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Guest: Tips to Keep You Confident When Running Your First 5K, by Charlene Roth

Tips to Keep You Confident When Running Your First 5K

5K (or 3.1 miles) is a perfect distance for racers to have some fun while keeping fit. Anyone can manage the race by learning the basics and following a training program. If you are looking to shine in a forthcoming 5K, here are a few tips to keep you confident to the end.

Select Comfortable Running Gear

The primary factor when selecting your running outfit is comfort. Select breathable outfits for both training and race day, so you can wear something you’re used to when the big event arrives. It will save you the agony of dealing with unforeseen challenges. 

Similarly, GQ points out your footwear must be comfortable and supportive if you don't want to end up with blisters or injuries. To avoid the problems of an incorrect fit, don't head to your race with new running shoes. You don't want to develop sores during the run or have to deal with foot complications after the event. 

Last but not least, get a pair of headphones to help you stay motivated while you work out. Regardless of whether you listen to music or the latest podcast, headphones can help keep your head in the game when you’re training. There are different types to choose from, from earbuds to over-the-ear headphones, and many feature Bluetooth technology so you don’t have to worry about wires getting tangled while you’re training.

Baby Steps Ramp Up Confidence

The biggest challenge for new runners is regulating their pace. The completion time for experienced 5K racers is usually 20 minutes or less. However, you shouldn't aim for the top position if you are a first-timer, and it will take time before you build up the speed and endurance for that kind of race. However, remember not to lose sight of the process. 
Keep your focus, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to accomplish this goal right away. This is good advice for building confidence, both in and outside of the race. Don’t engage in negative thinking and self-criticism that wastes time and doesn’t support your fitness program. Saying things like “I’m so slow” or “I can’t do this” will get in the way of your success. 

Before jumping into your first 5K, consider taking part in smaller races and events. This will help you get used to the feeling of running in a competitive environment and will also give you a chance to practice your race-day strategy. Once you feel comfortable with smaller races, you can start building up to your first 5K by doing longer runs. Aim to do at least 15-20 minutes of continuous running before your first 5K, gradually increasing your distance as you get closer to race day. With a little preparation, you'll be ready to take on the challenge of your first 5K race.

Home Atmosphere Affects Your Attitude

Going along with your confidence levels, remember that your attitude is closely linked with your home environment. You can give yourself a big boost by optimising your home for positivity. Simple changes like reducing clutter, letting in more natural light during the day, and snagging a few houseplants can greatly improve your home’s atmosphere, and simultaneously help you develop a better race day attitude.

Train for the Race

Mayo Clinic recommends a seven-week minimum to prepare properly for your race.

Consider taking interval training sessions for several days before the race-day to avoid quick exhaustion. It will help you to endure high speeds for more extended periods. Work up to the speed and distance gradually, so you don’t injure yourself before race day. 

If you’re struggling or you hit a wall in your progress, one suggestion is to hire a personal trainer. These professionals can help you avoid injuries, stay motivated, and learn how to push yourself. Check references and find someone you can communicate with comfortably because it won’t help if you dread your workout. It’s also a good idea to do some cross training.

Final Thought

Preparation and attitude play a crucial role in your overall performance. Being a beginner, don't stress yourself with winning the 5K, or even having a personal best time. The main thing is to focus on how far you’ve come, and that you are successfully competing at your first 5K.

by Charlene Roth

Author and Founder of

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