Where To Start: A Beginner’s Guide

By: Adam Stakeman

So, you’ve decided to train for and run your first 5k (cough, cough….. The Wabash Run the River 5k, 10k, 13.1 mi).

Beginners Guide 5k

Congratulations on setting a running goal and taking the first steps (pun intended) toward a healthier you. The great news is with approximately 100 days until the first Wabash Run the River 5k, 10k, and half marathon, you have plenty of time to train and allow your body to adapt to running at a pace that is most comfortable for you.  The bad news, it’s the middle of winter and who wants to think about running right now? More good news!!! There are plenty of other ways you can start training for your first 5k today without running a single step outside. Before you know it it’ll be sunny, 80 degrees and you’ll be well on your way to crossing that finish line in Downtown Wabash.

Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise, but it certainly isn’t easy, especially if you haven’t done it before or are starting over after years of inactivity. Over the course of the next 15 weeks, we will release a series of blogs covering topics such as Selecting a Training Plan, Finding a Running Buddy or Group, How to Build Endurance, Choosing Running Shoes and Gear, Nutrition and Hydration, Staying Motivated, Avoiding Injury, and Preparing for Race Day.

One of the biggest mistakes new runners often make is trying to run too much, too fast and too soon, and end up discouraged or injured.  Take a new approach and set small tangible goals and ease into your new routine by setting daily and weekly walking goals.  If you are just starting your running journey, begin by walking 10 to 30 minutes on a regular basis and increase that time gradually. Once you can comfortably briskly walk for 30 minutes, you’re ready to incorporate some running.

From Fleet Feet and JackRabit Running, here are some suggestions based on your familiarity with aerobic activity:

  • Beginners: completely new 
  • Intermediate: some aerobic exercise, but not frequent 
  • Advanced: frequent aerobic exercise 

This chart suggests interval lengths based on the level of activity. Repeat run-walk intervals as many times as you’d like within a 10-30 minute period of activity. 

Level Run Time  Walk Time 
Beginner  10-30 seconds  1-2 minutes 
Intermediate  1-5 minutes  1-2 minutes 
Advanced  5-10 minutes  30 seconds- 1 minute 

An indoor track, treadmill, or elliptical can be used.  If you don’t have access to any of these and it’s too cold to venture outside, try getting that heart pumping on a stationary bike.  Whatever means you choose, the idea is to start creating healthy habits now that will be easy to expand upon once the weather breaks and you can start getting outside more often.  The best exercise for you is the one you will do consistently!*Wabash Run the River is a program of Visit Wabash County. Those interested in participating or volunteering for the event can get more information by going to HERE or by calling the Welcome Center at 260-563-7171.