Help Me: Running a 5K

Color Run

Friends, meet my new nemesis.

Running a 5K has been on my bucket list for a good while now.  It is a goal that I’ve had but have yet to complete it in any way.  I’ve thought about running in different holiday-themed 5Ks over the years – you know, the St. Patty’s Day Run, the Turkey Trot, etc. – but I always end up ditching the idea because running 3.2 miles is just too much running for me no matter how much I long for it.

So I guess you could call us frienemies.

You see, I’m just not a runner by nature.  I don’t run for fun and I don’t run when I’m stressed.  Growing up, I played sports all the time and that’s how I stayed in shape.  After high school, I tried to force myself into running but dropped that like a sack of hot potatoes when I discovered kettlebells.  I’ve been comfortable with my kettlebell workouts and I haven’t really desired to try anything else (except maybe Jillian in imitation of Grace and Ana but I slightly fear falling into the same love/hate relationship as they have with her).

But this week my beautiful sisters-in-law pitched the idea of the four of us running The Color Run 5K together this fall.  Well I adore them and jumped right on that bandwagon without a second thought.  Now it’s starting to sink in.  I have a date that’s glaring at me and I have to get my butt moving because in 5 short months I’ll be running this thing whether I like it or not.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind running so much when it’s on a treadmill and I have Bobby Flay distracting me with his tantalizing BBQ skillz.  Running outside, on the other hand, is where I typically draw the line.  I have nothing to keep my mind off the cramps that seize my body and I know, I just know, that I my running style resembles that of Phoebe’s:

Phoebe Running

Well there’s no turning back now, and after reading Ashley’s incredible and inspiring post, I’m convinced that putting it out on the www will solidify my commitment to this run and will therefore spur me onward in my training.

Here’s where I need you.  All you runners out there – what is your secret?  How do you train for a long-distance run (I realize that a 5K is not a super long-distance for most of you vets out there)?  Do you just suck it up and hit the pavement until you can’t breathe any longer or do you employ some sort of guided training like Couch to 5K?  What has worked for you?  I truly want to complete this run and I want to complete it well.  Any advice/suggestions you have to share will be so greatly appreciated and I will owe any success I obtain in all of this to you and your infinite wisdom.


  1. Just clicked over from Camp Patton, and Grace is right, your dress is beautifully classic. You are going to run an awesome 5K because you want to, and when you finish and finally catch your breath, you will look back and say I want to do that again. I started running almost ten years ago because i had a “i think my butts getting big” moment. it took me too long to start liking it because my motivations were all wrong. running is a hobby that is meant to be fun! so have fun, and when it stops being fun, run for 5 more minutes and reconsider. also, buy cute running clothes :))

    • Your advice is so helpful! You’re right, I need to let it be fun. And cute clothes alwayssss helps any situation, so I’ll definitely be following through on that 🙂

  2. I’ve been doing the Couch to 5k and really like it so far (week 3 out of 9). I definitely feel a lot better than I did at week 1 and it is motivating simply because you feel so good afterward. I’d highly recommend the app if you have an iPhone – the lady tells you what to do at the right intervals so you don’t have to pay attention to a stopwatch or anything. She even interrupts music that is playing. That would also be the #2 thing I would recommend – distract yourself with music. If I don’t have music for whatever reason (dead battery or whatever) then I just can’t go. The silence is too much – mainly because it isn’t silent at all – it is huffing and puffing and interior complaining and thinking about the slowly creeping time… awful.

    • I’ve had so many people rave to me about Couch to 5K, and from your comment it sounds like something I could work with! I would do much better having the lady tell me what to do and when. Thank you for the terrific advice!

  3. Hey Olivia! i just stumbled across this on twitter and thought I’d try and give you some tips! My first insight would be to tell you that a 5k is 3.1 miles not 3.2 so you’re running less already! 😉 Secondly, the Color Run is my favorite 5k I have ever run in my whole life and I have run a whole heck of a lot of 5ks over the years. There is a super light hearted not too serious feel to it. It was made for pure fun. They don’t even keep an official clock or anything. So, since your end goal is a fun 5k I’d say try and keep your training fun. I know starting out it’s hard to have that mindset but at least keeping it in the back of your head will hopefully help keep you lighthearted on the not so fun days. Also, since you’ll be running with your sister-in-laws in the 5k I’d suggest that, if it’s possible, you should train together too! Or at least find someone to run with every once and awhile. Having a buddy makes things way more fun and keeps you accountable. Don’t let your fear of the end distance keep you from taking the first step and running those first 5 minutes. Seriously, start out small and work your way up – you’ll be amazed at your progress. I’m not familiar with the Couch to 5k but if it’s a program that will help you stay on track go for it! Oh and making running a prayer is a helpful tactic too! If you offer your runs up for other people it helps to make it about those intentions and glorifying God for the abilities He has given you rather than about the pains and aches you’re feeling. I wish you the best of luck and if you have any questions at all shoot them my way and I’ll try to help you out! 🙂 Happy running!

    • Claire! You’re an angel. I’m so glad to hear about the light-hearted feel of the Color Run- that’s wayyy more my style! Praise God it’s only 3.1 miles, I’ll take all the breaks I can get 😉
      Intercessory exercise is one of my favorites and it definitely has kept me motivated in the past. Isn’t that wild how much that pushes us? It’s awesome. THANK YOU one thousand times for your tips, I can’t tell you how helpful they are!

  4. I ran a 5K in October and used the training schedule the color run provides, and did okay. Then about 5 weeks ago I download the couch 2 5k App on my iPhone and LOVE it so much more! I use that and runtastic at the same time – C25K keeps track of the time while the other app keeps track of the distance I go. It’s really great!

    And last November I volunteered at the Color Run in Charlotte and it’s tons of fun – all for fun, no one is super competitive. My advice is to wear a hat or glasses or goggles to keep your eyes free of powder.

    Enjoy the running!

  5. I love running! I ran through high school and was on cross country in college and I ran for fun. The farthest I ran was 14 miles pre baby for the “Run on the sly”! Then after baby BAM! Running not as fun at all 🙁 I’m training for a 5k too and oh man it’s hard! I’m with you there love! But these ladies have amazing advice! I’m actually going to try coach to 5k!:) one thing I would say is don’t forget the strength training! It’s immensely important! Even light weighted squats and some core workouts will be a huge help! You use your core a lot in running and the squats will help your knees 🙂 Goodluck and most of all have fun!!! 😀

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