Approx 750 words.

New to running, or fancy setting yourself a goal? Training for a 5k can be a daunting but highly rewarding feat. If you’re nervous about taking the plunge, or struggling to work up the motivation to start, there are a few simple things that can help you become your best. Lace up those trainers, fire up your best playlist and check out these tips to prepare for a 5k.

Get kitted out

Making sure you have the correct kit before embarking on a run is crucial for avoiding injuries. You don’t have to spend the earth on the latest gear, but it’s important to wear a good, comfortable pair of running shoes. Also, layer up! Instead of wearing one thick jacket or jumper, layer on a few light and breathable items that will still keep you warm – but can be easily taken off if you’re getting too hot.

Warm up

This tip is especially important in the winter! Running when your muscles are cold can lead to increased muscle soreness or risk of injury. So, make sure you do 5-10 mins of dynamic exercises, such as knee lifts, side stepping and climbing stairs, to get the blood flowing and warm up the body first.

Fuel up

You’re going to be using more energy than you would when simply sitting or standing, so you may want a small snack to fuel those miles before you star. Try not to eat too close to running, so you have time to digest before setting off. I love peanut butter and banana or an egg on toast. And porridge makes great running fuel, too! Don’t forget to refuel afterwards – whip up a tasty brunch after a morning run with these Cook with Co-op recipes

Tip: Discover plenty of exciting recipes to help support a healthier diet.

Start small

If your history of running is limited to legging it for the bus, don’t start by running a 5k outright! In order to ensure every run is manageable (and enjoyable), start small and work your way up. You don’t need to run it either – feel free to walk or jog if that’s what you’re more comfortable with. parkrun welcomes all abilities and levels!

For those who are determined to get better at running, instead of focusing on the distance, for example, try setting yourself the goal of running for five minutes continuously, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes and so on. You’ll quickly notice an improvement in stamina.

Stay motivated

I’ll be the first to admit that one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to running is getting out of the door in the first place – especially when it’s cold and dark outside. They key is to find out what motivates you. That’s why parkrun can be a fantastic place to start: there’s a real sense of community and togetherness that forms every event. Everyone’s welcome!

Move to music

If exercising solo is more your thing, fire up a playlist that makes you want to move. There’s nothing like a few catchy tunes to get you in the mood!

Tip: Running to music means your senses are dulled, so take care when crossing roads or running around corners.

Join us for the parkrun resolution

You’ve got the gear, made your playlist and are suitably fuelled up. All you need now is a community to keep you motivated. Whether you want to take your first steps to a more active future, commit to supporting friends or family members to walk or run that little bit more, or improve your own 5k time, why not make this your #parkrunresolution. Sign up to parkrun to log your results with (not)parkrun, keep track of your progress and join a supportive and welcoming community where nobody ever finishes last.

Find out more about how you can get involved with parkrun or check out the NHS running guide for beginners for more tips. Plus, discover lots of health and wellbeing advice, including how to get your 5 a day, guidance on nutrition labels, and more.

This blog was written in line with current government advice and we are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with national safety measures.

Rosanne Pell
Assistant partnerships manager

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. I think this is a great idea and I applaud Co-op for this initiative. I have a cheap pair of trainers and have started to do the NHS Couch to 5k as suggested in your article. You’re right to suggest getting involved with a running community – there’s a fantastic community of people doing the same thing as me on the (not)parkrun and Couch to 5k NHS forums, all over the country, and supporting each other in their endeavours to get fitter during this isolating and lonely period of lockdown. Thank you Co-op for your ideas, looking on the bright side as usual and motivating fat arses like me to get moving – it’s had a positive effect on me and hopefully many others. This proposal has been well-received and is a welcome, achievable and inspiring initiative.

  2. Yeah, this advice to buy shoes and the advertorial for Parkrun really is mistimed and poorly judged given community fitness activity is effectively currently against the law.
    Also there’s no mention of programmes such as ‘couch to 5k’ which are a little more appropriate given the circumstances, as it allows the newbie to go at their own pace which is never too fast and can easily be socially distanced, all supported by sensible online guidance.
    Google “NHS couch to 5k”…

    • Hi Huey, this blog post was written in line with current government advice and we are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with national safety measures. We are a partner of Parkrun and are supportive of their (not)parkrun programme which is a virtual 5K event where individuals can walk or run 5k anywhere they like (providing it is safe to do so). In your garden, to and from your house, neighbourhood, park etc. You can find out more here ––not-parkrun-FAQs ^Cat

  3. Hi,
    I call this article bad timing. Has no one at the co op noticed there’s a pandemic ? No mention about how the rules impact exercise or going outdoors, social distancing, wearing masks or anything.
    Particular mention must go to the section : ‘ You don’t have to spend the earth on the latest gear, but it’s important to wear a good, comfortable pair of running shoes’ In case you’ve not noticed, non essential shops are closed, you would need to go to a shop to try on running shoes to make sure they fit. Online shopping for this does not ‘cut the mustard’.

    • Park runs are currently suspended !!!!!!

    • You must be a very bored lady with too much time on your hands? As well as running try to just chill out & not be too dismissive & critical of others when they’re only trying to lighten a situation. I think the points you make are valid, if the person reading has no brain & cannot think for themselves, these are suggestions based on common sense & not on defined facts you have to follow, so just chill the F**k out & go for a run perhaps 🙂

    • Hi there, This blog was written in line with current government advice and we are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with national safety measures. ^Cat


Leave a Reply


#TheCoopWay, Communities locally in the UK, Food