I Want to Run a 5K

Updated on November 01, 2011
L.A. asks from Redford, MI
23 answers

I've been thinking lately about doing something for myself, achieving a personal goal. I reached back into my dusty hope chest and pulled out my "wish I could" list. I've always wanted to run a 5k but never attempted it. I'm not in the best shape but I believe it would be such a rejuvenating accomplishment. I'm wondering if anyone has ever gone from meagerly active to 5k runner? How did you get started? Did you prepare and train on your own? How did you find a race? Is this a crazy idea for an out of shape 34 year old with two children under 5?

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answers from Saginaw on

I agree!! Just do it!! I began running a few years ago and used the couch to 5K running program (google it) and it was a great way to start! I also have friends that I meet and run or walk with or go to an exercise class to hold me accountable for going. Good luck to you!



answers from Des Moines on

Not a crazy idea - go for it!!

This summer I started running. I was mostly inactive and out of shape. I have a toddler too. But I decided I wanted to do it and started the Couch 2 5k program (look it up online) and it worked! It was a bit slow for me though, so I did it quicker. Definitely sign up for a race before you even start training - it's great motivation knowing that you have already committed to it. I trained on my own, in the evenings after son went to bed. After my first race, I was addicted and immediately signed up for a 10k. That was also a blast and then I decided I wanted to do a half marathon! Then I got pregnant and have decided to put that on hold for awhile, haha!

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answers from Colorado Springs on

No, it's not too crazy. It's only a little crazy, so that's all right.

You need to get an OK from your doctor first.

Do you belong to a gym? If you do, start working on your stamina as well as your strength. Those 3.1 miles are going to seem as long as a marathon course at first!

If you don't have a gym, you can still plan and train. Check out the C25K web site. They will give you reasonable assignments for each day. If you need to modify them, that's all right; it will just take a little longer.

You also want to look at what you're eating. You need healthy foods to give you the energy you'll need. Don't be afraid of good carbs.

What kind of shoes do you have? You need good athletic shoes AND good socks. They don't have to be the most expensive, but they have to be good quality. Is there a store in your area where they can look at your feet and your gait and recommend what would be best for you? (I'm basically a thrift-store person for clothing and shoes except for my athletic shoes. Then I'm willing to spend up to $100.00 - which isn't expensive, as you'll find out.)

Don't try to be trained in a week! Your children need you alive. Slow and steady is the way. Get someone to help you measure a one-mile distance inside your gym (say, so many times around the perimeter of the basketball court) or around your neighborhood. Then try walking a distance just far enough to be a little work for you. Try to improve on that bit by bit until you've worked up to a mile. When that seems comfortable, add on to it. If you can keep track of what you do every day, you will know when to reward yourself. Always take water with you when you practice.

Look online for a local runners' group that posts races coming up in your area. You can also ask where you buy your shoes. And... it's perfectly fine to WALK 5ks. It's a great way to start. You can add jogging/running as you can. A young mama friend of mine does her outdoor training with two children in a jogging stroller, which is great because it adds a bit of resistance (just a bit?).

For what it's worth, I'm much older than you are, and about as naturally active and athletic as a marshmallow, but I started doing 5ks and an occasional 10k three or four years ago. I'm out of it now because of an injury, but I hope to get back to it next spring. This pastime is definitely habit-forming! And it's fun. I feel SO good when I've finished a race (even though I'm always in everybody else's dust). And it's great to see moms and dads doing it with their children.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think there's a book called "Couch to 5K"?? I've never read it b/c I "taught" myself how to run. All my life I was a swimmer, but these days it's a lot easier to lace up a pair of sneakers and head out for a run than it is to find a pool, pay for entry.....

Here's what I did - I had a certain time in mind for each day I went out for a run. Usually it was 30 minutes. I would run 2 minutes, walk 5, run 2, walk 5. Next time out I might run 3 minutes, walk 5 (or 4, whatever) Keep slowly increasing the running time while you're decreasing the walking time. It took me a few months to get where I could easily run 30 minutes without walking! Now, I usually run about 45-60 minutes straight (and I LOVE it - well, OK, I don't love it every moment, but I LOVE how I feel when I'm done!) You can do it! Start slow and build up :)

EDIT - S'M - no disrespect, but a 5k in 25-30 minutes is actually pretty fast (IMO!!) That's under a 10 minute mile. 30 minutes for a 5k IS a great goal, but if it's your first you might want to set the bar a teeny bit lower (like, just finish it)

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answers from Chicago on

This is NOT a crazy idea. It's a wonderful idea. My sister ran the 5k with my daughter for Girls on the Run. She just increased her speed and length on the treadmill until she was doing the 5K and her timeframe was to do it in 45 minutes because, like I said she was running with my daughter - who was 8 at the time (GOTR is 3rd - 5th grade). I'm not sure what adult 5k timeframes are, but at Girls on the Run people will finish anywhere from like 30 minutes to an hour and 1/2.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Go for it!!! Since I have started running I have met so many other friends that also run and it helps to have people to share this with.

