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How to Run a 5K: 7 Top Tips for Beginners

If the idea of completing a 5K (or 3.10 miles) is initially overwhelming, all you need is a change in mindset. Even if you aren’t typically a very active person, going this distance is completely achievable, especially when you break up the task into manageable segments and move at your own pace. 

In this article, we’ll give you invaluable race tips and advice for how to run (or jog or walk) a 5K “Your Way”. No matter what your activity level currently is, with some simple preparation and knowledge, crossing your own finish line is within reach. Plus, chances are that completing your miles will help spark some new healthy habits of continuing to be active and giving yourself more healthy challenges to conquer. 

Let's start with these top tips to running a 5K:

1. Break It Up!

A 5K (3.10 miles) is actually just 6,250 steps. If you already use a FitBit or some type of step tracking device, you know that amount is completely achievable. 

Break your journey up into segments of running, jogging or walking to reach success in a manageable way! Here are some ideas, below. 

    2. Nourish Well

    Next, just like a car won’t run without fuel, your body won’t run on empty fumes. It’s important to give yourself the right nourishment before, during and after your 5K. 

    While all of the major macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) are important to your body’s fuel stores, the key macro we’re going to focus on is protein. 

    Protein is essential to building muscle throughout your body that will help increase your stamina and endurance during physical activity. It’s also crucial for the recovery stage of your muscles, in this case after you run or walk. In addition, protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and fats, making it a long-lasting source of energy for your body and brain.

    For weight loss, protein also satisfies your hunger quickly, for a lower amount of calories than other foods. For all of these reasons, it makes sense to increase the level of protein you intake daily, especially while training for and completing a 5K.

    Ways to add more protein to your healthy training schedule and diet:

    3. Hydrate Smart 

    You also need to keep your body hydrated continuously, and the most efficient way to do this is by adding hydration enhancers into your water. 

    These special hydration products contain electolyte minerals (like potassium and sodium) that you typically lose when you sweat and are essential to keeping your body properly hydrated. By adding these replenishing minerals into your water, you can greatly enhance your hydration to keep yourself functioning optimally. 

    310 Hydrates are a convenient hydration enhancer product without sugar and flavored naturally, while many others are packed with sugar and other additives. They come in delicious, juicy-sweet and sour flavors, and convenient single-serve packets so you can easily pour them into your water and reap the benefits anywhere.

    Hydration recipes to try:

    4. Give and Accept Support 

    Don’t “go it alone!” With the 310 Community, you have a network of support that you can turn to for answers and you can easily connect with others on their own health journeys. 

    Once you commit to living a healthier lifestyle and being more active, post updates on your progress, and make sure you comment on other people’s posts so that they can be uplifted as well.

    When it comes to actually physically running or walking your 5K, you can also do it with a buddy or accountability partner. Having someone physically beside you can help motivate you to show up and get in your steps, which we’ll talk about next.

    5. Vow To Show Up

    If you think about the entire physical activity that you need to do, that can be overwhelming, but the truth is that often the hardest part of anything is starting. 

    When you vow to show up for your daily physical activity, in this case completing miles towards your 5K, the best thing you can do is promise yourself that you’ll show up to do it. Don’t focus on any other part of it except starting. Once you’re there, if you want to leave you’re free to do that, but chances are you’ll move forward with it once you’ve physically arrived at the task. 

    6. Know Yourself

    Another great tip for completing your 5K is to know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to where and when you do your miles. 

    By breaking the 5k up into segments, you have the flexibility to do them whenever and wherever you choose, so keep yourself in mind when you make those decisions - and make the ones that will ensure you show up for success.

    Keep these things in mind when planning your activity:

    • Do you like running/walking indoors or outdoors better? You can decide between a treadmill in the air conditioning, a winding path next to a river, a sandy walkway by the beach, or whatever best suits your mood and the weather where you live. Pick the one that you will most enjoy and motivate you to arrive.
    • The time that you plan to venture out matters. If you’re usually a morning person, then running/walking first thing in the morning might be the smart move for you. Other people might function better after having breakfast, or even in the evening or at the end of the day. Though you should aim for all day movement, when it comes to actual physical activity like running/walking, pick the time where you’ll have the most energy and motivation. 
    • Like with any other activity that you do, make sure you dress for success! Only you know what you are most comfortable walking or running in, and it goes without saying to make sure you’re wearing the most supportive shoes for the task at hand. 

    7. Write It Down! 

    As our final tip for completing a 5K, make sure you record your journey and also write down any future goals you have after completion. 

    After completing a physical challenge like a 5K, you’ll likely have a surge of energy and the drive to see what else you can accomplish. While you’re riding that wave of excitement, make sure you write down your next goal or goals. Research shows that when you write down things you hope to achieve, you have a much better chance of following through with accomplishing them. 

    Don’t let the pride and accomplishment you feel from completing your 5K be wasted. Use it to ensure you stay on track with your overall health and fitness goals for the year. 

    What’s next on your list to conquer after crossing your own personal finish line? Let us know in the comments, below! 

    Written by:

    Sierra Rodriguez

    310 Nutrition - Nutritionist & Health Coach

    Sierra Rodriguez is a Nutritionist and Health Coach for 310 Nutrition helping to educate and motivate individuals to live their best, healthiest lives. She graduated with a Bachelors of Nutrition Sciences from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and continues her studies pursuing her BSN, RN at Roseman University. Sierra [...]

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