How to Walk/Run Your First 5K

Sara asks: I am getting ready to do my first 5K. I have been training by running five minutes and walking one minute. My question is can I do this during the race? Will I get trampled when I stop to walk, and will other runners be walking?

In all likelihood, you won’t be alone and other runners will be doing some walking during the race. Using a run/walk interval is a very popular training method, so the odds are in your favor that other runners will be doing the same thing.

Your first race is always a bit of an experiment, so try to relax. The best way to enjoy the experience is to run the race the way you have trained. One challenge will be figuring out where to line up at the start of the race.

Ideally, you want to place yourself in the crowd so you can not only run freely during your run interval, but also be able to walk when you have to without impeding other runners.

If you’re in a bigger race, look for minute per kilometre pace signs at the race start that runners use for lining themselves up. But even if those aren’t posted, keep in mind that faster runners are toward the front, and slower runners position themselves closer to the back. Place yourself by your overall training pace per kilometre, which would include your walk breaks.

Wherever you decide to line up, when you are going to walk I suggest you move over to one side of the road as far as you can in preparation for your break. Then, before you walk, raise your hand up and announce “Walking!” loudly so those around you can hear it.

This will signal to the runners behind you that you are slowing up and avert any collisions.

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