I'm 31 with a 5 year old and a 3 year old. I "sneak" in 3 runs a week, one on Wed, Fri, and Saturday. They should be spaced a day apart, but they are the only days my husband can watch the kids. I started running and walking a mile, then it got longer and longer. I run my long runs on Satudays and this past Saturday I ran 8 miles for the first time. I have done 3 5 K's and now I'm training for a half marathon in February. I started running in June of this year with little activity before that.

YOu just have to tell yourself that you want to do it. Get some "cute" running clothes. Load up your MP3 player with great songs. Find a running plan and hit the road.

Runnersworld.com has some great info. Mapmyrun.com is a great site to map out your run either before or after your run to see how far you've gone. If you have a smart phone then there are several great apps that will track your distance pace and time for you. Couch to 5 K is a great training plan and there are several others out there as well.

When you start out don't run too fast because you won't go very far. Work on your distance and then you can work on your time. Sign up for a 5 K as soon as you can run 3 straight miles...it will keep you wanting to run and sign up for more races. I have to warn you that it is super addicting!!! One last thing, decide when you want to run during the week and stick to it. Make it an appointment for you as "me" time. In the summer I ran every other day because my husband was home then. Now I have to work around his class schedule and even if it's raining on one of my running days I keep my running clothes of and run the minute there is a break in the rain.

That's all...good luck with it and pm if you have any questions :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Good for you!! You can do it. If following a program helps you, then pick one that someone's mentioned here. Otherwise, make up your own that works for you. If you do better with a workout partner, then find one.The important part is to get out there and just keep moving - walking/jogging/running. Then slowly push yourself to do a little more and a little more.

I was out of shape and I started by walking each day, then I bought a bike and started exploring my new city, then I started jogging a bit. Then I decided to run a full mile...and it didn't feel good, until I finished. I had only run 3 miles once when I ran my first 5k and the crowd kept me moving and it felt good, to finish. I trained by myself and I still run by myself (27 years later!). I'm still not fast (actually slower than ever now) and I don't run far (3-5 miles) but it's been great for my physical and mental health over the years.

It's OK to give yourself several months to work up to a 5K. You might want to pick a Spring race. Google should give you races in your area. Otherwise check with running clubs or organizations in your area. If you're going to be running outside in MI, you want to be sure to have the right clothing to stay comfortable in the cold, or that will be an easy excuse to stop! If you are running indoors, pick a place and times that will fit your life as well as possible.

Do not worry about times! Success is crossing the finish line!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

Woo hoo! Good for you! NOT CRAZY! Be proud of yourself for wanting to make a healthy change in your life and think of the example you'll be to your children. Instilling these values at there young ages is one of the best things you can do. I'd say just start walking and jogging then running. I haven't read the other posts, but I am sure some direct you to resources. There are so many apps and logs and blogs... Just look for them. And then keep that 5k as your goal. Goals help motivate. I just had to let you know that I am very proud of you. Just stop thinking and get doing!



answers from Rockford on

I have one thing to say on this...... GO FOR IT!!!! :-) I'm 47 with one child under 5, WAS out of shape, BUT, kicked myself in the butt & got out there & DID IT!! :) My advice to you is, if you feel you need to lose some weight, then by all means start eating a healthy diet & start exercising, slowly. I started Weight Watchers online back in March 2011 & started on a work out program to train for a 'non-competitive' 5K run/walk in June 2011. In March I could only run in 1 minute increment's, so I got on my treadmill and walked at a brisk pace & then began to run. I did a combination of walking/running & it began to build my endurance. I raced in June and came in 5th place of 400 people! I mostly walked the 5K. I'd also advise, if you can, try and do your walks/running outside to get used to being on pavement. I'd also pick a 5K that gives you at least 6 months to train for it. I have to tell you, this has been the BEST thing I have EVER done for myself. I have lost 54 lbs. and have the energy of a 20 y/o again! I'm a better Mom for it & all around centered person. I also completed the Komen Breast Cancer Run in Sept. and didn't have a great time, BUT, ran 2 miles of the 3.1! It's so much fun that I'm gonna keep doing this AND the 5K's really keep you focused! Good luck to you!!!!!!



answers from Lincoln on

You can do it!!! The best book I ever read was "Marathoning for Mortals". It has great tips in there even if you don't plan to do a 1/2 or full Marathon.

