A Beginner’s Guide to 5K Success

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There are many good reasons to start running, but it takes some effort to make cardio more than just a jog on a treadmill before a workout. Running can boost your endurance and stamina and, for weightlifters, the cardio can be a great way to stay active on your off days. From fitness trackers to running buddies, it’s easy to adopt various methods when working toward 5K success. Here are a few ways to get started:


Pick a Goal

Whether you are starting to run to supplement your lifting or strength-training routine or you want to shed a few pounds quickly and effectively, you can encourage your commitment to running by picking a goal. Signing up for a race is one of the easiest and most effective goals. Start with a 5K, which is a little over three miles. Running three miles straight is a challenge, but it’s one that can be achieved with a training plan. Since three miles isn’t a huge distance, this type of goal won’t take over your life or take away from other fitness goals. It’s a great complement to an overall fitness routine that lacks cardio.


Track Your Progress

You will be more likely to enjoy running if you are able to see—and celebrate—your progress as you work toward improving your speed and distance. Using a smartwatch can help you track your miles, pace, and progress, which allows you to make efforts for improvement that will really impact your 5K training success. There are a lot of options out there for fitness trackers that can help you meet your goals on any budget; here are just a few to consider:

  • Apple Watch Series 5: Apple’s up-and-coming smartwatch can help you feel confident running any time of day and on any terrain, with features like an ECG and emergency alert system. 
  • Garmin Forerunner 945: If you’re not an Apple fan, you can turn to this smartwatch for its good battery life. It even comes with a round-trip course generator.
  • Free running apps: Couch-to-5K helps you train for an upcoming race in just nine weeks. Other apps like Map My Run and Runtastic perform more “basic” but still useful functions like distance and calorie tracking.


Cross Train

Hiking, biking, swimming, skiing—these are all terrific ways to stay in shape. Chances are you have at least tried all of these, and some you love more than others. Pick your top three and make those your focus on cross-training days. Or you can do a 30-minute workout in your living room instead, incorporating a variety of exercises like jumping jacks, lunges, and planks. Adding in a day for yoga or pilates can help you prevent injury and protect your body from muscle damage, which is important for both lifters and runners. Cross-training is also a great way to break through plateaus and overcome bouts of boredom that can often accompany a 5K training plan.


Get a Running Buddy

Running with a friend has similar benefits to working out with a partner. First, when you are out jogging together, safety isn’t as much of a concern. If you are running trails or long distances, you can rely on your running buddy to help you if an injury occurs. Second, running together helps you stay accountable to your goals. Try to find someone willing to sign up for the same 5K race. You’ll push a little harder and a little farther when you run with someone holding you accountable to your training plan. And finally, a running partner can keep you motivated, so you aren’t tempted to skip a morning run when you want to sleep in on a Sunday morning. Knowing someone is relying on you to get up and get going can keep you from talking yourself out of achieving your goals. 


Training for a 5K might be easier for people where fitness is already a priority, but sticking to it is another matter. It doesn’t have to be hard, but it does have to be planned. Keep your motivation high so your running stays strong and you cross that 5K finish line with a smile on your face. 

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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