1 – Get the Right Clothes
Start off with the right shoes. The old beaters you have in the closet may not be a good idea if you plan on running a race. You want to take care of your feet and it starts with the right footwear. Go to a sporting goods store that has staff that can assess your gait and give you a proper fitting shoe. It may cost $100+ but will be worth it in the long run (pun intended). Bargain hunters, see what shoe they recommend and shop for it online.
Next up is clothes. Make sure the fabric you wear has mobility, lightness, and breathability. Please do not wear cotton underwear, you will regret it. Do yourself a favor and buy runners shorts that have a mesh inner liner. Bonus if the fabric has moisture wicking properties.
2 – Commit
Resolutions are not commitments, they are dreams. If you want to run a 5k, pick one and sign up. Paying the money and having the date on your calendar will show you actually have a desire to do one and puts some pressure on you to start training.
3 – Get on a Training Program
You need to be on some type of program to get you prepared. The more personalized the better, get yourself a trainer to help out.
4 – Work up to the Distance
A 5k is 3.26 miles, you need to be used to running that distance. Even with walking, this can be taxing. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to train, usually 6-8 weeks.
5 – Fuel Your Body Right
Eating the right foods is absolutely crucial. You need to be sure to eat complex carbs (those that come from real food) not just simple sugars. Eating too many sweets will destroy energy levels. Be sure to keep track of what you are eating the days you run, if something makes you feel sick modify it. Usually eating smaller more frequent meals is best. You can keep the calories right but not feel too full. Ask a dietician for help here.
6 – Stretch It Out
Take care of your bodies tissues. Look at it this way, if you drive your care more often you need to get maintenance on it more often right? As issues come up, i.e. get knee pain or foot pain, address them, do not ignore!
7 – Add Resistance Training
Being on total body resistance training program will help you become a better runner. It does not have to be a lot, but focus on total body movements like lunges, squats, pushups, lat pulldowns to build muscle and strengthen joints.
9 – Get a Running Buddy
For those that hate running, this is a no brainer. Running with someone will make you stay consistent. Just avoid comparing yourself to your buddy if they are faster or slower. Everyone adapts differently, and this should not affect your attitude.
10 – Rest and Drink Plenty of Water
Also a no brainer but it is often overlooked. Do not run every day, let your body have 1-2 days of full rest per week. Also, drink plenty of water on training days especially.
Bonus Tip – Run on the Road
If your entire training is on the treadmill, you will be in for a shock the day of the race. Much like building endurance in joints and muscles for distance, you need to get them used to the pounding on a road or trail. This will make the days after the race so much better, and will make it more likely you cross the finish line injury free.