3 Tips for Walking a 5K

Article posted in: Fitness

Thinking of signing up for a 5K fundraiser for diabetes, maybe a breast cancer walk or fun run at your kids’ school? Go for it! You’ll feel good contributing to a cause and what great incentive to exercise! And a 5K―at 3.1 miles―is the perfect length for beginners. But whether you plan to walk it from start to finish, or are considering picking up the pace somewhere in between, you still need to prepare. Do not make the same mistakes as us: A while back, I volunteered to help represent my company at a charity walk. It was longer than a 5K, but I figured I was fairly active and I walked enough, so I could just show up. And oh… how wrong… I was. To help you finish your walk strong (and so your calf muscles don’t scream at you afterwards), check out these 3 tips for walking a 5K.

Start preparing early.

Figure you’ll need about five to seven weeks to train, depending on your fitness level; and in that time, plan to walk four or five days a week. Start with a comfortable distance goal, such as a mile or so, and then gradually increase how far you walk each week. It’s always a good idea to get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start any new exercise program, and he or she may be able to suggest the best weekly progression for you.

Get good walking shoes.

Our feet are unique, and may require different support and cushioning. Check out an athletic shoe store, and have the salesperson help you determine the best one for your feet and your needs.

Fuel your workout (without overdoing it).

You don’t want to exercise with an empty tank, but snacking too much before or after could undo your calorie-burning efforts. Before a morning walk, have a small, carbohydrate-rich snack, like fruit or a 100-calorie granola bar, and then a light breakfast afterwards (like oatmeal with berries or a hard-boiled egg and toast). If you walk in the early evening, plan to eat lunch about 3 to 4 hours earlier, and then have dinner a few hours after. And always hydrate with water pre- and post-exercise.