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Guest Article by: Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
Budget-Friendly Ways to Train for Your First 5K
If you’ve decided to sign up for a 5K race, you’ve made a good decision. Training for and running this roughly three-mile trek is a great way to quickly get in shape, support charities, make friends and so much more. Plus, 5Ks don’t require you to spend a lot of money.
Whether you’re just starting to run again after a long hiatus, or you’ve never run more than a half-mile in your life, training for a 5K race can be challenging. But training is also the most beneficial part of the whole process, and doing it well is what will help you achieve your goals. That’s why we’ve put together this list of cost-effective tips to help you prepare and make the most of your 5K experience:
Gear up through promo codes.
When you start running, having the right gear is critical for staying healthy and avoiding injury. Buying gear can also be the most expensive part of running, which is why it’s important to find deals before you make a bunch of purchases. Look for Rakuten Coupons, promo codes, or cashback opportunities on anything from running shoes to technical socks and clothing.
Sign up as early as possible.
When you sign up for a race early on, it can help motivate you to start training and give you more time to prepare. The act of signing up alone moves you from talking about running a 5K to committing to it. Local races are typically easy to find, registration is usually free or inexpensive (expect anywhere from $5 to $40), and portions often go to charity. If you currently pay for a gym membership, canceling it can help you to cover the cost of registration (and maybe even other costs like gear).
Set a healthy goal.
For your first race, try to think of yourself as the only competition. If you’re not an experienced runner and your race is coming up in a few weeks, it may not be a good idea to shoot for a 20-minute finish time. Instead, focus on improving during training, preventing injury, staying healthy and doing your best. This will set you up for success and help you avoid hefty medical bills.
Find the right training program.
A 5K race generally takes 15 to 45 minutes to complete. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a very short amount of time compared to the training leading up to the event, which is why most benefits come from training. If you research online, you can find countless training programs for 5K races—some of which are free. Find one that challenges you, but make sure it’s realistic. Your training program should motivate you to get fit and have fun, not discourage you.
If it’s been a long time since you engaged in any physical activity, shoot for 20 to 30 minutes of jogging/walking three times a week. From there, you can gradually increase your pace and add a day—then two—to your weekly regimen.
Stretch before and after running.
Finally, stretching before and after your runs will go a long way in preparing your body and avoiding injury. As part of your pre-run routine, do dynamic stretching, which includes movements like walking lunges, high knees and butt kicks that help to get your blood flowing and prepare your muscles and joints. After each run, cool down by walking for a few minutes and doing static stretches for your hamstrings, quadriceps, back, hip flexors and groin. You can get ideas for stretching on free apps like Flexibility, Stretching Sworkit and Kaia.
Running a 5K race comes with tons of benefits, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Be sure to get all the gear you need, and register for your race early. Also, make sure your goals and training program are challenging but realistic, and stretch appropriately before and after each run. Most of all, enjoy the journey of preparing for your first 5K, and don’t look back!