My tip for you would be to pace yourself. I was a couch potato who in high school thought that running the mile was cruel and unusual punishment. At 25 I started running and logging my runs. I ran my first 5K 2 weeks ago and my second 5K 2 days ago! But it I look back on my first runs they are what I would call wimpy now... 1/2 mile etc. Pace yourself. I trained too hard too soon and gave myself runners knee and couldn't run for 4 weeks. Remember to be educated on common injuries and remember to get fitted for good shoes. I started running in Wal Mart shoes and when I got new ones it was like heaven for my feet.

It can be done! I went from half mile runs to running 6 miles last week! Other Mamas have given you great tips, but half of it is mental. Believe you can do it and you can!! Good luck and keep us posted!



answers from Phoenix on

Not crazy!!! Look at active.com and you can find races in your area. Find one a few months out and look an on-line for a training program. The first few weeks, you might feel like it's not for you, but hang in there, it just keeps getting easier. My husband and I are currently training for our 1st marathon. I ran 14 miles yesterday and it was actually easy. You just work up to it. And let me tell you, I am not in excellent shape, not bad, but I don't have that runner's body that I would love to have.

I load books onto my MP3 player. I get so engrossed in the book, I just go! We aslo subscribe to Runner's World which is a great running magazine. It's a great magazine for even novice runners and for me, it keeps me motivated.


answers from Washington DC on

you bet you can! (and don't think you should do it in 25-30 minutes, that's REALLY fast. i ran my first 1/2 marathon earlier this month, and did a 5K 2 days ago that took me 35 minutes.) DON'T feel that you have to *run.* alternate jogging and walking. don't succumb to the pressure to 'compete.' you're there for yourself.
train steadily between now and then, vigorous walks with light jogging that have your heart rate up but not gasping for breath. you should be able to carry on a conversation, but not sing easily. take a day off (you can lift weights or do yoga, just not run) for every 2 days of training.
let us know how it goes!



answers from Tampa on

Excellent idea to bounce back to your pre prego size. Training for Suzan koman half marathon in November. Go for it!!!



answers from Los Angeles on

It is definitely not a crazy idea; 5k without training you could probably finish in about 25-30 minutes. I'm not sure how you would find one in your area, I'm in Los Angeles and there's no trouble at all finding one here. I would recommend doing a google search for 5k run/walk with you city name. Also try checking into your local shoe store see if they have a community board with upcoming community events (not chain stores like foot locker) as a last resort check with the local high school track coach for races open to the general public or a non-profit hosting a fundraising 5k. Enjoy and I encourage you to set a new goal after you achieve your present goal. After I had my son and got the medical clearance, I walked the LA Marathon 9 weeks after delivery (my time 7 hours 56 minutes).



answers from Detroit on

It is NOT crazy at all. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old and I am a marathoner. I had never even ran a single race in my life up until 3.5 years ago. I have always been a runner for exercise, but then didn't really do too much during my first pregnancy. I gained a lot of weight and was looking for a way to help get it off. My husband and I decided to do a half marathon! As I said, I had never even ran a 5k! We just googled half marathons and found a local race a few months out and then googled to find a training plan. We hung the plan up and went to work checking off our boxes every day. Long story short, it was an amazing experience. In the last 3.5 years I have ran 12 half marathons and 2 full marathons. I ran until 38 weeks with my second pregnancy and then ran two half marathons 12 and 14 weeks after she was born. It is not a crazy idea. It will get you in shape and set a great example for your kids. Google "Martian Marathon" and look into those races. It is in April and they have a full, half, 10k and 5k. It is in the beginning of April in Dearborn. It is a great time of year to have a goal race because you have to train through the winter months and so it keeps you motivated! Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

Yes, done it and nope you are not crazy. I am 36.
I didn't follow a program (though there are a bunch out there, both free online and books), I just started running (about two years ago).
I started out by picking a 5K route. 5K is really not very much, just about three miles. I started by walking the route at a good pace to build up just a little stamina and get used to being active (for about 2 weeks, 2-3 times a week).
Then I started running. As soon as I started to ache or get totally out of breath I would slow down to a walk, catch my breath and speed up again.

