5k Training for Beginners

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5k Training for Beginners

Have you always wanted to run a 5k, but not sure if you can? Does the thought of running intimidate you?

I’m here to tell you; you CAN do it!

Training for a 5k is simple – yet not entirely easy. You don’t need to run to lose weight, but the feeling of finishing a race is one that must be experienced.

Even as a beginner, you can be running a 5k in as little as 6 weeks. How?

Below, check out my Training Tips for A 5K for Beginners.

5k Training for Beginners

Training for A 5K for Beginners

Set your goal – and find a race

Figure out when you want to complete your race. Signing up was the first thing I did after decided I was going to run a 5k. (This is also what my significant other did to get himself back into running. And why I am running a 5k in two days – 6/1.)

Why do this?

Your goal is set! Sure, you could always change the date, but generally, once you signed up, you don’t back out. Especially if you’ve paid an entry feed. I suggest finding a race 3-4 weeks or 6-8 weeks out, depending on your fitness level.

You can find races in your community by googling, or by going to Active; which is my favorite place to find races in my area. While this service is FREE, you can become VIP for only $0.99 for your first month.

Get the Apps

Want someone to tell you when to run, when to walk, and when to stop? THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!

There are 2 apps I highly recommend getting:

  • Couch to 5k 

I still use the couch-to-5k app when it’s been some time since I’ve run for a consecutive amount of time, and when I am actively training.

The app has a specific training program to work your way up to running a 5k without stopping. Of course, you can start on whatever week you feel comfortable (depending on your fitness level) or start at the beginning.

When using this App, I started using it 3-4 times a week and decreased to 1-2 as the running intervals increased. But again, find what works best for you and your fitness level.

  • MapMyRun (we can be friends! let me know what your username is and I will search for you! : )

Underarmour has the best apps! I have most of them (MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun, MapMyWalk, etc.) These apps have a GPS that calculates your distance and time. 

Neither are that important unless you want to set PRs (personal records) or run your race within a specific amount of time. But, you do want to know how far you’re going each day. This is a great way to monitor your progress. 

Starting training for your first 5k – here are some tips for Training for A 5K for Beginners. Click To Tweet
Find your running spot

After signing up for your race, I would look at the map and see what the route looks like. It may be a hilly area, change in elevation, or completely flat. 

Once you have the layout and route, you can find or adjust your running spot to accommodate it. Why?

You don’t want to train on a flat service or a track if you are running on asphalt and there are massive hills. You’ll want to train on similar ground, especially if this is your first race, or it’s been a while since your last race.

My favorite spots are at the lake. There are trials, hills, flat asphalt, grass, and gravel. I also run on a boardwalk that is 100% flat. 

Treat and Prevent Injury

I am prone to shin splints. I also have bad knees. I take the right course of action when it comes to treating those injuries and preventing new ones. 

  • Stretch AFTER running, not before. You can find thousands of articles that say to stretch before, but I personally feel this can cause injury. I once heard a saying, “a cheetah doesn’t stretch before going for the kill.” And while morbid, quite true. Try either to find what works best for you! But stretching after feels AMAZING.
  • Foam Roll if you need to. This is PAINFUL but it’s a feel-good pain. 
  • Drinking plenty of water. Being dehydrated will cause muscle fatigue and you really don’t want that.
  • Listen to your body. There is soreness, and then there’s pain. If you’re in PAIN, slow down and walk, or take a rest day.
Tell your friends

A little accountability never hurts. Share your goal and plan with your family, friends, and co-workers. Many people have joined me on races because they had someone to do it with! So, you might find a buddy!

If you need some additional virtual accountability, sign up for my Fitness & Motivation newsletter. I will also email you fitness tips, workouts, and more! 

Keep Going

Whatever you do – don’t give up! If you only run for a total of 1 minute the whole time, THAT’S OKAY! Progress is progress. If you need to start just walking, that’s okay too!

Just don’t give up. Keep going. YOU GOT THIS!

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Let’s Chat

  • Are you wanting to sign up for your first 5k? GREAT! Tell me what motivates you!
  • What tips would you recommend for someone wanting to train for their first 5k?

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7 thoughts on “5k Training for Beginners

  1. Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict

    Great tips! I have never been a runner. I’ve tried doing intervals, but with COPD, I have a hard time getting enough air. I need to get back to at least walking. My legs are still swelling even wearing compression socks. The doctor really hasn’t helped me figure out what is wrong and my legs just feel too heavy. I might get better compression socks, maybe a different strength and see if that helps any. I need to get back to the treadmill!d

  2. Ashley

    I’m determined to get into a suitable state of fitness that I can actually run. I tried the Couch to 5K app a while back and it seemed to be working … then I gave up. Thank you for sharing these great tips, I really need to set myself a goal and stick to it! xxx

  3. Kim

    I did my first 5K Race a few years ago followed by a 13K muddy obstacle race later that year. It’s been over a year since I last when for a run, bad mental health, abuse ex relationship, etc and I just fell out of love with it. These are some great tips for getting started and I’ve just installed the Coach to 5K app so we’ll see. 🙂 I use Strava to track my walks and runs.

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