5 Common misconceptions about starting a 5K running program

1.) Age is a factor

Older people may not be able to run a race as quickly as they were able to when they were 25, but that doesn’t mean age disqualifies you from being able to run races competitively and achieve running goals. We can expect to slow down a little as we age, but we can find reasonable, age-appropriate finishing-time targets. Don’t allow your age to discourage you from starting a 5k race. There are safe ways to prepare for a run without injuring yourself at any age.


2.) Running is bad for your joints

Not true! Your joints need force and impact to grow stronger to be able to accommodate a higher level of activity. There’s a law in medicine called Wolff’s law which states bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed. If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading. 


3.) You need to drink a lot of water while running

You may come across water tables and hydration stations at 5K races but drinking all that water may not be necessary. Your body is very good at determining if you’re dehydrated or not. If you’re not thirsty, there’s a very good chance that you’re not dehydrated. If you’re forcing water down even if you’re not thirsty you can cause gastrointestinal distress, and in extreme cases, water intoxication. The new hydration advice for running is to drink according to your thirst. Dehydration really only affects performance in workouts lasting longer than an hour, so you don’t have to drink during workouts that are shorter than an hour, like a 5K.


4.) Getting a good breathing pattern doesn’t matter for a 5K

Getting a good breathing pattern is something you may hear experienced runners talk about, which may make you think that it’s not applicable for you since you’re only preparing for a 5k. I would argue that it’s a good idea to start training with a good breathing pattern from the beginning because not only will it improve your running time and efficiency but can also help decrease the risk for injuries.


5.) Having the best running shoes is important.

Most people who start running will go out and spend a fortune on the newest top of the line running shoes. However, there is no research to indicate that one type of running shoe is better than another. I would recommend trying out many different types of shoes with different size arch support to determine what feels best. Whatever feels best for you is probably the best shoe for you.


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