Join a summer run: Tips to train for a 5K

Mon. May 14, 2018 12:00 AM
by Kevin Lee Gonzalez

It's 5K running season, so let's talk about how to train for this 3.1-mile adventure.

Most 5K races are, generally, great a cardio exercise. For casual or non-runners, the race may kick in anxiety and nerves; however, prepping for this obstacle physically and mentally can be extremely rewarding.

Spring season kicks off many 5K events throughout Chicago and the rest of the country, most linked to a charitable cause. The best reward is, how you will feel once you cross the finish line.

Save the Date: 37th Annual Proud To Run 10K run and 5K run walk, Saturday, June 23

There are a few steps to prepare you for your 5k events.

Step One: Register. Setting the official goal helps with motivation and self-accountability. For extra motivation and accountability have a friend join, too. I participate in the Lincoln Park Zoo 5K every year with friends, and love the excitement of it all.

Step Two: Build Stamina. Slowly building up to a 5K distance with practice and pace-setting. Four weeks is, quite often, enough time to achieve this. Each week train for 3 days, while gradually adding further distance. You can follow my advice:

Week 1: (Day 1) .5 mile (Day 2) 1 mile (Day 3) 1.5 miles

Week 2: (Day 1) 1.5 miles (Day 2) 2 miles (Day 3) 2.5 miles

Week 3: (Day 1) 2.5 miles (Day 2) 2.5 miles (Day 3) 3 miles

Week 4: (Day 1) 3 miles (Day 2) 3.5 miles (Day 3) 3.5 miles

Step Three: Building strength and lung-power. Running on an incline, on a treadmill, outside going uphill and springing intervals will help you be a better competitor come race day. Most 5Ks are done outdoors where the pavement is hard and unpredictable, unlike a treadmill. So make sure you practice on different types of paths and pavements. Adding sprinting intervals also will help your lungs become stronger for distance running.

Sprinting Intervals: Start at a jogging pace for .5 miles, then sprint as fast as you can until max. Bring it down to a brisk walk for .5 miles, then repeat 4 or 5 times. You can do this once a week adding to, or on one of your training days.

Now you are prepared physically for your 5K run! Hopefully by now your confidence and anxiety have improved, and you are fully prepared for the event.

Make sure to get a good nights rest, wake up and have a light, healthy breakfast, and stretch before crossing the starting-line ...and then the finish-line.

Kevin Lee Gonzalez, 33, is a Chicago-based personal trainer, certified by the National Personal Training Institute and American Fitness Professionals of America. His favorite fitness guru is Jackie Warner and his niche is, obstacle training.