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thanksgiving races, first 5k medal, Boston Volvo

How to choose your first 5k

10 Tips for New Runners

I love info-graphics because they’re a quick and easy way to pick up a few facts. By design they are brief and do not cover all of the details.

In the next few posts, I will expand on a few of the items in the info graphic below.


Price, time and location are all important considerations. When I look at races and plan my year, I schedule most of my races within 50 miles of home. I usually plan one or two as my destination races for the year.

Time. Before you schedule any races make sure you know when the weddings, family reunions, work trips etc. are. You can’t tell your boss or spouse that you can’t go to an event because you have a 5K that day.

I use a spread sheet to keep track of these important dates and plan my races around them.

Price. If this is your first 5K you should know that 5K registration fees range from $15 to $50. The “reasonableness” of the price depends on the charity the race supports and what you get for the money.

A big race with lots of street closures, a fancy medal and a big post race party will cost a lot more than a smaller race put on by your local YMCA. The Y has many volunteers and often has donated food and water.

Large or small, most races support local groups such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club or the local high school track team. Many races also raise money to fund medical research and to support families in need.

Many people run their first 5K in memory of a family member and to raise funds for research. If you find a race that is eight weeks away and supports a cause dear to your heart, sign up and start training.

I’ve paid $50 for a 5K and I’ve even run a few free 5Ks. A higher price does not always equal a better experience.

Many low cost 5Ks do not provide a finisher’s medal. Something to consider if this is your first 5K race.


If you are new to running the primary consideration should be – when is the race?

If you are new to running, your fitness level on race day depends on how long you have to train for the race.

The Couch to 5K program is an 8 week program. If you are looking to run your first 5K, this program or something similar is a great way to start.

new runners, first 5k, 10 tips for new runners

Eight weeks is a reasonable amount of time to train for your first 5K. With this in mind you can look for your first 5K.

There are many places to look for local 5Ks. Cool Running and have extensive listings. Local timing companies also list all of the races they are involved with.

Google “5K Boston” but insert your town. You are sure to find a long list of races. It is easy to get excited looking at all of the races and the great causes that they raise funds for.

Before you register for anything, make sure the race is at least 8 weeks away. It’s also a good idea to see if any friends are interested in going with you.

Even if they aren’t running, the moral support is invaluable. You also need someone to park the car while you go get your number!

If your friend wants to run the race also, you can train together!

My next post will look at,


Run well my friends,

Andy, pub-4167727599129474, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0





5 responses to “How to choose your first 5k”

  1. seetinarun Avatar

    This is a really helpful guide for new racers. I think my first 5K was somewhere around 1988? There was no chip or B-tag timing. I think there was water and maybe some oranges at the end, along with a cotton race T. Races were not as common back then, and I think I only “found” them when my school or someone I knew was sponsoring them. My, has racing come a long way!!! I love it! Great expansion on the infographic!

    1. OmniRunner Avatar

      Thank you. We were all new at this at one time. I like to try and offer a little direction for the new runners and hopefully make things a little easier for them.

  2. runsaltrun Avatar

    Very excellent tips and great infographic too! Sharing with the Twitterverse. 🙂

    1. OmniRunner Avatar

      Thank you. There are many places to find races and as you know it can get exciting to look at all of those races. I hope this helps the new runners chose wisely so that they have a positive first experience.

  3. […] January I wrote How to choose your first 5K and How to choose a running watch. I was expanding on the information from the info-graphic […]