The First 3 Steps: Committing To Your First 5K

So you’ve decided you want to try running. Your doctor has given you a clean bill of health, and the only thing left to do is commit to the effort.

What? Commit? Other than thinking maybe I should BE committed, what are you talking about?

It’s one thing to promise yourself you’re going to do something new. Here are three steps you can take to solidify your goal and help you follow through:

1. Sign up.

The 5K race (3.1 miles) is the most popular and achievable distance for newbie runners. And there are usually quite a few of them to choose from. Is there one that comes to mind immediately? Do a search online for 5K races in your area.

I had heard for years about a local race called Moms on the Run. It looked like a fun community event and it supported a great cause. So before I could talk myself out of it, I went online, registered and paid for my first 5k. There. I was committed, and now I had three months to get in shape enough to run 3.1 miles.

2. Say it out loud

There are psychological studies showing that if you hear or repeat the same message three times, you will start to believe it. I had made the commitment to myself and to Moms on the Run. But so far, it was still a secret known only to me and the race organizer. I needed to say it out loud. And while that is a scary thought at first, it is a necessary step to help you get out of your own way.

I decided to test it first at the water cooler. My coworkers’ reactions could not have been better. with no sign of judgment or doubt, and in fact a glimmer of respect! So I definitely chose the right people to “reveal” my plans to!

Telling my husband was a tad more difficult – but only because he likes to analyze and is known to point out flaws in an idea, which had been discouraging to me in the past. To his credit, he didn’t do that with this bit of news. I’m not sure he was convinced that I was serious, but he never found any flaws with this goal. Now he is one of my biggest cheerleaders.

When I told my mother, she was surprised. She was familiar with my adolescent lament that P.E. class should be optional, not required; and that forcing students to run around the track was cruel and unusual punishment. So her initial shock was warranted. But, I’m fortunate to have a mom who believed and taught me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. As a matter of fact, she did HER first 5K a couple of years later, and now we sign up for races together whenever we can.

3. Start a plan.

Breathe a sigh of relief here; most 5K training plans don’t expect that you’ll start out running. In fact, most encourage walking in the beginning. It’s good to have a training plan that eases you into your distance so you don’t injure yourself. Find a race plan that fits you, your desired pace, and your schedule. Here’s a sample seven-week 5K training plan for beginners. I started out with a Zero to 5k training app on my iPhone; there are plenty of apps out there.

See? This commitment thing really isn’t so bad. Once you’ve taken these three steps, you’ll feel more attuned to your goal and you’ll be well on pace toward your first 5K!

Beginner 5K – 7-Week Training Plan

Congratulations on taking your first step to running a 5k! You can do it!  To get you started, here is a 7-week training plan written by Coach Lauren Evans.* +


The goals of this training plan are to:

  • get you fitter
  • reduce your chance of injury
  • keep it fun!

The main elements of this training plan are:

  • walking (W),
  • jogging (J), and
  • cross-training (XC), including activities such as bicycling, swimming, yoga or strength training, just to name a few.

W = Fast Walk (3.5 + MPH)
J = Jog.

With this plan, do not worry about your pace, just get used to jogging faster than walking pace.  Although it may look complicated at first, you will catch onto the variations in pace. You may also be happy to note that you are not expected to run right away.
*Lauren Evans has been working in the fitness industry since 2009. She has coached 100+ athletes of all ability levels and helped them achieve their goals. She is certified by the American Council on Exercise as a personal trainer and is currently obtaining her Level 3 certification with USA Track & Field, preparing her to coach national/Olympic level athletes.

Lauren and her husband, Ryan, are the owners of Fizio, a locally owned fitness center and athlete recovery lounge located at 400 Mill Street, Reno, NV. For more information about Fizio, please visit or stop by for a free trial day. If you are interested in a personalized plan or have any questions, please contact Lauren. Her email is:
+Please consult with your physician prior to beginning any training plan.

Never Tell Yourself You Can’t


One of the first things women around my age say about my running is some version of “Oh, I could never do that!.” Unless there is a glaring reason why not, my response is, “of course you can, if you want to!”

If you want to do something, never tell yourself you can’t.

I didn’t start running until I was 45. I had quit smoking the year before, after more than 25 years of the habit. When I was a smoker and would see women jogging in my neighborhood, I longed to feel well enough to do that. For all I knew, that kind of physical activity was unreachable. I just didn’t have the energy.

Now as a nonsmoker I did have the energy, and I gradually began to learn that I had the ability to do more than I ever would have imagined.

