If you are interested in starting to run, but not sure where to start, running experts suggest signing up for a race.
Whether you are an avid runner or someone who just wants to get outside, training for a 5k race may be easier than it sounds.
“Anyone who wants to get off the couch is a great candidate to run a 5k,” Midge Good of Naperville Running Company says. “Right now we are seeing people of all shapes and sizes and ages that are really starting to do that for the first time in their life.”
A 5k translates to 3.1 miles. But before you start training, you will need the right equipment.
Good says the most important thing is a good shoe.
“Make sure you are in a properly fit shoe. After the shoe, socks are critical so you don’t want to be in a cotton sock. It should be a dry fit, cool max, polyester blend,” Good explained.
The Naperville Running Company uses a specialized treadmill to analyze your gait and make sure you are wearing the proper shoe. This will help keep you healthy and comfortable while running, and help prevent any injuries.
“If a doctor cleared you and can’t find anything, it is usually a shoe problem,” Good said. “Some of the problems with their knees and their ankles and hips are caused by shoes that are not fit right.”
Once you have the right gear, the next step is the lace up those shoes and get moving!
Certified running coach, Caroline Yasuda, suggests to start small and work your way up.
“Break it down into little bits, little steps to get to the first mile and then set a realistic goal as to when you think you do that first 5k,” Yasuda said.
While some people enjoy running alone, running experts say a group can provide accountability and support to keep you going.
Yasuda leads a running group of about forty women at the Fry Family YMCA. Members say running in a group really helps them accomplish their goals.
“When I decided to do a 5k… the commrodrity of the running club helped me a lot,” Shaku Miriyala says.
“It’s wonderful that they can come into this group and be a beginner because there is so much to move forward on to, and they are not going to feel alone. Everyone is there to support one another,” Colleen Pertile says.
And when crossing that finish line, many runners say the feeling of accomplishment is the best part.
“It’s not about competing with other people. It is about competing with yourself and you finish it and that victory is yours,” Good says.
And Yasuda says it’s all about the journey. “Just enjoy the journey, from the start to crossing that finish line. And the most important thing is to just have a happy and healthy run.”
For a complete list of 5k races in your area and several training schedules, you can check out active.com.