Nervous about running 5k distance

I know it's short compared to what many of you run, but for me, a person who used to hate running and could barely do the laps in high school P.E., it's daunting. I know I need to start trying to reach that distance because I've signed up for a 5k in late October, but every time I think of it I get so nervous, and it's hindering my running overall. Any suggestions on how to get over this anxiety and get out there?


  • s_pekz
    s_pekz Posts: 340 Member
    Couch to 5k. it will build up your confidence
  • FitFabFlirty92
    FitFabFlirty92 Posts: 384 Member
    Couch to 5k. it will build up your confidence

    I started with a similar program on my phone and found it moved too slow for me. I started just running as much as I could and walking when I needed to for about 1.5 miles. Once I did 2.5 miles. Physically, I know I can do 3.1. Mentally, it's still a battle.
  • JustSomeEm
    JustSomeEm Posts: 20,197 MFP Moderator
    It sounds like its mind over matter for you. You'll get it - just push past the "I can't", because clearly, you can. Good luck! :flowerforyou:
  • KellySue67
    KellySue67 Posts: 1,006 Member
    Couch to 5k. it will build up your confidence

    It may be slow, but it helps to build your endurance. It really is a great option. I wasn't running at all at the beginning of May and I started it at the beginning and I run pretty close to a 5k 1-2 times per week.
  • debmac63
    debmac63 Posts: 459 Member
    At every 5K that I've done there are runners, joggers, walkers and everything in-between. Just get out there and keep running your build up miles! My guess is that if you even run half and walk half you'll finish somewhere in the middle. :smile:
  • TheStephil
    TheStephil Posts: 858 Member
    Couch to 5k. it will build up your confidence

    ^^ This

    Even if you think its too easy. Maybe start at a later week. Try not to look at the mileage and just follow the program and youll be surprised how far you can go.
  • PaulFields56
    PaulFields56 Posts: 108 Member
    I don't like running much either, but I do enjoy "running" a 5K, especially with my kids. Like you, I run some, and I walk some. Years ago, I trained for and ran a few marathons using the Galloway method. It's really interval training, and you can set the intervals to what you like. But for your first 5K, just enjoy it, even if you walk the whole thing!
  • Gidzmo
    Gidzmo Posts: 904 Member
    Remember to keep hydrated. Maybe tackle the running in small bites till you get to 5K.
  • csk0018
    csk0018 Posts: 219 Member
    You are right, it is all mental. My mind still tries to tell me to "only run 2 miles" even though I know I can run more. You just have to find the other side of your mind that wants to challenge you. There is always self-doubt, you just have to overcome it. I used to only be able to run for 30 seconds at a time but I still did it. Now -- I'm up to 10 miles. If I can do it, anyone can do it! Good luck on your 5K! :bigsmile:
  • Marbella29660
    Marbella29660 Posts: 71 Member
    At every 5K that I've done there are runners, joggers, walkers and everything in-between. Just get out there and keep running your build up miles! My guess is that if you even run half and walk half you'll finish somewhere in the middle. :smile:

    ^^^ this
  • meganjcallaghan
    meganjcallaghan Posts: 949 Member
    i don't know if this would work for you because it really just depends on personality..... i'm very much a "i've decided to do [x] so i'm doing it." sort of person. I don't really attach feelings to my "i'd be so happy if i could just do [x]" or "if i don't manage to do [x] i'll feel like such a failure". I simply decide to do something and do it. So....when I started running I began by walking a bit, running a bit, walking a bit....etc and just gradually made the running bits longer than walking. Eventually though I picked a 6 k route and started off running...went as far as I could before I felt like I was going to die (luckily i've never had an issue with being out of breath from running, but i did have shin splints). The next day I decided I had to go at LEAST as far as I did the day before. I could go further if I wanted, but I could never do less because I had already proven it was do-able. So I just did it. Gradually I went further and further, never less than the day before, until I reached a full 6k of running without stopping. After that I had no excuse to do less because obviously I knew it was totally do-able.

    All that rambling to say - you could just start with a bit and increase it however much you want each day (push yourself within reason) and just aim to hit at least that same distance the next time you run.
  • kashcopyright
    kashcopyright Posts: 21 Member
    I was the same way!
    I started trying to follow the c25k and found it to move too slow for me.
    So I adjusted it to fit my needs.

    My two cents is to train for 3.5 miles instead of a 5k or even try to do 4 miles, and keep record of it so you can see your progress.
    That way when you're thinking "There's no way I can do this 5k", you can look and see that you've done way more than that.
    Oh and loud music is nice and distracting, too.

    I ran my first 5k a few weeks ago and it didn't seem very long at all!

