How to Create Your Own 5k Race During Pandemic

Build Motivation and Fitness by Creat Your Own Running Adventure

This is the year you’re going to get in shape and start running! And for most of us, finding a local 5k or 10k race can serve as a great goal for your training. But most races in 2020 were scrubbed, and 2021 isn’t looking a lot better until late summer or fall. So it’s time to plan to create your own 5k race during the pandemic – or other adventure if you’re feeling up for a bigger challenge!

Use the pandemic time to prepare for some kind of adventure that pushes you out of your comfort zone and gives you a purpose to get out and do something.

The new year is a good time to create your own 5k race that pushes you out of your comfort zone and gives you purpose and motivation.
Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash

Nickel: Create Your Own 5k Races

Lori Nickel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter and author of the Chin Up column, says she had a lot of events on her 2020 schedule prior to the pandemic.

“I decided to create my own “races,” which are really just personal challenges to train for,” she says. “For example, I?m going to do a social distancing ?triathlon? by the end of this month with two or three friends to celebrate my 50th birthday because the original triathlon has been canceled.”

Lori Nickel

And you don’t need to make this event a big deal, Nickel says.

“It just has to be one thing that you want to do. Pick a goal. Make it realistic. Pick a date on the calendar. Write it down. Pull in friends or family to join you. Or make it your own. And go for it!” she says.

Make a Date; Find a Place

First, pick a date and a place for your “Create Your Own 5k” event.

If you choose to run outdoors, you can ask a friend or two to join you.

Make the place somewhere interesting or unusual. Run from one Starbucks to another for drive-through service!

Run through a historical neighborhood.

Find the steepest or longest hill and do your event to the top.

The bottom line is to get creative and have fun with your challenge.

Start Slow With Your Training Plan

Creating an effective training plan is a challenge, even when there isn’t a global pandemic!

As with everything, you need to start slow.

Plan on getting out three days a week. If you want to do more, that’s great.

But start slowly.

Otherwise, you’ll get yourself sore, and the next day’s workout is going to suck. And you might not do it.

Day 1: Get out and move for 20 minutes.

If you’ve never run before, then jog for a minute, walk a minute.

Work up to running more than you walk, then running the whole time.

Your pace should be slow and steady. You’re building your aerobic system, and that takes time.

Create Your Own 5k By Building Up Your Aerobic System

Your next step to create your own 5k race during the pandemic is to start building up that aerobic system.

Increase that 20 minutes of running. Try one to three minutes a week or more depending on your past fitness and commitment.

Just keep adding time to your runs.

Build up to jogging/running for about 40 minutes or more, again depending on your fitness level.

Now Comes the Fun Part: Intervals

Once you have a base of fitness, let’s make you faster: Intervals!

When you create your own 5k, you’re going to want to go as fast as possible.

Here’s one example of an interval session:

Find a soccer field or some other open space. Warm up a bit with some mobility work.

Sprint down one line, rest behind the goal, then sprint down the other line.

Your first sprint should be about 60 percent of your maximum effort. Just run a little harder than normal.

You want to get warmed up with your sprinting so you don’t pull a hamstring!

Your second sprint will be about 70 percent, your third 80 percent, and so on, until you’re running as fast as you can down the sidelines.

Do these until your speed really slows down. Then stop and go home!

These short intervals will quickly build your aerobic and anaerobic systems, and make you stronger and faster, as well as give you more endurance.

Strength Training Will Help Build Your Endurance

It’s also good to build some strength training into your week as you prepare for the “Create Your Own 5k” event.

Do some body squats, split squats, lateral squats, core work, and some push-ups two or three times a week.

The strength work doesn’t need to take long.

And it yields a great benefit for your endurance, overall strength, plus strength training helps with kick-starting weight loss if that’s something you’re interested in.

Be Easy on Yourself

How to train for your own event? It takes time.

Your body needs to adapt, and that adaptation can take some time, depending on your past fitness.

Your body, like a stubborn teenager, does not want to change.

But after a few weeks of working out several times a week, your body just gives in and agrees to the adaptation your workouts are demanding.

The best way to adapt, especially when you’re starting, is to keep a training plan.

Do your running on Monday, Wednesday, and try a longer run on Saturday.

Do your strength training on Tuesday and Thursday.

Add in yoga several times a week.

Whatever works for you.

But give yourself time.

Are You Ready to Create Your Own 5k?

Get started today! Create your own 5k race during the pandemic – or create some other kind of event.

Create a schedule and stick to it.

Need some help with your program? Contact me here?