostly (this is pathetic) I want to EARN that turkey t-shirt!!!!

    Let us know how it goes!!
    3208 days ago
    I was in your exact same position! I signed up for a 5K, totally on a whim (found out about a free one), and had never even seen a race. I, too, posted a nervous blog about it - the best advice I received was from a lot of people who basically said, "Calm down- you'll do great! Have fun!"

    I know it's scary, but there really is nothing to be nervous about. Make sure that you can comfortable walk for 45-60 minutes in your athletic shoes - if you get blisters, figure out where to wear bandaids, or get new shoes. Also, pick your outfit, and if you ever get chafing, consider wearing powder on the day of the race.

    I basically planned to walk the entire way (I had not been doing any jogging yet when I signed up for the race, and it was only a week away, so I had no time to train, really), and I walked the first half. But, while i was walking, I happened to see a fellow walker who was doing jogging intervals along the way. I introduced myself to her during one of her walking periods, and asked if I could join her on her next jogging interval. We ended up doing walk/jog intervals together for the whole second half of the race! We motivated each other, cooperating on when we'd walk and how far we'd jog. We'd pick a landmark up ahead and say things like, "Ok, I can jog, are you ready? Ok, what do you think about that tree up ahead? Oh, you can go further? Ok, let's try for that light post!"

    With no training, and no real preparation, and not very much jogging, I ended up placing about 700-something out of 900 people, with a time of 44minutes. A respectable finish, in my opinion! I'm sure you'll do wonderfully, and even if you don't know anyone else who will be walking/jogging in the race that day, maybe you'll meet someone, like I did!

    Also, remember - we all start somewhere!! I really appreciated the advice one person gave me.... "Just remember, the great thing about a first 5K is that you'll automatically get your personal best time!" So take it as a starting point, and have a blast!
    3208 days ago
  • LADYBUG1107
    Good luck! I am running my first 5 K in a few weeks!
    3208 days ago
    I haven't read all the replies, just scanned, but I don't think anyone mentioned the Jeff Galloway method. There's a team here on Spark and he also has a website. Basically, you combine intervals of walking and running. Many people have used it even up to training for marathons. I find it has worked really well for me, although I don't follow his plans to the letter.

    As for your other questions, it seems like you've already gotten a lot of great advice so I'll just add my WOOHOO, (and a few emoticons) to this post and look forward to hearing more about your preparation and - of course - your race day report!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3212 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/22/2011 6:04:06 AM
    No advice but lots of WOO HOOOOOOOs!!! WTG on your first day! You can SO do this!
    3214 days ago
    I'm impressed by your signing up for the 5K!!! I hope to be able to do one someday, too!!! I have tried (and plan to try again) a program/plan on SP for beginners of the 5Ks called "Couch to 5K" or C25K that many swear by. Our daughter is a runner, and the advice that you've received regarding good running shoes seems to be right on based on our experience with her. The shoes are designed for either a normal/ under or over pronation gait and you def. want shoes that provide a good cushion, support and proper fit to avoid rubbing. She uses ASICS and uses them only for running. The shoes ran around $110-$120.

    Good luck to you!!!

    emoticon emoticon
    3214 days ago
    And now I'm inspired. I want to do one!!! I am by no means a runner, or even that strong of a jogger (knees...ouch), but I would love to do some serious power walking!! How invigorating in the fall mountain air!! I'm gonna have to look one up and then come here to your blog for pointers!!! YOU GO!!! I think of you all the time!
    3214 days ago
    I've done 2 "official" 5k races. First one is where I learned they're not kidding when they tell you to do a cool-down walk after you're done. I figured no big deal, been doing practice walks, crossed the finish line so I'm done. Well, apparently adrenaline or whatever from pushing myself coupled with the abrupt stop and I found myself light-headed and nauseous. So walk it out for a bit after you're done.

    The second year I tried the walk/jog. Was going to blow the lid off my previous time. My reward for finishing some 6 minutes faster was sore knees for two weeks. There is no shame in walking a race.

    As others have said, if you haven't already done so, I highly recommend finding a store specializing in running and get shoes made for your stride. They showed me that my ankles roll outward and recommended shoes specifically designed to help with that.

