March 10, 2018

Seven Tips for a Successful 5K Race

By Tiffany K. Gust BS, USAT, FMSC

Have you ever considered doing a 5K race/event but didn’t know where to start? Most people aren’t even sure how long that distance is. Well… it’s 3.1 miles, and most races or events allow walking, strollers, or even dogs on a leash (when selecting a race check if this is a deal breaker for you). It’s a great way to get motivated and earn a sweet metal and cool looking shirt.


Tip #1 Where to start?

  • Commit to a race
  • Plan when you will train (before work, lunch hour, after dinner, etc.)
  • How many days a week can you commit to training?
  • Find a plan that fits your schedule


Tip #2 Increase your mileage or time by 5-10% per week

You will want to start slowly, especially if you have been sedentary. Depending on your fitness level and how your body is adapting to the workouts, you could increase your mileage by 5-10% each week. This will help prevent injury and allow you to recover between workouts.


Tip #3 To prevent injuries do dynamic stretches before your workouts.


Tip #4 Practice proper running form

Running form is unique to the individual, but can be improved upon. Some general form tips:

  • Run tall without a pronounced forward lean
  • Don’t look at your shoes as you run; look toward the horizon
  • You can run faster by increasing your stride turnover, not by overreaching with each stride
  • On up hills, shorten your stride, and drive more with your arms.
  • Try to maintain an even effort, not pace
  • When running downhill, let gravity work for you by leaning slightly forward


Tip #5 Stretch after your workouts



Set three goals. This will allow you more ways to feel success than setting just one goal.

  • Time based
  • Have Fun
  • Finish and feel good
  • When you set one goal, you have only one way to feel success. When you set multiple goals, you set yourself up to celebrate the accomplishment.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Enjoy the journey and allow yourself to celebrate your milestones along the way.


After your race… NOW WHAT?

  • Celebrate your success and challenge yourself to keep the habit of moving daily. This will help you keep the fitness and self-confidence gained during training. Perhaps sign up for another race to keep the momentum going.
  • I double dog dare you.

Resources for a 5k running plan:


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