Preparing For My First 5K

I’m excited. In just over three weeks I’ll be running my first 5K. The run I’m participating in is called Run Thru The Rapids in Grand Rapids, MI. This race takes you through a beautiful park and along the Grand River.  The scenery along the course can be breathtaking.

I’ll be honest, I never thought this would be a possibility. Running always came off as painful and exhausting. It has been a long road but I’ve reached the point where I can run more than a 5K. Here are three challenges I had to overcome and how I managed to accomplish it.


Overcoming Shin Splints: When I began, this was a major issue. Five seconds out and my shins felt like that were shattering. After a few days I decided to change what I ran on. I went from running on pavement to trail running. Almost immediately the shin splints stopped and I got to enjoy the beautify of the woods and the enjoyment of a great run.

Lack of Endurance: My first month or two of runs would consist of 5 to 10 minutes worth of running with me huffing and puffing. There was no easy way to increase my endurance. This was one of the times were I had to bite the bullet and push through the pain and exhaustion. As I pushed myself, the runs became easier, longer, and more enjoyable.

Time: Preparing for the 5K has taken quite a bit of time. With my work schedule of 8-5 and an hour drive time each day, I needed to find a way to squeeze in my runs. I realized that there were plenty of areas I could move around to make way for running. I started this by using my lunch hour to run. Near my work, we have a wonderful park and preserve with miles of trails. I found I could run for 20 minutes, clean up in the restroom, and be back to work before my lunch was over. That worked great until the summer heat hit and washing up took longer than I had. This forced me to change my running to early mornings. I now awake between 5:00-5:15AM and hit the road for 30 minutes of running twice a week. On Saturdays, I’m gradually pushing myself to run longer and longer. Currently I’m at 50 minutes and counting.

Question: Have you participated in a 5K before? What have been your major obstacles in preparing for your 5K?

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