    Most of all, enjoy yourself. No one's going to be watching to see how you finish. This is all about you and for you. Do your best and have fun!

    Here's a link to my blog about my first 5k. It even has a picture of the "chip"
    3214 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/19/2011 12:13:42 PM
    You will do great. I remember when I signed up and mailed out the check for my first 5K. I thought to myself "what the heck did I do!!" I walked my first 5K in June. It was alot of fun. Just to finish was an accomplishment for me. Make sure you get good supportive sneakers and break them in before the race. I also went to the back of the pack because everyone took off running. Took my time and focused. I also paired up with a walker who was a great supporter. Good luck and have fun, Moni emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3214 days ago
    emoticon for you just for signing up. WTG! I would suggest doing one of the SP 5K training programs. I would also get shoes now, so they are not stiff on race day. HTH. Best of luck, don't be nervous, you will do great! emoticon
    3214 days ago
    Wow, look at the great response you got! emoticon
    I want to be a runner someday as well, and do a 5k, but also have knee troubles. I'm working on building knee strength, and loosing a few more lbs (to reduce the impact) and plan on trying for a 5k in the spring.

    Yaaaaaaaaaaay for you, and good luck! You are going to rock it! Or should I say, SPARK it! emoticon
    3215 days ago
    How cool! There are great websites with advice as well as our own SparkPeople 5K challenge.
    Good luck on your new adventure.
    3215 days ago
    My first 5K is Oct. 15, too! I have been using C25K (app by bluefin on my ipod) and it is awesome. I'm super nervous about what it will be like. I know I can run it (did 3.2 miles this week, have almost completed the C25k 9 week program), but it's all the little things that make me nervous--having people WATCH me, what should I wear, am I going to be OK since it is on a trail versus road, what if I come in DEAD LAST???, etc. etc. My 20 yo daughter is going to go with me, but she will probably not run most of it since she hasn't been training. Also a friend of mine (I jokingly call him my second husband because we like things that our respective spouses think are crazy, haha) is going to join me. This will be his second 5K. He's been in the military for years, so running is nothing new to him, but he IS 10 years older than me. :-)

    Good luck to both of us! I think we will do great!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3215 days ago
    GLMOM is right. Once you start doing 5Ks you will never want to stop. Until you start doing 10Ks or HMs! emoticon

    I echo what everyone has said... SHOES top priority. Second priority, if you don't have one, is a training plan. Doesn't matter what program just pick a program and use it. GO SLOW. Start for time and let your pace increase later. Also rest days are essential! And don't take it all too seriously. Enjoy it! You are in no rush. You will be running for the rest of your life!
    3215 days ago
    Not too late for new shoes - make sure you go to a good running/walking store and get well fit.

    Great way to start - when you have a run/walk, it can feel more comfortable because there's far less pressure.

    Couch to 5K or one of the Spark programs should continue the work you've already done. Most of all, get out there and have fun! Good luck to you!
    3215 days ago
  • GLMOM2
    Oh, your first 5k. You do realize that once you start, you won't be able to stop, right!? emoticon

    I've done 2 so far. Both were walk/run events. I had a blast in my first one just proving that "I" could do it. Then my next one, I wanted to "run" the whole thing. I did run the whole thing & improved my time by 9 minutes!

    YOU can do anything you set your mind to! Most of all have fun with it! Take it all in! You've trained & worked hard to get there!

    For my first 5k I wasn't on SparkPeople yet so I ended up using some 10-week training program online. My 2nd one I used the walk/run your way 5k training plan with SparkPeople. (If you are looking for training plan ideas). Shoes? I wear New Balance or Asics. The only ones I can find that deal with my toe & arch. I'd say since your 5k is a month away (right?) you'd have time to break in your new shoes
    before your run/walk.

    I hope my little bit of experience helps. Oh yeah, can you use a mp3 player or anything during your run? Mine allowed them & I know many don't. If so, I recommend getting some great tunes on there. I like "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, "We're not gonna take it" Twisted Sister (my latest favorite) & "don't stop believing" by Journey! Just to name a few of my favorites. A SparkFriend also mentioned to get "Chariots of Fire" for that last part of the race! I was so in the moment I didn't even pay attention to it playing in my ear! LOL

    Good luck! YOU'LL do great & you are doing this for YOU!!

