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Six Awesome Tips for First-Time Runners Training for a 5K

The Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon is the largest marathon weekend east of Ottawa, with more than 14,000 runners and walkers expected this year.

With this incredible event just around the corner, newbie runners should get encouraged this year and take up the challenge of participating in one of the events; either 5K, 10K, the half or full marathon. For those who have always thought about taking part, now is a great time to do it! While longer runs can seem daunting for beginners, they are achievable especially if you start with a reasonable challenge like the 5K!

Here are a few tips to help you start training for the 5K:

  1. 1. Get the Right Gear

Getting the right running shoes for your foot type is crucial for comfort and injury prevention. Visit a specialty running store to get expert advice on buying the right running shoes. An important fit is as important as the right shoe. To fit properly, your shoe should allow a thumbnail’s space between the end of your big toe and the shoe.  In terms of what to wear, make sure you have comfortable clothing and dress in layers to adjust for changes in weather and your body temperature.

  1. 2. Set a Realistic Baseline for your Fitness Level

If it’s been a while since you’ve been active, ease into the process of running by starting with walking for two weeks. Advance to a combination of running and walking that is challenging, but not too difficult that you want to give up. Commit to running three times a week at minimum, giving yourself a day in between runs to recover or crosstrain. Training on a treadmill is still “running”, but consider an incline of “1” as your “0” and be sure to run outside at least once per week to prepare for the event.

  1. 3. Learn about Proper Running Techniques

Running with good technique can help you run more comfortably, conserve energy and prevent injuries. Don’t assume just because running is “natural” for humans that you are running with good form. Check out these videos  for running form techniques and other useful information.

  1. 4. Get Excited & Get Motivated!

Training with a friend and following a training program can help to motivate you to keep going. There are several beginner 5K training programs online. Make sure you find one that matches your fitness and experience level. Also, using music while running and tracking your progress in a running log can help to motivate you to keep going.

  1. 5. Get Signed up

The registration process for the Blue Nose Marathon has started – make the commitment and register for the event to help you stay motivated during your training.

  1. 6. Check with your Doctor

If you aren’t regularly participating in vigorous activities, make sure to visit your doctor for a physical exam. Getting assessed is a priority because your doctor will identify any potential health issues or existing conditions that could affect your running plan. Once you get the thumbs-up, find a friend to train with.

What are you waiting for? Register now – thank yourself later.

Doctors Nova Scotia has sponsored the Youth Run event of the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon since its inception in 2004. Last year’s Youth Run saw more than 3,800 kids, many of whom were celebrating having completed a virtual marathon as part of the Doctors Nova Scotia Kids’ Run Club.

Here is a list of other running events taking place throughout Nova Scotia.

Do you have a favourite event/race? Tell us about it in the comments!