How to Crush Your First 5K

Written by 2019 Berkeley Half Ambassador, Kelli Hashimoto.


The 5K distance is my favorite distance to race and is the perfect distance for runners of all experience levels. Are you registered for your first 5K? Follow our tips below and you’ll be ready to crush it come race day!

  1. Build your endurance with walking and/or running: It’s always a good time to start building your endurance to train for a 5k – you can do this by starting with a walk or jumping right into running. Increase your weekly mileage slowly to avoid risk of injury. We recommend finding a beginner training plan that fits within your schedule to get started.
  2. Rest and recovery are important: As with training for any distance, it is crucial to listen to your body and take the time to allow your muscles to recover. Take rest days when you need to and you’ll make it to the start line, ready to run your best race.
  3. Stay motivated with mantras: Why do you run? By staying motivated and managing your positive self-talk during your runs, every mile will be more enjoyable. A few of my personal favorites are “believe in yourself” and “mind over matter”, my mantra are constant reminders to myself that I can get through any run, no matter how tough it feels at the time.
  4. Avoid race day nerves, make a plan: I remember my first 5k race like it was yesterday – it was exciting, and I was so nervous! Once you have the details for logistics, plan out your race morning timeline. Leave extra time so that you can find where you need to go, stop at the bathroom and get to the start line stress-free.
  5. Start slow, finish fast: It is easy to get caught in the adrenaline rush as you start the first mile. Aim to start slow and finish fast, you’ll thank us for this tip in the last mile.
  6. Don’t forget to have fun: You are running your first 5K – this should be fun and exciting! Create your fun music playlist to get you through the race, take a lot of pictures, wear your finisher medal proudly and enjoy the post-race festivities.

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