7 Tips for Running a 5K Without Stopping

Runners Legs in Race
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If you’re trying to run a 5k (3.1 miles) without walking or stopping completely, here are some tips to help you reach your goal:

1. Follow a 5k Training Schedule

If you’re fairly new to running, it’s a good idea to build up to the 3.1-mile distance by using a run/walk strategy and slowly building up your running intervals. Don't worry about your pace at all. Just focus on trying to increasing your running intervals and decreasing your walking intervals.

Try this 5k training schedule that takes you from 5-minute running intervals to 30 minutes of non-stop running in 8 weeks.

2. Don't Go Too Fast

You may find that you can increase your distance if you just…slow…down. Move at a "conversational pace", which means that you should be able to talk in complete sentences as you're running. If you find yourself getting out of breath, slow it down. As you build your fitness, you'll be able to pick up your pace but, for now, just focus on increasing your distance.

3. Avoid Side Stitches 

Many new runners have to stop and walk because they develop side stitches, or a pain right below the rib cage. The most effective way to prevent side stitches is to avoid shallow breathing. Breathe in through your nose AND mouth and out through your mouth when you're running. Breathe deeply from your belly, not your chest. Deep belly breathing allows you to take in more air.

4. Watch Your Posture

Keep your shoulders back and practice good posture. If you're leaning forward, it's much harder to breathe. Staying upright will keep your lungs open so you'll breathe much more efficiently.

5. Use Your Arms to Move You Forward

Keep your arms at a 90-degree angle as you're running. Rotate your arms at your shoulders. As you pull one arm back, pull the other one forward. This arm movement will help to propel your body forward, so your legs don't have to work so hard. Your arms help lighten your legs' workload, so use them.

6. Take It Easy on the Hills

Some runners attack hills, assuming they should just try to get them over with as quickly as possible. You should ease your pace on the hill so that you don’t exhaust yourself and end up walking halfway up it or once you reach the top. Tell yourself that you'll slow down a little on the uphill, but you'll end up going a bit faster on the downhill. Keep swinging your arms and help them "pump" you up the hill.

7. Win the Mental Battle

You may have the physical fitness to run 5K without stopping, but you find yourself giving into thoughts of, "just stop now." In many cases, it's simply "mind over matter." Try to distract yourself by playing mind games, listening to music or audiobooks, using a running mantra, choosing new running routes, or running with other people.

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