Your First 5K Race

If you have never run in a 5K race, the task can seem daunting. However, it is not beyond reach if you set realistic, incremental goals and make steady progress. The same logic applies to a 10K race, or half marathon, or even a marathon. Working towards any of these goals will improve your overall fitness level.

In his book Fit or Fat?, Covert Bailey used the acronym FIT to remind his readers of fitness goals. F is for frequency. Exercising five times a week is better than three times a week. I is for intensity. Jogging is better than walking. T is for time. 30 minutes is better than 15 minutes. However the most important thing to remember is that it is all good, and it is all better than sitting on the couch complaining about being overweight.
If you are out of shape, the best way to begin preparing for a 5K race is to give up on the idea that you have to run all of it. You can alternate between running and walking at any pace that you can survive. Start by walking and jogging every other minute, then see if you can work up to two minutes of jogging to one minute of walking.

You will enjoy cardiovascular benefits any time you can increase your heart rate for fifteen minutes or longer. So why not start with a simple but manageable fifteen-minute workout that alternates between walking and jogging every other day? From there, you can increase your fitness level all three ways. You can add frequency. Some runners and joggers aim for every day, but many others recommend taking off at least one day per week. You can add intensity by jogging more and walking less. You will find that you can build momentum here. Adding time is obvious, but be careful not to risk injury by adding too much too soon.

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