I was able to run the entire stretch after about 3 weeks and from then on I started just picking up my speed a bit. I am by no means fast (about 30-35 minutes for 5K) but it's fun and I am thinking about getting myself up to a half marathon maybe next year.

As for finding a race, just check local websites (like local news and events sites) or check in with a locally owned sports/running store. They usually know what's happening and when.


answers from Boston on

I agree.....couch potato to 5k worked well for a couple of friends of mine.



answers from Detroit on

I started running about 3 years ago. I am not that fast, I should say I am more of a jogger. You can find a lot of races through active.com I believe. Just google races in your area. Check out couch to 5k too,I never did it but I know a lot who have. When I started running I started out doing 1 mile, than trying to improve my speed on a mile than added 2 and so on. I just completed my first 10k back in May. It is an awesome feeling! Good luck



answers from Kansas City on

You should totally do it and yes, you will feel really good about it afterwards, even if you walk some or come in with more minutes than you wanted!

I used to be pretty in shape, but I was never a runner...then I got a little bit out of shape again! I decided this spring that I was going to do as many 5K as I could this summer and just do my best. I trained, but not really. I mean it wasn't hard core and I didn't follow any specific plan, but I have heard of that Couch to 5K book and heard it's good. I like to run on the treadmill, which I know is weird to some people but my personal theory is this...if I just decide to run outside I know I'll start slacking BUT if I run on the treadmill and put the speed up then I know I HAVE to run or I'll fall down...and no one wants that! ;)

Finishing a 5K in 30 minutes or less is a hefty goal...that's pretty fast. I ran 4 races I think this summer and I knocked about 3 minutes or more off my time each time, and I was really happy about that. I haven't made it in under 30 minutes yet, ( my last one was about 35 mins) but someday I hope to! Also the terrain of the course makes a difference on your time too. You might look at the course before you sign up and see if it's particularly hilly or not. Even hills that look small from your car take a lot more umpf than you think!

I would just google 5Ks in your area and a lot will probably pop up. You're getting close to the end of the season but there will probably be a Thanksgiving one and maybe a Christmas one in your area. I know the Arthritis Foundation does a Jingle Bell run in multiple cities and that is usually Nov or Dec.

Also, you may want to find a friend to run it with you. It really does help to have some one else to motivate you and run with you. Either way though, you can do it! I'm an out of shape 35 year old with 2 kids under 5 and I'm working on it every day! I'm hoping to do at least one more before the first of the year as well! Good luck, you'll do better than you think you will, I promise!



answers from Detroit on

This is totally achievable! Its not like you're striving for a marathon right off (26.2 miles), a 5k is 3.1 miles! You can do it! Start by walking the distance, or half the distance, daily. Then build up to running as much of it as you can. Give yourself several months to train for it (3-6 maybe).

As far as finding a race, you can google it and see what comes up.

Best wishes!



answers from Detroit on

I used the Couch to 5K program (there are phone apps for it) and it worked really well for me... I am NOT a runner but it got me able to jog 30 min without stopping. I found it very tolerable and never injured myself by doing too much too quickly (which I probably would have done had I not followed a program). I was a very, very out of shape 34 year-old with 2 kids when I did it, so I would think if I can do it, anyone can! :)



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi!!! I did the Couch-5K plan (you can find it on-line--just google it)...it was AWESOME!! It's a nine week plan. You only have to "work out" 3 days/week, 30 minutes tops. At first it is mostly walking. The first day is something like walk 5 minutes, jog 30 seconds, walk 2 minutes, jog 30 seconds, etc...it's a little difficult if you're completely out of shape but TOTALLY do-able!!!! It was the best thing I ever did. Ever since I completed the plan, I've been an avid runner (I even completed a full 26.2 marathon last year!) --before doing the plan, I was a couch potato. I hated the thought of running. I did it to lose some baby weight...and I ended up LOVING running!!! Don't forget to stretch after your 5 minute warm up walk and after you're done with you're work out. Obviously drink lots of water (before and after) and you'll do GREAT!!!!! :-) Good luck!



answers from Memphis on

Slow and steady and sign up for a race! Having a goal date will motivate you. I ran on my own and really slow, but I finished! Races Online.com. Not sure if it is just a local site but check it out! You can totally do it!

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