How to Run your first 5 Kilometers for “Dummies”

Color Run / Mike Boening Photography (Flickr)
Color Run / Mike Boening Photography (Flickr)


Color Run / Mike Boening Photography (Flickr)
Color Run / Mike Boening Photography (Flickr)

       Stay in shape is not always easy when you are a moneyless student. Fitness rooms can be difficult to afford and college teams are not always accessible if you don’t do well in a particular sport. Running remains the most simple and cheapest way to keep your body healthy. But motivation can be hard to find when you are a new runner.

The usual objective for a new runner is to run 5 kilometers. A beginner will need around 40 to 45 minutes to achieve the goal and someone who trains regularly will need less than 30 minutes. If you have never been running or haven’t exercised for a while, clothes and shoes have to be your main concern. A decent pair of running shoes cost at least 30€ but it is important to find the one that will suit you the best. My experience showed me that blister or sprain can occur fast if your shoes are not good enough for the physical activity. In terms of clothing there is no particular gear that you need. Clothes will depends essentially on the weather. At any time you should have a bottle of water with you and colourful clothes in order to be visible to other people, bicycles and cars. Women should also consider buying a special bra to reduce breast movement.

Even if 5km seems to be a short distance for some people, warming up is mandatory. Every run has to start and end with a 5 minutes walk. Stretching after exercise is also important in order to avoid muscular pain. Don’t forget to drink water to hydrate your body but not too much. Once you are ready, put your headphones, your favorite playlist and go.

Walk, run or both

If you don’t think you can run 5km on your first try, this is normal. But don’t despair. Active walking is also a very good way to train. Thanks to it, your body can get used to physical activity again and get prepared for a run. Robbie Purcell, president of Griffith’s student union as a few advices for new runners: “Take your time. If you’re starting with a running buddy, don’t start racing when you start. The amount of breaks you take will only make the thoughts of running bad and you’ll stop running altogether. Go at a pace that is a little faster than walking and ignore the voice in your head telling you to stop and take a break haha sounds hard but it’s possible“.

The more you exercise, the less you will feel the need to walk instead of running. “Build your distance slowly. Don’t think your Mo Farah the first run and do 10km. Start with 1km runs or 10 minutes. Each time you increase your distance you’ll feel better about yourself and it’ll be better  for you in the long run“, said Robbie.

Many people disagree about the time you need to run in order to burn calories. Some will say 20 minutes and some others 40 minutes. Studies have shown that the body starts burning fat from the very beginning of the physical activity. The more you run, the more you will loose especially stored fat. The fitness coaches all agree that intensity is the key to a good training. Alternating jogging with a few sprints will help you to evolve faster. Finally, the last advice if you want to run your first 5 kilometers is regularity. With two or three training per week, you will need less than two or three month to achieve your goal. 

Run connected

Many apps have been created in order to help you on your way. Here is my top 5 (available on the Apple Store and Android)

1- Runstatic

2- Nike +

3- Run Zombie Run

4- Runkeeper

5- Couch-to-5K

If you are not convinced yet, have a look to this video:

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