The JogBlog Guide To Training For Your First 5k

A friend on Twitter recently challenged himself to train for his first 5k in just 14 days. On top of this, he further challenged himself to run it in under 30 minutes. And guess what? He did it! Hardcore.

However, us mere mortals tend to take more than 14 days to train for our first 5k, so here’s my guide for new runners.

Get a training plan

In the olden days, before smartphones (yes kids there was such a time), we couldn’t download apps like the Kiqplan coaching app and had to make do with plans in books or printed off from the internet. I can’t remember where I got my first training plan from but it was one of those Couch to 5k plans that starts off with run/walk and progresses to 5k at the end of the plan. These plans usually last for 8 weeks or so but it took me twice as long to get through mine, so if you have to redo a week, don’t worry about it. Everyone progresses at different speeds.

If you want a laugh, go to the beginning of my blog and you can read all about my early running days back in January 2006, including endearing little snippets such as:

It was the first of the 3 minutes running / 1 minute walking (repeated 6 times) schedule today and doing 3 minutes non-stop was surprisingly easy, seeing as when I first attempted to run a few weeks ago, a minute nearly killed me.

As you can see, we all started somewhere.

Get comfortable kit

There’s no need to go out and buy the most expensive kit, especially if you’ve just started running as who knows if you’re going to continue with it? I would advise not doing what I did when I started running though and buy something more comfortable than thick, heavy tracksuit bottoms, a normal cotton t-shirt, two normal bras worn at the same time, a thick, heavy, hooded fleece, and a stiff pair of trainers that cost £10 from Shoezone. You can get perfectly decent kit at bargain prices from Sports Direct although you should probably go to a specialist running shop and get them to advise you on the right running shoes for you. Be warned though – proper running shoes aren’t cheap, although Decathlon‘s own make, Kalenji, are reasonably priced and I was very happy with the ones I had a couple of years ago.

Get gadgets

Running is more fun when you know you’re going to get home and see pretty charts and graphs and stats and stuff. There are millions of fitness apps to download and try and you can even run away from Zombies if Zombies are your thing, or you can just be old school and get a good old Garmin like my Garmin Forerunner 405 (other GPS watches are available, such as the Tom Tom Runner also pictured below).

Garmin and Tom Tom Runner

Or you can be even more old school like I was in the early days and just use a stopwatch and pedometer. Or you can be really really really old school and not use anything. That would be weird though.

The other gadget I don’t run without is my iPod. Lots of people don’t listen to music when they run but maybe they sound more elegant than I do when I’m running.

Get a race booked

You could do a parkrun, but it might be more rewarding to do a ‘proper’ race and get a medal at the end for all your hard work.

5k medal

Will run for bling

You will be nervous and you will be scared but, trust me, you’re going to fucking love it and you’ll cross that finish line with a massive grin. My first race was the Crisis Square Mile Run and I still smile when I remember how I felt when I’d finished.

Get clued up on nutrition

I’m joking. It’s 5k; eat what you want.

So, that’s my tips for new runners. Enjoy your first 5k!


The last two nights I’ve been kept awake feeling anxious about the gas and electricity keys going missing (not that my ex-tenant asked if she could change the meters to key ones in the first place, bah). I posted them to the decorator in my house a week ago but they haven’t turned up. I put £50 on each of them which is money I don’t really want to go missing, plus it means the decorator has had to hire generators which cost fuck knows how much and it also means I’m going to have to cancel the plumber who was coming round tomorrow to look at the broken boiler when I was in London to see the decorator and I don’t want to have to keep making trips to London and yes, blah blah blah, grand scale of things, blah blah blah, starving babies in Africa, blah blah blah, but I’m lying awake thinking about it and I need to be getting on with my four remaining assignments and the dissertation for which deadlines are a-looming and not worrying about meter keys going missing, leaving me with no gas or electricity when I need decorators, plumbers and carpet layers, etc. who probably don’t want to work in the dark. (They’d probably quite like to be able to have a cup of tea, too.) 

Still, when I got up, I remembered running is supposed to be good for stress, so I decided to go for a run. I also had some Teapigs Organic Matcha which apparently Buddhist monks have been drinking for centuries as it stimulates alpha brainwaves to help create a state of mental alertness while keeping you calm and focused at the same time. (If you want to know more about matcha, I blogged about it on my Planet Veggie blog earlier this morning.)

So, with all that running and matcha I should be in a matcha-induced-Buddha-like-blissful-zoned-out-state now, shouldn’t I?

Well, I’m not.

I did quite enjoy the run though, even if, while standing in the front garden staring at my wrist, I was reminded of the picture fairweatherrunner posted on her Facebook wall yesterday in an 80s-Rob-Newman-esque ‘see her? That’s you that is’ kind of way.


Everything looks like a cow

For some strange reason, although I was up early yesterday, spent the day out and about or inside packing, and completely knackered by the evening and falling asleep reading my book in bed, then I couldn’t sleep and kept waking up and was even woken up by the cat being sick and the bread machine doing it’s thing and so at 6:30am I get up before my fake sunrise comes on and before the bread machine has finished doing its thing and as I’m not aching after yesterday’s pitifully slow three miler, I decide to do another run.  Woo, get me, Miss Finely Tuned Athlete.

