Repeat after me: "I can run a 5K!"
Yes. You. CAN.
Even if you're not a runner (Neither am I).
YOU CAN cross that finish line.
1. Decide on a running plan.
All three plans are FREE. All three plans are designed to take you from not running at all to running 3 miles. You start by doing run/walk intervals and gradually work your way up to steady jogging. Totally do-able.
I used the Girls Gotta Move plan for my first 5K. I printed it out, stuck it on my refrigerator, and marked off days as I completed the workouts. Old school, but easy.
2. Locate a race 6-9 weeks from today. Google "[Your City] running" or "[Your City] 5K" and a long string of options should pop up. Or use the Runner's World Race Finder tool, where you can specify your location, preferred dates, and type of race (1 Mile, 5K, 1/2 Marathon, Women's Only, etc.). The latter tool is non-comprehensive and non-outstanding, but it's a starting place...
3. Get out your wallet & Sign up. Paying money will make it a reality. Putting it on your calendar will motivate you. If it helps, tell your friends and family that you will be running on such-and-such date.
4. Buy a pair of running shoes (if you don't already own a pair). For my first and second 5K races, I wore a pair of ASICS Women's Gel Cumulus tennis shoes (similar to the ones pictured). For my third 5K (that I just ran on Saturday!), I wore Mizuno Wave Ascend 4 Trail Running shoes. Both pairs were excellent.
If you have money available, I also recommend that you invest in a few high-quality workout clothing tops and bottoms that will make you feel fabulous. Brands to consider: SkirtSports, Nike, RunningSkirts.com, Brooks Running, and Oiselle.
5. Commit to your training. At first, it will be hard. Don't give up. You. Can. Do. This. Give all excuses ("I'm exhausted." "I'm just not a runner." "It's too cold." "It's too hot." "I have to clean the house." Etc.) a mighty ninja kick and get out there. It may help to have a "running buddy" to motivate you - your husband, your neighbor, your best friend, your baby, etc.
6. Show up on the day of the race. Don't fret that you won't "fit in" with the 5K crowd. 5Ks are for everyone. You'll find people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Some people will run fast. Some people will run slow. Some people will walk. You can do any of those things. Focus on crossing the finish line. When you do, you will smile, your will take a picture, and you will want to do it again because...you will feel strong and powerful and energized.
And you know what? After you run one, you will realize that maybe...just maybe...you are a runner, after all.
YOUR TURN: Have you ever considered running in a 5K? Why or why not?