The 5K Jones

The 5k aka 3.1 miles jones is real for me. The interest first started back in the college days when our student organizations would volunteer at the Race for the Cure in Dallas. Seeing these people getting up at crazy hours in the morning (in cold weather mind you) to go run a 5k peaked my interest but never to a point of action. To add to that I hadn’t run three miles since dinosaurs roamed the earth 2003 so I wasn’t in any shape to go out there and run how I wanted to.

Well fast forward to 2009 with graduation from school and no future permanent employment, I took the stress out on a local track by running a couple miles here and there.

From there I was hooked. I began looking up local trails and parks to hit for a good run and even ran some random places where I’d seen people running previously. Since 2010 I’ve done roughly about 6 or so races a year with my all time favorite being the Run Proud for Dessert where they served cupcakes and other random sweets from vendors (yes it is counterproductive but is for a very good cause). I don’t claim to be a running expert but here are a couple of tips:

1. Pick a race (a fun one at that) and REGISTER

By picking a race you’re starting your proverbial clock. It’s real. You put your money into something and generally no one likes wasting money. On the same note however pick a fun race so you can ease into it. The first race I ran was in the Arlington Highlands and it was decked out with vendors and entertainment. A race like that will give great vibes and make for a fun day. There is usually a 5k going on somewhere every weekend and Run On has a plethora listed on their website.

2. Train! Train! Train!

Training is very important because you’ll get to know how your body handles running longer distances. The easy way to start is just trying to do continuous runs starting at 15 minutes and working your way up to 30 or 40 minutes to build stamina. Again as you work yourself thru those runs you’ll be able to tell when you start feeling tired, when you do you actually catch that second wind, and how far distance you are covering (this is assuming you run at a local track or trail where you can keep track of the distance). Once you work your way thru these workouts you can mix it up with fartleks ( for example jog 4 minutes, pick up the pace 1 minute, until you reach your desired time) or another one I’ve tried is 12 400’s with 30 second breaks in between. Mixing it up will definitely help in the future you don’t feel burned out.

3. Bring a friend(s)

Whether supporting or actually running, having a friend will definitely make the process or race easier. When training you can push each other and have someone going thru the same pain you’re going thru. In addition after the race they’re usually are some type of giveaways, award ceremony, or even parties so having friends there again enhances the 5k experience.

That about wraps up the awesomeness of said 5k’s. If you have any experiences you’d like to share or questions drop them in the comment box.

D Shep