From Couch to 5K

Tips for Couch to 5K Training

A guide to help you get from the sofa to the starting line.

Setting a clear, achievable goal for yourself — like participating in a 5K race, for example — can be the first step toward creating a healthier life.

A 5K is a 5 kilometer, or 3.1 mile, road race. Though a 5K is considerably easier to run than a half marathon or marathon, it still requires training and preparation for you to make it across the finish line.

Follow these tips from Neil M. Patil, MD, sports medicine doctor with Shea Orthopedic Group, part of KentuckyOne Health, and James Rollins, MD, orthopedic surgeon with KentuckyOne Health Orthopedic Associates, to help you on your way to conquering a 5K.

Sign Up

For some people, the hardest part is getting started. Signing up for an event like a 5K, even if it’s several months down the road, will help get you motivated.

Get the gear

Don’t skimp on good running shoes. They may be more expensive, but high-quality running shoes can help prevent joint problems sometimes caused by running.

Start slow

If you haven’t run before, it will probably take some time to get used to the activity. Give your body time to adjust. Start with what you can do, even if it’s just walking, and gradually increase your activity 10 percent each week. This will help you avoid overuse injuries.

“It’s never too late to become active. Even if you have chronic pain or other issues holding you back, a trainer or physician can help find activities suited to your needs and abilities,” said Dr. Patil. “Don’t let fear hold you back.”

Work Together

Tell others about the 5K you’ll be running. Better yet, ask someone to run it with you. This will give you a training buddy to help keep you accountable.

Go at Your Own Pace

It may be called a “race,” but that doesn’t mean you fail if you don’t finish near the top. Run, jog or walk if you need to. The goal is to finish.

“Tight hamstrings can cause lower back pain, meaning it is very important to stretch prior to and after finishing a run,” said Dr. Rollins. “You don’t have to run faster than everyone. Pick your own pace, and walk if your body is telling you to stop,” said Dr. Rollins.

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Join KentuckyOne Health Sports Medicine Care Wednesday, July 26 at Medical Center Jewish Northeast for the free Training Program Kickoff for this year’s Urban Bourbon Half Marathon. Learn more and register to attend today.