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First timer - need 5K advice

Hi all!

I'm an athletic person, been a gym rat since I was 14, played multiple sports, etc.

I'm also very competive and self-critical when it comes to performance. For the longest time, I've wanted to run in a race, but I kept putting it off because of the fear of not completing a race in a good time.

I finally signed myself up for a Turkey Trot 5K with my dog. There's no turning back.

I'm extremely nervous. I haven't really done long distance running, I'd do lot of short sprints, weight training, P90X, aerobics, etc. I started the C25K and I'm already in my third week. But the race is only 4 weeks away and I don't see how I can cram the C25K training program in time for the race.For those who have used the C25K, do you have suggestions???? Do I skip a week in the training program? Do I cram it to 5 times a week instead of 3 times a week?

Any other advice? I want to do well in the race. I want to remember my first race as an awesome thing instead of , "well that sucked, I walked a lot and was very slow".

Re: First timer - need 5K advice

  • I'm in the same boat with you.  I am running the Turkey Trot as well.  I just ran the Susan G Komen, but it was so crowded I could hardly move which means I didn't run for almost 15 minutes of it.  My time was horrible, but fortunately I paid for the untimed event.  I plan on participating in the timed portion of the Turkey Trot.  I'm interested to hear what people say.  The most I can run consecutively is 10 minutes, but I feel like I am going so slow. I thought about starting c25k as well, but like you said, it's just not enough time. 

    Bring on the suggestions ladies...TIA!

  • This might help the 2nd poster more than the 1st, but if you can already run 10 min I would add 1-2 min per run and try and build up your time. There is nothing wrong with running/walking your first 5K (i.e. 10 min run/1.5 min walk or something similar).

    The C25K helped me more build for time, at the end I could still not run 5K, but I recommend the program for anyone that is trying to run or run for longer.

    The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.
  • First off, I would definitely not try to cram a whole 8 week training plan into 4 weeks.  If you are a new runner, you should not run 5 days a week.  Your body needs time to adjust to the stresses of running, and overdoing it may lead to injury, which is something that you definitely don't want!

    PP is right, there is absolutely nothing wrong with run/walking your first 5k.  Not to rain on your parade, but if you want to run the whole thing, and do very well, then maybe you shouldn't do one so soon?   Sign up for one that is in 8-9 weeks, so you could complete the whole C25K plan. 

    If you've never really ran distance before, you can't expect yourself to just be able to do it right away.  Some people can, there are always exceptions, but most people need to slowly build up their time and mileage.  Just because someone is athletic, that doesn't necessarily translate into being able to run right away.  I was in probably the best shape of my life when I started C25K and thought it would be a snap.  I was quickly humbled, it was hard!

    I don't know how high of expectations you put on yourself, but if you're dead set on doing the Turkey Trot, I would be prepared to have to walk some of it.  Since you're taking your dog, just think of it as a fun "training run" for your first "real" 5K where you can be properly trained and ready to go.

    Just my opinion.  Good luck whatever you decide!

    ETA: Sorry, I just saw that you are already in your 3rd week of C25K.  I think you'll be in pretty good shape by the time of the race, but I would still be prepared to have to walk a bit!

  • Well it depends on how you feel--I loosely did the C25K program in a month, but I started farther into the program than week one day one because I could already run a mile.  Mostly I just tried to add like 1-2 minutes to my runs until I could run 5K.  I also found that running on the treadmill helped--I was running for 30 minutes towards the end, but I was still not up to 3 miles, so I was really disappointed.  But then I just slowed down my pace so that I could run comfortably for 3 miles.  It took just over 30 minutes, maybe 33?  Once I did that I felt more confident and knew I could do it.
  • Since you're doing this with your dog, remember s/he needs training as well.  So look at this as just something fun for the two of you to do together.  And since you're used to working out, you already know how when you do a new exercise for the first time, especially lifting, you don't just throw on as much weight as possible.  You start light and work up heavy; look at the race from this point of view.  It's just establishing your 5K baseline.

    Go on and start C25K, run the Turkey Trot, have a fun time, but sign up for a Jingle Jog around Christmas time and treat that as a competitive race

  • I'd follow the C25K program and use the Turkey Trot as one of your training runs.  If you are already active you will do fine the day of the race.  Just don't plan on setting any land speed records.

    I wouldn't worry about your time for your first race.  Just go out and have fun.

  • I would never plan to competitively race with my dog, especially for my first race. First, because my dog tends to have to stop and poop about 1-2mi into any run. Second, because there will be so many things to see/sniff/pee on that day, he'd be a huge distraction. Third, because if I hadn't completed the training program, it's likely my dog hasn't been trained for the full distance, either, so who knows how he'd do? Is the entire event dog-friendly? If so, I'd expect a pretty crowded, fun-loving course rather than a speedy field of dedicated sprinters.

    Other responses have given good advice--don't cram C25K into more days/fewer weeks at risk of injury. Use this race as practice and sign up for another one several weeks later that you can do on your own, competitively. 

  • Thanks everyone for your advice. I'm really tempted to cram more, because it seems too easy already into 3rd week of C25K.

    I've also been training with my dog. She has been getting better side by side and hasn't pooped/peed during the whole thing. She doesn't mark territory either, which helps. I also know her pooping schedule, so I make her go before we run every time.

     I'll also try to not be so competitive, especially since this is with my dog. I'll try to look at this as a fun run. I just do not want to run more than 35 minutes, I think that's do-able.

     Thanks again, for keeping me from cramming in C25K. I'll not do that.



  • Yeah, thank you all.  I would have responded sooner, but thenest was being difficult!
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