    Good luck, you can do it!!
  • mellenorris
    mellenorris Posts: 99 Member
    Sounds like you're on the right track - it's all mental! Figure out a way to distract yourself.

    Explore on Google Earth and find a trail or park that excites you (be familiar with the area, and let someone know where you're running!). "Get lost" - just start running! Make it an adventure. Or, if you're a creative type, use free apps to help you "draw" something fun while you run. Maybe try setting time goals instead of distance goals. What sounds more intimidating to you - running for 3.1 miles, or running for 45 minutes?

    It took me a long time to break away from "small" distances - for me, mixing it up and choosing a park where I had lots of paths to choose from helped me enjoy the run, stop thinking about the distance, and just get lost in it :)
  • loubidy
    loubidy Posts: 440 Member
    Running is way more mental than physical. I set mini goals like "the next road end" "hey I don't think I'm going to die, maybe the next one"

    I also use a HRM as I have learnt what my heart rate is when I can run longer and when I feel like I might die. I find it extremely useful!!
  • I love this question as a runner and coach. The first thing to do is find a training partner. Ideally is is probably the most helpful. Every town has a local running club chapter these members are a wealth of knowledge and a true runner is supportive of your and your journey. If that is not possible or you fell nervous about going that route, try a training program. i reccommend the Jeff Galloway programs, he is the father of the run/walk method. The nerves really go away a little more with each run. And on race day trust me you will be a whole lot more composed if you have trained well to begin with. I find the nerves set in when you know the training was not what it should have been. I never ever get nervous at the start of any races anymore, is it because I am just that awesome ;) no its because some where along the way it became less about what everyone else thought around me or what they were doing and more about doing the very best I could do. I find that you need to just jump in and tackle it, because the mental fears are almost always worse than the reality and the only way to know that is to just get out there and get it done. I hope that helps. Good luck and just enjoy the run and get ready to be hooked. I ran one race and I have never looked back. I love the whole race day experience its amazing. I dont think I would have any clothes in my closet if I did not have race shirts.
  • onefortyone
    onefortyone Posts: 531 Member
    It is 100% mental! I kind of know the feeling - I built my way up by running as much as I could, now I can run for 20 minutes without stopping, but getting beyond that point is SUPER daunting, because my brain is like no, stop, you're done, you can't go any further, you'll injure yourself. You deserve to rest now, etc. My brain is super convincing lol.

    So when my brain is telling me to stop, I am starting to do a self-check - heart? Pumping hard, but no pain or too-rapid heartbeats. Breathing/lungs? Shallow, ragged - but I can take a few deep breaths and concentrate on my breathing form to get more oxygen. Legs? Tired, aching, but they can still move. That helps me to shut my brain up and keep going just a bit further. I just need to push it past 20 minutes, and you need to push it past 2.5 miles!

    We can do this!
  • dangerousdumpling
    dangerousdumpling Posts: 1,109 Member
    Are you continuing to stick to a C25k plan and running 3x per week? If not, find one that you like and figure out where you should start in the schedule. Don't jump ahead too far or you'll wear yourself out or worse - get hurt. Start wherever you think you'd feel like you can handle it. Then just go with the routine. You have time to finish it before your race.
    Then focus on your accomplishment after each run. You'll make improvements every week.

    Another tip is to slow down your running. You'll wear yourself out if you are going too fast. Slow down and work on increasing your time running - not your speed. Speed will increase over time.

    You can also find breathing tips for running online. Controlling your breathing as you run will help you run longer and help you with the jitters.

    I know how you feel. I'm working on C25k. The first time I ran I was genuinely surprised that I didn't spontaneously develop asthma and have to call 911, fall, totally fail, or die. I just did what I was supposed to do and I was really proud of myself. I did what I didn't think I was capable of and so can you. :flowerforyou:
  • s_pekz
    s_pekz Posts: 340 Member
    ALso I find running distances outside much easier. i go faster and it feels shorter even if the run is longer. highly recomended
  • HonuNui
    HonuNui Posts: 1,464 Member
    1. Race day adrenaline REALLY makes a difference in mental attitude: you'll probably find it much easier to run further than your normal just because of all the energy around you.
    2. If you can't run it all, what will happen to you? Um, nothing. Run what you can, walk what you can't, and make that your benchmark to surpass in the next race-remember that you are racing ONLY against you.
  • kaspatore
    kaspatore Posts: 95 Member
    Pick a person and tell yourself "I'm going to pass him." or like others have mentioned, find a lightpole/ street/ landmark and tell yourself you can't think of walking again until there. Ususally when I get there, I'm like Meh- I can keep going. Look at the beautiful sky, wave at the people clapping and cheering. cheer on someone nearby... start singing whatever is on your Ipod to yourself. focus on anything other than being tired.