    Go for it!!
    3215 days ago
    You should def. go to a running shoe store and ask for advice. If they do gait analysis, that would be even better!!!!
    I never did a couch to 5K program, but I have heard they are good. You could also walk and add in a few minutes of light jogging intermittently, increasing the amount jogging as you progress.
    Good luck!!!!:-)
    3215 days ago
  • FUNGIRL81005
    I love the c25k...Do it...Consider downloading the matching music to your IPOD. I plan on using the music to do a 5k also.
    I suggest trying to find a Running Roost store. i know I went to a running shoes store and they looked at your feet and the way you walked. Then the had you try shoes on and run or walk on a tread mill while they recorded the rear view of you feet. the played in slow motion and you could see how some shoes made you inner feet tilt in....It was crazy!! they didn't charge anymore for this feet and ankles have never been sore in my current shoes..... emoticon emoticon emoticon The place I went was in Colorado Springs.......
    3215 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/18/2011 9:10:03 PM
  • no profile photo CD9543726
    I agree - C25K is a great program to use to get started with running! 5Ks are so much fun. Even though I've been trying to run all year, I still can't run more than about 12-15 mins at a time, but just the atmosphere at 5Ks are a blast! I really need to do one again. It's been too long! You'll have a lot of fun. See if you can find a friend to do it with you, that'll help you take off some nervousness. And don't worry about being last or anything like that. I've walked hour-long 5Ks with my cousin and her two daughters (both under the age of 6), and once walked one in 70 mins because I was with a whole family, including infants, who were riding in a wagon, and the wheels kept coming off! We had to keep stopping to fix the wagon, haha! So really, it's no big deal if you're slow. And you don't have to run if you do n't want to - don't let the pressure get to you.

    If you're looking for shoe suggestions, I suggest New Balance. If you have a store in town they will actually record your gait and find a perfect fit for you! I really love mine.
    3215 days ago
    Yay for you!!! All your feelings go into your first 5k are normal! First I want to tell you that if you are moving faster than a walk then you are a RUNNER!!! Even if it's only a few seconds at a time!!! I would definitely suggest getting out at least 3 x's per week over the next month for 20-30 minutes at a time to build up your endurance. Take a look at the Sparkpeople 5k program or the popular Couch to 5K on With your knee pain part of that is that you do put a lot of impact on your knees when you run. You need to strengthen your leg muscles more to help protect your knees better. Part of that strength will come with your running, but also doing strength training (squats and lunges) regularly will help.
    A month is enough time to break in a new pair of shoes, I would suggest getting another pair since you said yours are shot. And as far as your self-consciousness about what the other runners might think of have nothing to worry about!! The running community is very supportive! I know that every runner I see at a race, no matter what shape, size, speed, etc. I always think "good for them, they're doing!" and I'm pretty sure my fellow runners are thinking the same!
    I hope you can take away some information here to get you to that finish line! There is nothing like putting the work in and accomplishing a goal...YOU CAN DO THIS!!!! Welcome to the running community!
    3215 days ago
    the race is October 15th - so basically I have 4 weeks

    do some people walk most and jog a little?
    3215 days ago
    C25k!!!! when is the race?
    i finished it in 4 wks, but it's 8 wks program! (I RUN DAILY)
    NOT RECOMMENDED rest days are important! this was --upid me bef!

    But I did ROBERT ULLERY c25k podcast. great program. google download to phonel mp3, ipod...

    NO BRAINER....he says ....walk... you start at 60 sec. I LOST ALL MY WEIGHT and inches from this program.

    i started to run 30 sec at a time (b/c of 1 yr no like daycare) they let him stary 1-5 mins, and i have to go

    I tried walking...i wanted to swim... no cals burnt...

    so as his tolerant for daycare increased... I ran 30 sec-30 mins nonstop!!! and ran my first 5k this time last year... I running this race this wknd but 10k!LOL

    OK... I don't recommend you doing it on your own. pic a c25k program you like... so many out there.

    SP has there own, there is the paper one you follow.
    but the one i did is really a NO brainer...

    I already ran 3 wks, and ran a 5k... that is why i finished it in 4wk, and i did it daily! NOT a good idea ;p in retrospect

    hope it helps
    3215 days ago
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