Getting Ready For That First 5K

Training for your first proper run can be daunting. Whether your goal is to continue short distance runs, or if you want to move to full marathons and beyond, the 5k not only is the first big step towards your goals, but can be a source of confidence and pride for future running endeavours.

If you've never run a 5k before -- or never ran any distance before -- you'll need to ease yourself into it. Here is a guide to the equipment and training that will help you achieve your goals.

Need running gear for your first 5K? Visit the Running activity on SportChek.ca for all your athletic-wear and running-accessory needs.

Proper Equipment

Running Shoes

The best way to find the right running shoes is to have your gait analysed. Many people are over-pronators, meaning that running places excess pressure on the feet, ankles and beyond. Proper footwear may be needed to counter this issue. Sport Chek has a wide variety of footwear for all gaits and styles. The terrain you will be running on must also be taken into account, with less forgiving surfaces like concrete necessitating extra protection and padding.

Socks & Accessories

It is worth investing in good quality, running socks. These hug the feet to prevent rubbing and blisters, as well as providing cushioning in key areas.

Other things to consider are running specific apparel, water bottles, belts and sports bras.

Training Techniques for that first 5K

Assuming you've never trained for a run before, follow this 8-week training regime to effectively ready your muscles and joints for the stresses to come.

  • Week 1: Begin by walking in your new running shoes. Walking puts much less   impact stress on the body, and will begin to prepare you for running. Walk for 30-minutes to one hour, four days a week.
  • Week 2: Up the pace of your walking and begin light jogging intervals towards the end of the week.
  • Week 3: Still training four days out of seven, do two 30-minute walks and two 15-20-minute jogging sessions.
  • Week 4: All jogging now. Put in four 20-30-minute light jogging sessions and begin to up the pace as you feel your fitness escalating.
  • Week 5: Now you must begin to look to your target distance. By the end of this    week you should have jogged 5K, no matter what the pace.
  • Week 6: Aim for two 5K runs out of your four sessions this week.
  • Week 7: Each session should be approaching 5K now. Aim to up the pace for your last run of the week.
  • Week 8: You should now be comfortable with 5K. Put in one session above this   distance and one session at your target race pace.


Getting Ready For That First Half-Marathon

The type of equipment you'll need

A half-marathon, at 21 kilometres, is a serious distance to run, even under non-competition conditions. A world class distance in its own right, it is often seen as the gateway race to the marathon.

If you're considering running a half-marathon, you're likely a fairly experienced runner. For your first half-marathon, you'll need a specialized training regime designed to fully prepare you to hit your targets and keep you injury-free. Your biggest concern when tackling distances such like the half-marathon should be picking up an overuse injury. Adequate recovery, a proper schedule for warming up and down, as well as tailored footwear, will go a long way to avoiding any bad outcome.

If you haven't had your gait analyzed before, now is a good time. As you move up in distance, those tiny aches and pains that almost all of us have experienced can start to manifest themselves as overuse injuries, like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. Sport Chek has a wide variety of footwear for all gaits and styles. The terrain you will be running on must also be taken into account, as running on grass or on tracks require less protection and padding than concrete.

If you don't already use running specific socks that support and cushion all the right areas, now is also a good time to start. Blisters are the last thing you need two weeks out from your race.

Training Regime

A good time frame to fully prepare for a half-marathon is twelve weeks before the race. This allows adequate adjustment to the distance, without placing undue stress on your hard-working body. Here is a useful program.

1. Week 1, here we go! Train four days this week, making one session a cross-training (XT) session or similar, to add variety and get some different energy systems working. On the other three days, run 3-5 kilometres.

2. As last week increase the distances to 4-6.5 kilometres.

3. Distances now 4-8 kilometres.

4. Runs of 5, 6.5 and 10 kilometres, plus XT.

5. Up the longer distance to 11 kilometres.

6. 6.5, 6.5 and 13 kilometre runs, plus XT

7. Now train 5 days per week. Stick with one cross-training session and run 6.5, 6.5, 8 and 14.5 kilometres.

8. As before but up the long run to 16 kilometres.

9. Long run now 17.5 kilometres.

10. Hit 19.5 kilometres on your big day. You have now almost run a half-marathon!

11. Bring it down now. Do three 8-11 kilometre runs, plus XT.

12. Race preparation week. Three short sessions of 4-7 kilometres, with plenty of good eating. Load up on complex carbs and get some massage.

Race! Go for it! You should be fully prepared.



The marathon is for most runners the pinnacle, the ultimate distance. It involves plenty of pain, hours of torture, but it is attainable by many of us who aspire to such an achievement. The full marathon is about 42 kilometres, 385 yards, or 42,195 metres. The distance harks from Greek folklore and the fabled feat of Pheidippides, who ran the exact distance from the battle of Marathon back to Athens.

A marathon is a serious undertaking, and as such, requires a specialist training regime to prepare you and deliver you to your target injury-free.

Before you begin marathon training, it is a good idea to have your gait analyzed so you can purchase footwear that will help prevent any imbalances from turning into overuse injuries such as stress fractures and tendonitis. Sport Chek has a wide variety of footwear for all gaits and styles. Running specific socks are also highly recommended, as they help prevent blisters, and help in supporting and cushioning your feet.

Visit our Running section at SportChek.ca for all your marathon running needs, from running shoes, to water bottles and specially designed running apparel.

Training for that first marathon

A good time frame to fully prepare for a marathon is 16 weeks, which will allow your body to adjust to the huge task at hand. Here is a useful program:

For this entire program, you will be training four days per week. You should spread these training days out as much as possible, although you will have to train on two consecutive days at least once per week. Set one free day per week aside for your weekly 'long run', and have a rest day on either side of it. For the first few weeks, you could trade one of your shorter run days for an intensive cross-training session to break up the monotony and get different muscles and energy systems involved.

1. Week 1: Let's go! Your three shorter runs should be 5, 6.5 and 5 kilometres respectively, with your long run being 8 kilometres.

2. Week 2: Run 5, 6.5, 5 short runs, and a 10 kilometre longer run.

3. Week 3: Run 5, 6.5, 5, and 11 kilometres

4. 5, 8, 5, and 13 km

5. 5, 8, 5, and 16 km

6. 6.5, 8, 6.5, and 17.5 km

7. 6.5, 10, 6.5, and 19.5 km

8. 6.5, 10, 6.5, and 22.5 km

9. 6.5, 11, 6.5, and 26 km

10. 8, 13, 8, and 26 km

11. 8, 13, 8, and 27.5 km

12. 8, 13, 8, and 29 km

13. 8, 13, 8, and 32 km

14. 8, 13, 8, and 14.5 km

15. 5, 8, 5, and 13 km

16. 5, 5, and 3 km.

Is there a local race coming up before the big marathon? Go for it! You should be fully prepared.

This article and post is designed for educational purposes only. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is a possibility of physical injury. Please consult with a doctor prior to engaging in any exercise or exercise program. The use of any information provided is solely at your own risk. Product selection is an individual choice and the consumer is responsible for determining whether or not any product is suitable based on the consumer’s circumstances.