Smash Your Best 5, 10, 21-K!

If you’re racing in a few months, it’s time to start preparing. Whether you’re a new runner, a speed demon, or just hoping to have the most fun ever, these expert tips will help you reach your goals.


Meghan Kita |

If you’re racing in a few months, it’s time to start preparing. Whether you’re a new runner, a speed demon, or just hoping to have the most fun ever, these expert tips will help you reach your goals. – By Meghan Kita

Image by Ferdinand Van Huizen
Image by Ferdinand Van Huizen

GET READY FOR A 5-K

Who Are You?
A First-Time Racer

Your Goal:
Love Your Debut 5-K

Establish a run-walk plan.

According to Jeff Galloway – the 10 000-metre Olympian turned famous coach – newbies who walk should start with either five seconds of running followed by 25 seconds of walking or 10 seconds of running followed by 50 seconds of walking. Begin your first run-walk with 10 minutes of walking, then do a 10-minute period of run-walking, and end with a 10-minute walk. Every week or two, expand the run-walk period and shorten the warm-up and cool-down by three or four minutes. Work up to run-walking for a full 30 minutes.

RELATED: Walk to Strengthen Muscles


Build endurance.

While you don’t need to go further than 5km in training to complete your first 5-K, Galloway recommends working up to six or eight: “That bestows a lot of confidence, in people doing their first running-format race.” Add 1km every other weekend; in between, drop back down to a 5-K run. It’s not necessary to run-walk the entire time: if you’re comfortable run-walking for 30 minutes, do so after a five- to 10-minute walking warm-up, then finish with more walking.

Bring up the rear.

On race day, you’ll probably be moving slower than many runners. To avoid impeding others’ progress, start near the back. There, Galloway says, “It’s not so competitive, and there’s not as much nervousness for beginners because they see that the other people are like them.” Most importantly, the further back you are, the more likely you are to pass some people: “That’s how you’re going to hook someone on running,” Galloway says.

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