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Here are tips to help you get ready for your first race.

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Whether walking is your activity of choice or you have progressed to jogging or running, 5K races are the perfect entrance into the world of organized races. At 3.1 miles in distance, these events aren’t out of reach for those relatively new to exercise. They’re doable, motivating, fun and rewarding. These events give you something to work towards and also provide you with a sense of accomplishment so you can see how far you’ve come since you first started.

“Exercise is good for overall health and well being. My recommendation would be to start off slow, for example, 15-20 minutes of exercise 4-5 days a week, then build up to a goal of at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. There are many benefits to exercising regularly. Exercise helps lower blood pressure, improve joint pain, lower cholesterol levels, and increase energy levels. Other positives to exercise are weight loss, better sleep quality, and improving mental health. I would also suggest that you increase your water intake when exercising.”

-Katherine K. Marcel, MD, Internal Medicine

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your first race:

  • Choose a race. Select a race at least 2 months from now so you’ll have enough time to train. This will give you time to slowly increase your distance until you can cover the 3.1 mile distance.
  • Get some gear. You don’t need much gear to run, but you definitely need a supportive pair of shoes. You’ll also need comfortable clothes. A pedometer or fitness tracker can motivate you by tracking your progress.
  • Make a plan. If you’re currently walking, start gradually increasing the amount of time you walk. If you want to run, add short intervals of increased speed during your workout. Gradually increase how far or fast you go as you build stamina.
  • Don’t forget to rest. Take days off during training to give your muscles time to recover. If you don’t incorporate proper rest in your training plan, you may burn out or get injured.
  • Listen to your body. If you have aches or pains, feeling light-headed or think something doesn’t seem right, stop what you’re doing and rest or get medical help.

Of course, if it always a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning any new physical activity, especially if you have chronic health conditions.

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Date Last Reviewed: July 16, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

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