Beginners guide to running:

Tips that help you prepare for 5k run, including free training plan!
Click here to join Wings For Life World Run

Do you want to be more active, but don’t know where to start? Jogging or running is a largely popular form of exercise because it doesn’t cost a lot of money and you can run whenever it is convenient for you. Besides, running in nature can greatly benefit your mental health too. If you consider jogging and running is the right type of exercise for you but don’t know how to get started, follow this easy beginner-friendly guide to put you on the right track on your training journey.

Benefits of jogging and running

  • Running is one of the most efficient ways to achieve aerobic fitness
  • It is an excellent stress reliever
  • Running causes release of endorphins known as “runners high”, which is accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life
  • Running supports better overall health with improvements such as higher lung capacity, increased metabolism, lower total cholesterol levels, increased energy, and decreased risk of osteoporosis
  • Run by yourself for peace and solitude
  • Join your local running club and socialise with likeminded people while you exercise

5 tips to help you get ready for 5k run

Tip #1: Find your motivation

Signing up for a charity run is a great way to stay motivated and train towards a goal. You can start with a beginner-friendly race run over 5km. Working around a timeframe is also very important. It helps you to track your progress and put a little bit of pressure on you to go out and be active. Sign up for a charity run of your choice, get active and support a good cause!

TOP TIP: Join The Wings For Life World Run and support a good cause

The Wings For Life World Run is scheduled on the 8th May at 12pm UK time (1pm CET). You can run wherever you are as all runners are connected via mobile app. To make it a little bit more competitive, you will race against a virtual car chaser and you will have to complete your selected distance within a timeframe and before the virtual car chaser catches up with you. The registration fee is £18 GBP / €20 EUR, and all proceeds go to the Wings for Life Charitable Foundation (UK Registered Charity No: 1138804).

Charity run

Setting the target to 5km within 51min 23 sec actually gives you enough time to walk the entire 5km distance, so there is absolutely no pressure.

By joining JANA’s RUN FOR WINGS TEAM, you will help us to reach our fundraising goal of £1,000, which will go to the Wings for Life Charitable Foundation to support spinal cord injury research in the UK, and across the world. You can find more information about Wings for Life charity here and learn more about the research projects and clinical studies Wings for Life funded since 2004.

Tip #2: Use the Run/Walk Method

The Run/Walk method consists of alternating between intervals of running and walking over a certain distance. Planning your run and walk segments will help you to recover from running interval more efficiently and will help you to conserve more energy which will improve your endurance. Once you set your goals, it is time to get moving! Create your own routine that fits your schedule. Soon you will notice that your running sections are getting longer and longer, and before you know it, you’ll be able to run 5km without walking intervals. You can read more about the Run/Walk method (also known as The Galloway Method) here.

Tip #3: Get the workout gear

Using a fitness tracker or a smart watch helps you to monitor your performance and track your progress overt time. Great benefit of a smart watch is that it allows you to compete with your friends and family and push each other to a better performance, and ultimately improves your motivation. Besides, a smartwatch makes your workouts a social experience as you can share and compare your results with friends on social media.

Investing into the right pair of trainers not only helps you to progress faster in your fitness journey, but also helps you to train safely and prevents you from injuries commonly associated with running. 

Tip #4: Patience is the key

If you just started being active, you can’t expect to complete a 5k run in full at your first attempt. High expectations beginners often put on themselves often lead only to frustration, and ultimately to giving up and abandoning your running goals all together. Instead, follow The Galloway (run/walk) method and focus on completing the shorter intervals of running combined with intervals of walking for quick recovery.

#5 Hydration and nutrition 

It may surprise you, but carbohydrate rich foods are the optimum type of food for runners – yes, this includes pasta and bread! Carbohydrates are converted into glucose which your body uses for energy. The ideal source of carbohydrates is low to medium glycaemic index foods, which ensure that the spike and drop in energy is not so severe (compared to high GI foods). Adding as little as 15-20 grams of protein after exercise is equally important as it helps muscle recovery. When training for 5k, hydration is important before and after your run, and during recovery period. The 5km distance is short enough and doesn’t require bringing water to your training session. The best strategy is to learn how to stay hydrated during the whole day.

Scroll down to get your free training plan

Jogging versus running – What is the difference?

Both are a form of an aerobic exercise and use oxygen as a fuel. Jogging is slower paced and less intense activity. It allows you to focus on stamina, which is much needed for longer endurance runs. Running on the other hand is faster movement requiring higher levels of energy, and lead to higher level of cardiovascular fitness.

Benefits of jogging

  • Good for beginners
  • Good for stress relief
  • Good for warm-ups or used during easy or recovery days
  • Improves cardiovascular conditioning
  • Can be used as a tool for weight management

Benefits of running

  • Improves cardiovascular capacity and VO2 Max
  • Increases endurance
  • Improves metabolism and provides a higher caloric burn
  • Reduces risk factors for chronic disease

Hope all this is helpful for achieving your fitness goals and can’t wait to see you on the 8th of May on The Wings for Life World Run App! Don’t forget to join JANA’s RUN FOR WINGS TEAM to help us meet our fundraising goal of £1,000 GBP to support Wings for Life on its mission to find a cure for Spinal Cord Injury!

Thank you! And happy running!