And I am not the only one to make this kind of discovery.

I have a friend who was critically overweight and had serious health issues well into her mid 50’s. She started exercising, lost over 170 pounds (“a whole person”, she used to joke!) and ran her first 5K race in her early 60’s. A few years after that, I saw her run her first half marathon.

Never tell yourself you can’t.

Author Molly Sheridan was 48 years old when she decided to try running. She was already healthy and active, and the first race she trained for was a full marathon! A few weeks into her training, she suffered a compression fracture of her foot. The doctor told her she was too old to run and essentially ordered her to stop. Not one to give up, she kept training as best she could until her foot healed. She finished that marathon and mailed a copy of her finish line photo to that doctor. Today she is an ultra runner and has run over 45 ultramarathons.

Never tell yourself you can’t. And don’t let anyone else tell you.

Parathletes are competing at Olympic levels in so many sports. It all began with wheelchair races. Now, medical knowledge and technology are ever advancing to allow athletes to participate and compete in ways unheard of decades ago.

These athletes are clearly not telling themselves they can’t do it. They are overcoming greater challenges.

I see more and more stories on social media and in the news, of senior citizens in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s running marathons and half marathons. I joke that if I’m still running when I’m 90, that’s when I’ll do a full marathon! Clearly, these seniors aren’t telling themselves they can’t do it. They’re just doing it!

Never tell yourself you can’t.

There have been so any times I’ve doubted myself even as I was running. “What are you doing?, I ask. “Why are you even trying to do this? Aren’t you a little old…?”

The trick is not to allow those thoughts any voice. The proof is in the action. In spite of the nagging in my head, I finish races. I’m a runner. Clearly I CAN do it, because I AM doing it!

Get out of your own way. Find these stories. Look around you at the people who are doing it. Let them inspire you.

Never tell yourself you can’t.

Here Comes the Sun: Five Tips for Surviving Daylight Saving Time

by Shelley EnglishHere Comes the Sun

The saying goes that time waits for no one, and at no time of year is this truer than at Daylight Saving Time. You wouldn’t think that one hour of lost sleep would make that much of a difference. But for many of us, the “spring forward” seems more like a vault!

Here are some tips for a smooth transition into the time change, shared by sleep experts at Loyola University and WebMD.

1. During the week before the change, go to bed and wake up 10 to 15 minutes earlier each day. And get outside in the morning. Exposing yourself to sunlight as early as you can will help reset your internal body clock. Early morning is my favorite time to run; there really is something about being out there before the rest of the world (or so it feels). Starting the day out with a brisk walk in fresh air and seeing the sun rise is an awesome way to start the day.

2. This is the perfect time to start exercising. Any kind of exercise can help you sleep better. Before I started running, I took Zumba classes at my gym. The classes were early in the evening – right after work, in fact – and I always came home exhausted and hungry. In the beginning, it was a toss-up between eating and going to bed! Needless to say, I started going to bed earlier and sleeping much better. So if you’ve been considering trying a new exercise regimen, now may be a good time to start. One caveat, though; exercise can also be a stimulant, so if you often have trouble sleeping, don’t exercise close to bedtime.

3. Speaking of stimulants, avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco for 4-6 hours before bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep. Indigestion caused by food that is fatty or spicy, or by having too much in your stomach, can also contribute to sleeplessness. Some light carbohydrates and a glass of milk early in the evening are easy to digest and shouldn’t interfere with sleep. I try to stick to water beginning a couple of hours before bedtime…although I’ve learned the hard way to keep liquids in moderation before going to bed, so I’m not up again frequently throughout the night!

4. Relax before going to bed. Worry and stress can cause insomnia – even stress produced by a overstimulating television show. A few of my favorite TV shows are a tad suspenseful and just happen to be a little too close to my bedtime; so I set the DVR and enjoy a good book or a long bath instead. I can always catch up on the recorded shows later in the week. If anxiety is related to situations you might face the following day at work, it may help to write out a schedule for the following day, or journal about your concerns – then let them go before your head hits the pillow.

5. Avoid napping the Saturday before the time change. But if you find yourself dragging afterward, take an early afternoon nap of 20-30 minutes. Sometimes just a 15-20 minute nap during my lunch break breathes new life into the rest of my afternoon and evening. It is also helpful to keep up the routine of going to bed a bit earlier.

The internal clock will eventually adjust, and soon the lost hour will be forgotten…that is, until it comes “back” in November!

What are some ways you have handled the transition to Daylight Saving Time? Please share your comments.