Run Your First Family 5K

5K - A Great Way to Set and Achieve Fitness Goals! 5K - A Great Way to Set and Achieve Fitness Goals!

Training for and participating in a 5K run is a great way to set and achieve family fitness goals.

Time and Motivation

If your family is like most, finding the time and motivation for family fitness can be a challenge.  Between work, school, and other obligations, commitment to family fitness often never moves beyond thoughts like, "We really should try harder to be healthy."

A great way to improve family fitness today, and have a lot of fun in the process, is to run a 5K together.

A Reasonable Fitness Goal

Training for and participating in a 5K run, which is just over 3 miles, provides a great opportunity for families to set and achieve reasonable fitness goals.  And the time commitment to prepare for a 5K isn't as significant as you might think.

Even if you or your family members are couch potatoes, training for and running a 5K is achievable thanks to some great training programs tailored specifically for couch potatoes. My favorite is C25K® - 5K Trainer Pro.

C25K eases you into training by alternating between walking and light jogging. Over time you will slowly add in more running until you can run a full 5K!  Each daily run lasts for about 30 minutes, 3 days per week for 8 weeks, with increasing distance each week. However, feel free to spend more time on a session or week if you need it.

4 Tips to Get Your Family Going

  1. Register Today! - The first and most important step is to find a 5K run in your area and register now so that it's on the calendar. This will give you a fixed goal to work toward. Since many 5K training programs are slated for 8 weeks, try to find a 5K event that is at least 8 - 10 weeks away. This should give you plenty of time to prepare, depending on your current level of fitness. Just Google "5K run" and the name of your town; with the popularity of 5K races, chances are you will find one in your area.
  2. Select a Training Program - Pick a training program that suits you. There are numerous training programs available with a variety of music styles for your mp3 player or smartphone. Each family member can pick his or her favorite. Some running coaches also offer 5K training programs. These programs are a great way to meet and be inspired by other people.
  3. Join another family or some friends - Training for and participating in a 5K with others can help keep you motivated and accountable. 
  4. Start today!  Decide which days and at what times you will train, and stick with your plan. Understandably, deviation from the plan is sometimes necessary but attempting to simply fit your training in on a day-to-day basis can be difficult. By establishing a fixed training schedule, you won't have your run hanging over your head each day. You want the experience to be fun rather than a burden.

Get Fit and Create a Lasting Memory

Training for and participating in a 5K can improve your overall fitness. And perhaps just as important, it can create a lasting memory for you, your family, and friends, and give you the motivation to pursue even higher fitness goals.

Brian DeLay

Brian DeLay is an airline pilot living in the Midwest with his wife and three children. As an avid runner and cyclist he has completed numerous half-marathons, marathons, and cycling "century" rides, and serves as the race director for the Run for the Ridge 5K. His favorite activities are those he shares with his family. Visit Brian on Google+

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