Running has really taken off in the past few years. More and more people of all ages are turning to running as a form of exercise and stress relief, so we're often asked for advice to help get them into good running shape. Here are our top tips for running your first 5K to get you going.
Tips For Running Your First 5K
Many of us will set a goal of completing a 5km run or charity run during the year. But it may have been some time since we've actually put on our running gear and hit the pavements. This post is for anyone who is thinking of, or making their first steps towards running their first 5K. Here are some useful tips for running your first 5K... and actually enjoying it!
Set a Goal
The importance of setting yourself a goal is often written and spoken about. Why you ask? Well it gives you a target to work towards and helps measure your progress. So for instance, when setting your goals for your 5k, break it down into milestones/objectives.
Build Up Slowly
You’re not going to run 5k in your first session, trust me. When starting your programme you need to build up your cardiorespiratory endurance also known as aerobic capacity. The best approach to improve your aerobic capacity is to run in intervals. For example, run for 30 seconds and then walk for one minute and repeat. Slowly build up your running time and before you know it you will be running for the entire distance.
Have the right gear
Let’s face facts; running puts a lot of stress on joints, bones and muscles especially if you are running on hard surfaces like footpaths and roads. To reduce the stress on your body and reduce the chance of injury, invest in a good pair of running shoes. Good running shoes are comfortable and they will allow you to enjoy your running even more!
Often overlooked by many, hydration is key to your success. I can promise you that your hydration levels, good or bad will affect your running performance. Hydrate before, during and after. Don’t consume the sugar overloaded energy drinks that you see every sports star promoting. Many of them are full of sugars and packed full of empty calories.
Hydrate with good old fashioned water or nature's very own energy drink, coconut water! Coconut water is packed full of electrolytes and potassium making it the ideal option for some pre-running hydration.
Nutrition is key
Think of your body as a finely tuned race car. What fuel would you use? Would you go for the high grade performance fuel or low grade, questionably sourced and inferior quality fuel? Exercise and nutrition work hand in hand. You need a good balance of both to succeed in your 5k endeavour.
Try to include wholefoods, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits and nuts in your daily diet and reduce the intake of processed, high fat, high sugar and salt rich foods. A good rule of thumb is if it doesn’t look natural, it probably isn’t!
Optimise your recovery
It’s so easy to forget or neglect your recovery. You need to be smart with your recovery time. It’s during this time your body repairs and grows. We have some essential advice to maximise your recovery.
Firstly, your body needs the right raw materials to repair and rebuild. There are three key areas of the body which require attention after a tough running session: muscle breakdown, joint stress and energy depletion.
How to deal with muscle breakdown
Foods and supplements can help your muscles recover faster. Protein is essential as it is an important component of every cell in the body. The human body uses protein to build and repair tissue. After exercising, you may feel muscle stiffness and soreness. This gradual increase of discomfort is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
To help your recovery, you need to consume a good source of protein from lean meat, fish, nuts or protein powders. A protein shake or smoothie is perfect after running as it is the perfect delivery system for essential protein. We stock several protein powders suitable for vegans and vegetarians - see them here.
Protect your joints
Running places a lot of pressure and stress on the joints. To help your joints to recover and stay strong there are essential food supplements that help to support optimal joint health. At Evergreen.ie, we would recommend taking supplements such as Omega Oil, Glucosamine, Magnesium, Chondroitin, Ginger Extract, Calcium, Turmeric or a Joint complex supplement to ensure your joints are getting the nutritional support they need.
One joint supplement complex I would highly recommend is the Revive Active Joint Complex which provides all round joint support.
Keep your fuel tank topped up
We get our energy from the food we eat, with low energy levels our performance will be reduced and your run times will suffer. Less is more, is a good approach when training for a 5K. Please do not carb load before your runs. Remember you are running a 5K, you’re not competing in an extreme endurance race or marathon.
Try introducing energy rich snacks and meals. We have a large selection of energy rich foods which are great for those looking for a healthy option. You have to try some of our Beetit shots, gogi berries, organic nuts, 9Bars, Bounce energy balls to name just a few. View our most popular energy bars here and sports supplements.
Keep a record of your runs and your performance
Another of our top tips for running your first 5K is to keep a log of your runs and performance. This will help you keep you motivated, plus it's always nice to see progress. If you don't fancy a manual log, you can always download the likes of RunKeeper app.
This app allows you to set goals, record distances, your speed, calories burned and your run times. It’s a great way to help you keep motivated, set goals and measure your performance. Sometimes we are our own biggest critics. We can forget how far we have come, so keeping a record will help you see the progress you have made. Enjoy your running.
Please note, this blog is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice.
It’s always best to consult your doctor before taking any new supplements, treatments or remedies if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication.
Checked and updated: 4 August 2021