5 Tips For Running Your First 5k

Two women running for exercise

I finally sucked it up, folks. I finally sucked it up and signed up and ran my first 5k in the beginning of September this year.  The company I work for works a lot with the United Way here in Paducah, and so many supervisors, mine included, work throughout the year to schedule events and raise money. So, when I started in late August, I saw the sign. It was a bulletin advertising the United Way 5k in Historic Downtown Paducah.  As I have mention in previous posts, I love Downtown.  The library is down there, for one thing, my kettlebell club is located in Downtown, there are amazing restaurants and antique shops, the flood wall murals, and the architecture is gorgeous. So why wouldn’t I want to run my first 5k in a place that I love so much? So I signed up, paid my $35.00 fee on race day, and ran my first 5k in 36 minutes and 45 seconds, two minutes off of my practice 5k runs in the few weeks before.

Many people might read this and dismiss it because they have already ran a 5k, hell they may have already ran a marathon.  But I feel that most people usually look back on their first races fondly and the running/walking/any activity community is very supportive of each other.  It’s quite refreshing getting a high off of someone else’s running experience and then feeling enough excitement that you run better and get your own high. Pretty soon everyone is running around high as a kite…on endorphins that is, AND confidence.  For example, Monday during my lunch break I was reading my Women’s Running magazine, and I got so pumped about running that even though it was pitch black dark on the country roads by the time I got home, I still managed to run! I also kind of liked that it was dark so that when The B-52’s came on, I was shaking my ass while running uphill…don’t ask how I was able to do it, I think it’s because I have a lot of junk in the trunk…plus he sings to “knock a little louder, sugar!”

Imagine the confidence you feel when shaving time off of your general runs on race day while simultaneously providing support for you community and the charities surrounding you! It’s wonderful!

So today, in honor of everyday fitness for the United States of America, I wanted to share some of my personal tips for how I prepared to run a 5k and maybe some of these will work for you.


This is the BIGGEST step for most.  I have been an on-and-off runner for the past five years. Meaning, I was running consistently for years until I had sacroiliitis about three years ago, which was really painful and I had to even stop walking at one point because my left leg would go numb and my ankle would give out on me.  I suffered through it for three months. So when I finally got healed I was really nervous about running again. So instead, I went back to walking (which was my first and true love).  But, I had to start back up very slowly.  So it has only been the last year and half that I got back into running again.

The point is, some of you may already run 3.1 miles on a regular basis and just need to improve your time, and some of you may use signing up for a 5k as motivation to start running.  But it can seem intimidating to some, I know it was for me!  So take the big step and sign up! If you’re feeling a little nervous about it, make sure you give yourself some time for training.  If anything, think about what cause you’re running for! It’ll make you happy and it’ll motivate you to want to do your best.


Everyone starts in different places, but whether you’re signing up for a 5k race or a marathon, or starting at beginner, intermediate, advanced levels, you should train for a race.  The reason I say this is because you may run on side walk pavement that is straight on a regular basis, but you might be running a race that is full of hills, maybe gravel, mud, or it maybe hotter than usual or a different time.  I run, now, on hilly paved roads out in a rural area and my first 5k was in Downtown and was straight and flat…my time was definitely shorter during the race because I wasn’t having to run up four steep hills like I was used to.  It never hurts to be prepared.  If you’re already a runner, then you might come up with your own training program. But if you need a training program to get you started, or just to see where you are at in distance or how long you can run, then these 8 week training programs from Runner’s World magazine are the shizzle. They have one for every runner. Plus, training will help you build up distance and avoid injury.


I made the dumb ass choice of staying up until midnight watching Pitch Perfect 2.  Do I regret it? NO. Did it make it hard for me to get up and go and possibly even effect my running time? yes. You need to be on top of your game. Even if you are like I was for my first race, which is I wasn’t focused so much on beating anyone in the race, just finishing period, you still want to feel ready to go.  I had to drive twenty five minutes to the 5k destination, and because I was tired, I came close to talking myself out of going.  But I wanted to be stronger than that and pushed on.


Make sure you drink plenty of water the night before and the hours  before a race. You’re going to thank yourself later.


When race day comes, don’t pressure your self, push yourself and let all negative thoughts go away.  Breath. Push. Run.

what are some of your favorite running/walking tips or stories?


4 thoughts on “5 Tips For Running Your First 5k

  1. I haven’t run is so long! I definitely need to get back into it. Whether you run a 5k or a marathon though it’s the fact that you are out there supporting a cause and surrounded by amazing people!!


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