Running Your First 5k

A 5K is 3.1 miles; you got this! Don’t be scared by the distance, as this is the perfect run for beginners. If you’re ready to run your first 5K, understand that mastering the fundamentals will take you far. Running your first 5K is an awesome way to get yourself motivated towards catalyzing your fitness dreams. Besides being a fun and exciting way to begin a new exercise program, it is also an amazing opportunity to run with friends while making new ones.

Here are 5 tips to help you ease into the process and prepare for a successful and fun first 5K:

  1. Buy The Best Shoes
    Choosing the right shoes can be the most important fact when training. Picking a store that has customized shoes, gait pattern assessment, and even video recording analysis to track your form, will yield the best results. If this is your first time buying running shoes, you can also have your foot and arch impressions measured by a trained professional at places like Road Runner Sports. Plan on spending $75-$175 for a good pair. Don’t skimp on this. The more quality your footwear, the more injury prevention you’ll have in your pocket!
  2. Sleep
    Remember that your body begins recovery when you’re finished sweating, but the real magic of muscle repair occurs while you’re asleep. Giving your body the adequate time to rest and recover is more important than the training itself. By resting enough, 7-8 hours per night, your body can keep up with your new training schedule, and above all else – help to prevent injuries. Make sure that you rest and eat properly the day before your race as well as directly after. Numerous studies have shown that sleep deprivation causes a decrease in glucose tolerance and alters endocrine function.
  3. Training Schedule
    Give yourself at least eight weeks to train for your first 5K race. Remember that while running from ground zero, you must focus on easing into the process. Be sure to set up a training schedule that you can be honest with yourself about sticking to.
  4. Recovery & Refueling
    For pre-workout nutrition, consume fast acting and easily digestible MCFAs, protein and/or high GI carbohydrates. Vegetables should make up the majority of your calorie intake regardless of your race; especially if the crux of this 5K is a weight loss journey. When replenishing electrolytes, reach for coconut water and avoid the high fructose corn syrup found in many leading sport beverages. Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day depending on how much you sweat.
  5. Mindset
    Before you begin your training, figure out WHY you want this. That will be your go-to in times of withering motivation. At the end of the day, running a 5K doesn’t have to be complicated. Set yourself up for early success and then let the running take care of itself!

First 5K Runner’s Checklist:

  • Proper shoes
  • The commitment towards proper sleep
  • Training schedule
  • Whole food nutrition (minus high fructose corn syrup)
  • Water (filtered non-tap)
  • Your WHY

About the Author: Josh Trent grew up in San Diego, CA and has lived in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Mammoth Lakes. After 8 years in the fitness industry, Josh brings with him the passion for helping others. Josh is a Client Partner at and the lead torturer during weekly employee park workouts. He makes best friends with Race Directors, loves getting people active, and is excited about the power of Digital Health & Quantified Self movements. Follow him on Twitter @wellnessforce

Interested in planning a 5K or any type of running event? Start planning your next running event on