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!

Author: Shelley English

Shelley is a wife, mom and executive assistant who loves to spend the rest of her time running and writing.

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