Your First 5K: 3 Steps to Success

Hello and Happy Thursday! As you know, I have done quite a few 5Ks over the past 3 years. So many I lost track. Who knew it would be something I would want/need to keep track of. Today I want to share three steps for a successful first 5K. Below is one of my 5K pictures. I actually had a hard time finding one. Apparently I need to make sure I get one at each race.

Glenneth Race

Three Steps to 5K Success

You’re going to do it – you’re going to tackle your first 5K walk. Good for you. Before you hit the pavement, prepare by getting the proper gear and learning about the right diet and training exercises. You’ll reach your goal with minimal aches, pains and injury.

Go Shopping (always a fun thing to do)

Here’s what you need:

  • Hair: Whether it’s short or long, you don’t want it to get in the way of your training. Thick head wraps stay in place and are super comfy.
  • Clothing: A pair of active pants is a necessity for training. You can pick the style (cropped, fold-over waist, etc.), but all that matters is that they fit comfortably and snugly and won’t ride up or fall down during training. Also, remember to stock up on sports bras and socks. We will talk more about how to choose an outfit based on the weather in a later post.
  • Shoes: Choose a pair of walking shoes that are comfortable and fit right. Too tight will pinch and hurt yours toes, and too loose will slip and give you blisters. Try the shoes on with the socks you are going to be wearing. These are my go-to shoes: Brooks Glycerin 10s.
  • Brooks Glycerin 10s
  • Gear: This stuff is optional, but it doesn’t hurt to have a good pair of headphones, a portable water bottle (that comes with a belt) and a pedometer to track your number of steps each day. This can be motivating and lets you know the days when you need to focus on going on a mini-walk after work to get your steps in.

Try to hit a big retailer like Target (my favorite place to shop) to get all the above. That way, you don’t have to run all over town.

Diet (aka Eat Healthy)

A well-balanced diet is essential when you are working out. This means a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. A well-balanced meal includes a carbohydrate, protein, healthy fat and fruit or vegetable. Make sure that you are eating well-balanced meals that are portioned correctly and instead of sweet or salty snacks, grab fresh fruits and veggies.

Fruit Salad

Preparation is key here. Some people find it helpful to cook their meals on their day off and freeze them for easy access on the go. Also, wash your fruits and veggies and put them in to-go bags. When you’re hungry for a snack, they are easy to grab.


Do some simple stretches before and after every workout. If you watch TV at night, use the commercial breaks to get in some extra stretching.

If you’re a beginner, walk for 10 to 20 minutes and increase your time as you feel ready and comfortable. Depending on your activity level, train about five days a week with two days off. If you are feeling extra sore, take a resting day. You can find more information and a complete workout plan at

Last but not least, drink water. To stay hydrated, drink at least half your body weight in ounces.

Water in a Mason Jar

Easy, right? Now that you’ve got it all down, it’s time to hit the store and hit the road. If you have a history of injury or health conditions—or just have further questions—contact a physician to discuss. Happy training!

Are you training for a 5K? Do you remember your first 5K or race? Share some of your tips in the comments.

Have a healthy day!


3 Responses to “Your First 5K: 3 Steps to Success”

  1. SAVING as Ive never run a 5k and the child and I (I HOPE) are doing one in the spring at the OAKLAND RUNNING FESTIVAL!

  2. I love to walk in the autumn morning. I use a pedometer and try to get in at least 10,000 steps a day. Each 2,000-2,500 steps is about a mile. I love the exercise and I’ve lost almost 20 pounds. I got a great pair of insoles from Amazon called SmartSole Exercise Insoles that are really helping me with my walking. It has great arch support and a special gel in the heel that helps my legs from getting tired and sore at the end of the day. I put them in all my shoes.