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Running Your First 5K

Updated on July 29, 2012
Our Welcome to Lambeau Field, home of Superbowl Champions Green Bay Packers,  in Green Bay, WI
Our Welcome to Lambeau Field, home of Superbowl Champions Green Bay Packers, in Green Bay, WI

For much of my adult life my back prevented me from being a runner. I had always enjoyed walking, so after a successful double fusion in Feb 2011 I decided to give running a try. Not wanting to injure my back, or any other part of my anatomy I did my best to get ready for my first 5K in a responsible manner.

Gathering information and advice from several sources I successfully completed my first 5K today, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. Here are some highlights, and suggestions, from my journey.

My brother and I in front of Lambeau prior to the start of my first 5K...excited to see if all my hard work paid off.
My brother and I in front of Lambeau prior to the start of my first 5K...excited to see if all my hard work paid off.

Getting Started

Having never been a runner before I wanted some guidance on starting this type of exercise. I first talked with my doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist and massage therapist. While running was not some of their first choices for an exercise regime, they were all supportive and assisted me on my path.


Several of my friends had utilized the Couch to 5K running program, a free podcast available on iTunes. This 9 week program is designed to take you literally off the couch and prepare you for your first 5K. I was skeptical, but will sing their praises and secretly hope for a 5K to 10K and/or 10K to half marathon app.


I will say I was religious on following this program, sometimes feeling like I could do more, or skip a week, but truly believe the best thing I did was follow the program as is.

The All Important GPS App

I tried several apps that were designed to track your running routes. The one that I like best is Runkeeper. Some of the features I like best are:

  • Design routes online
  • Tracks your route as you run and displays map at the end
  • Customized distance and/or timed coaching
  • Programs for walking, running and race preparation
  • Ability to add your own program in to use
  • Ability to use your own playlists while running
  • Allows you to post your workouts online if so desired
  • Encourages you to set goals

There are several GPS/Running/Pedometer apps available and many are free or under $5 so take time to find one that fits your needs.

The day is finally here! Hanging out with 6,000 of my closest friends waiting for the race to start!
The day is finally here! Hanging out with 6,000 of my closest friends waiting for the race to start!

Make a Calendar

I went online and created a calendar that listed my running days and which run I was going to do. This got put directly on my refrigerator. I knew when I was going to run, was able to write any changes to my program and track my progress. This was a great way to hold myself accountable AND second guess myself when I wondered into the kitchen for a midnight snack!


I also utilized family and friends for encouragement. Having a support system to turn to on days you are struggling is essential. When I was training for my 5K I hit a week that I did not run at all due to unbearable heat. Having my daughter casually ask why I wasn't running in the morning was a great motivated to get back out there after the heatwave had passed.

Picking a Race

Once you know when your 9 weeks of training is coming to an end you can start planning for the all important first race. I utilized the website runningintheusa.com to help located races in my area. It was here that I found my race...The Packer 5K. Now being from Wisconsin, and a Green Bay Packer fan the idea of finishing my first 5K running a loop around inside Lambeau Field was just too awesome to pass up.


I also liked that the money raised by the race was going to several charities that I personally supported. This is a great way to donate to a charity or cause that is important to you while having fun and getting healthy all at the same time.

My brother Corey and I after the race...getting to finish my first race with a lap around Lambeau was priceless!
My brother Corey and I after the race...getting to finish my first race with a lap around Lambeau was priceless!

Race Day

Excited, nervous, anxious, relieved were all feelings that I experienced the day of my race. My brother and I decided to compete in the race together. We were in different "waves" which determined based on mile times you provided. I could not have asked for a more positive environment for my first official race, runners "high-fiving" several times through out the race to show encouragement for each other. Nothing beat the finish though, getting to run thru the tunnel onto Lambeau Field for a final lap made all my hard work pay off. I was super excited to finish and was pleasantly surprised with my official results:

  • 131 out of 350 in my age division
  • 1199 out of 3291 female participants
  • 2626 out of 5686 total participants

A change I am definitely making for next year though is making sure there is someone with me that can just take pictures of all the amazing things I saw that I wasn't able to capture in a photo while I ran.

This picture does not do the true obnoxiousness of these shoes just...and I absolutely LOVE them!
This picture does not do the true obnoxiousness of these shoes just...and I absolutely LOVE them!
The free mini massages provided by a local massage school was a pleasant surprise at the end of the race
The free mini massages provided by a local massage school was a pleasant surprise at the end of the race

Reward Yourself

Upon completion I decided I wanted a completely obnoxious, bright, colorful pair of running shoes to run future races in....and when I finished I got them! The photo (coming very soon) does not do the true obnoxiousness of these shoes justice, but they make me so excited for my next race!

Pick something to work towards and reward yourself with...you deserve it for all your hard work!


Taking time to train properly and picking a race that made the experience unforgettable are both important pieces of this journey. Neglect either one and your experience may be such that you won't want to continue. Me...I can't wait until my next race !

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    • Jeani Nugent profile image
      Author

      Jeani Nugent 5 years ago from Cumberland, Wisconsin

      I have two pair of Saucinys also and live them...I know one is Hurricane and not sure the other LOL...@Tricia I stopped and started probably 5 times over the last year, I always got really nervous around week 5 when the first long run (20 minutes) came up...finally this time I did it off the treadmill and just figured what the heck the worse that was going to happen is I would walk and repeat the segment. Don't get discouraged I will say one of my greatest accomplishments!

    • Tricia Hein profile image

      Tricia Hein 5 years ago from Morgantown, West Virginia

      One of my goals is to run a 5k. I also have the app, but I fall behind so I just end up starting at the beginning again. I think part of my problem was that I always used a treadmill and got bored.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I actually don't run much myself, LOL. I just work at the store and have a knowledge of running and shoes. I prefer the progrid guide 3 from Saucony, but the Kayanos are a great pick!

    • Jeani Nugent profile image
      Author

      Jeani Nugent 5 years ago from Cumberland, Wisconsin

      I am surprised how much I like it and how excited I am for my next one. My obnoxious reward shoe was an Asics Kinsei 4. Not sure how I will like it for running as it is pretty structured, I usually run in Asics Kayanos but they were just too cool to pass up. May just be my new everyday walking shoe. I saw a very cool Asics shoe Noosa Tri 7 that is suppose to be similar to a Kayano the lady wearing them is a Kayano user too and had these and lived them soooo... What is your shoe of choice for running?

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Jeani,

      This was a fabulous hub! My brother has just opicked up running as a hooby and we both work part time at a running store and go to marathons to seel our euipment and shoes. Congrats on your first 5k! Impressive results! What type of shoe did you buy, if you don't mind me asking? Have a great rest of your weekend Jeani!