I clean up the cat sick and go into the bedroom to get changed into my running gear and I realise that yesterday when I carefully picked out enough clothes, including running gear (on the assumption that I’d do two more runs this week) to last me until Saturday as I packed away all my other clothes (two bin bags full for the bin, four bin bags full coming with me), I didn’t keep out any running socks and so I’ve got to wear normal socks to run in and then I’ve got to decide whether to wear the ones with monkeys, sheep, cats or cows on and I decide on the ones with sheep on and my Garmin gets a signal in record time and I leave the house at 7:30am hoping the postman doesn’t come in the next half an hour as I’m expecting three more parcels of stuff I bought via eBay and I hope I don’t have to wait all day for the postman as I need to get to the sorting office before 1:00 when it shuts to see if they’ve had my parcel from Saturday returned there yet and I don’t want my tenant getting all my parcels and parading around in my new sunglasses, whilst drinking out of my new cow mug and making jewellery with my new beads.

Ladybird Book of Farm AnimalsI go to the marshes via the boring way first this time and as I go towards the bridge another runner’s coming towards me and I think, aah, another hardcore runner, running early in the morning, I bet he says hello to me, the hardcore runners are usually the friendliest and he does indeed say hello to me and I say hello back, so he knows I’m also a hardcore runner and not just a red-faced shuffling thing and I get through the bridge and I think I see cows and then I think no, they’re not cows because a) the cows aren’t due back until July; and b) they’re horses and I think I’d better get the Ladybird Book of Farm Animals before I move so I don’t go up to horses and say moo and look stupid in front of the Country People.

And then I’m back to thinking about what to pack next, as I’ve still got a desk to sort out and the entire contents of my kitchen to pack and I think I could pack all my dishes and stuff and just use one plate and knife and fork and wash them up every day and then I think HUSH!  WHAT AM I THINKING? DO MY OWN WASHING UP? I don’t think so and then my thoughts turn to Juneathon and I wonder if Joggerblogger/[rich] will mind if I take over if he can’t do it this year and Hauling My Carcass has asked what the Rules of Juneathon are and so here’s a quick rundown and I will be reminding everyone later in the month and cracking the whip then.

Juneathon rules
Run or exercise every day
Blog about it

Easy, huh?

And then I get home and my hair’s all over the place and I think maybe I should get a hairband like the new doctor in Eastenders wears when he’s out for a run (which seems to be most of the time) and I think no, he looks like a dork.

Distance: 3.03 miles
Time: 34:20
Pace: 11:20 m/m
Calories: 255
Cat sick: 1
Fresh loaves of bread: 1
Pairs of sheep socks: 1
Hardcore runners recognising me as a fellow hardcore runner and not a red-faced shuffling thing: 1
Horses: lots
Cows: 0
Plates I’m going to wash up myself: 0
Rules of Juneathon: 2
New dorky looking doctors in Eastenders who do nothing but run all day: 1
Foo Fighters
Duran Duran
Electric Soft Parade
Cardiacs & Affectionate Friends

Powered by sun-dried tomato and jalapeno bread

This morning’s aroma (apart from the cat litter tray) was sun-dried tomato and jalapeno bread and I start to eat it while I’m emptying the dishwasher and making tea and I think stop eating bread, I don’t usually eat before a run and I decide to call it fuelling instead of gluttony and it looks bright and sunny today and I wonder how far I should run and I decide to attempt six miles and think ha ha ha ha ha, yeah, right, I don’t think I’ve run more than four miles in the whole of my “training” and the Reading Half‘s in five weeks and once again I think oops and I go to put my Garmin outside and it says it’s only got 11 hours charge on it and it usually has 13 and I think will I be out running for more than 11 hours? and I think probably not and I tell the cat to go inside and she goes inside and hisses at me and I think why are you hissing at me? you usually save that kind of behaviour for Shaun and Faith No More start singing From Out of Nowhere and I think oh no, I don’t like to leave a song unfinished, but if I wait until the song’s finished, my Garmin will lose its signal and so I cut Faith No More off in their prime and go outside and I get to the marina and there’s a sign that says footpath closed and I wonder if the sign’s lying and it’s really closed and I think anyway, I don’t want the footpath, I want the footbridge and I go up to the bridge and it is shut and I think they need to change their sign and I turn round and go back and then there’s a sign that says footbridge closed and I think that’s a stupid place to put it, after people have already been up to the bridge and found it closed and so I go the other way and a man runs past me with a small dog and he says hello and I get overtaken on the bridge before the Sex Change Pub but I don’t mind being overtaken, after all I’m used to it and then there’s a dog with three legs rolling around and looking very happy  and there’s a man coming down the path with a hoody and gloves and I think HOW SCARY DO YOU LOOK? and on the corner is a man standing by a tree and I wonder why he’s standing by a tree and I decide he’s just waiting for people to play football with and in the car park is a group of people and I wonder why they’re hanging around in the car park and I decide they are also just waiting for people to play football with and I turn right instead of left this time as last time I turned left it was the wrong way and I got lost in the forest like The Cure although I’m not sure if they were singing about Hackney Marshes and then a cyclist starts to slow down and I think please don’t stop and he stops and I think eek but then I see he’s just waiting for his dog and I think phew and two old men walk past me and they say hello and I wonder why I’m not scared of old men or cyclists or runners or people walking dogs  or people walking with other people but if I see any men under the age of 50 on their own over the marshes I have a heart attack and I go past the stables and it smells and it reminds me I’ve got to empty the litter tray and then I get home and somehow I’ve managed to do nearly 6.5 miles.  Yay for me.


Splits 21 February 2009


Distance: 6.47 miles
Time: 1:11:26
Pace: 11:03 m/m
Calories: 555
Loaves of sun-dried tomato and jalapeno bread: 1
Cats hissing: 1
Runners overtaking me on bridges: 1
Dogs with three legs: 1
Scary looking men with hoody and gloves: 1
Men standing by trees: 1
Groups in the car park: 1
Cyclists stopping to wait for their dog: 1
Smelly stables: 1
Smelly cat litter trays: 1
The Killers
Polyphonic Spree