Fitness & Training, Prepare for an event

A guide to success in your first 5 km race

Are you a beginner at running? Would you like to participate in your first 5km race? To prepare yourself in the best way possible, set up a preparation schedule which includes food, sleep, equipment and 3 targeted sessions per week. By following this advice, you will be fit and rested, ready to give your best on the day.

Preparing for your 5 km race: our advice

young couple runner running on running road in city park

Preparation for a 5 km race is recommended: plan a progressive training programme spread over approximately 2 months. This period will be an opportunity for you to adopt a balanced diet, to set up a good sleep rhythm and to prepare personalised training sessions in order to be ready on the day of the event.

For example, your training plan could include 3 running sessions per week, approximately one every two days. To optimise your results, add cardio or strength training exercises to your schedule. In any case, plan at least 1 rest day per week in order to avoid injuries and to be fit on the day.

Before you start your preparation programme, sort out your equipment: we do not recommend that you test new shoes or clothing on the day of a major event. Consult our dedicated article for help with choosing your running shoes.

Diet, sleep: our tips for race day

Home made vegan sandwich with avocado dip, baked pumpkin and persimmon, decorated with Feta cheese abd balsamic. Top View

After your 2 months of training, race day has finally arrived. These tips should help you get through your first 5 km run with your head held high:

  •  On the night before the event, try to sleep for at least 8 hours, after a light meal. 
  • On the morning of the race, eat a full breakfast, but nothing too heavy to digest, at least 3 hours before the start of the race. 
  • During the race, stick to your rhythm, without letting yourself be influenced by that of the other runners. 
  • To keep up the pace, try not to exceed 90% of your maximum heart rate (MHR) for the first kilometre. 

Your preparation schedule for a 5 km race

Here is an example of a 6 week training programme for a 5 km race:

  • Week 1: the objective is to be able to run 2.5 km, half the distance of the race you are preparing for. 
  • Session 1: to start gently, run 2 times 1 km, with 5 minutes of recovery time between the phases of the session. 
  • Session 2: run 2 km without interruption. 
  • Session 3: you are ready to run 2.5 km without stopping. 
  • Week 2: the objective is to run 3 km. 
  •  Session 1: start by running 2 km continuously. 
  • Session 2: run for 2.5 km. 
  • Session 3: plan a 3 km route. 
  • Week 3: your new goal is to run 3.5 km. 
  • Session 1: repeat a 2 km run. 
  • Session 2: go to 3 km. 
  • Session 3: do a 3.5 km run. 
  • Week 4: at the end of the 3 sessions, you will be able to run 4 km continuously. 
  • Session 1: run 2.5 km. 
  • Session 2: do a 3.5 km run. 
  • Session 3: you can now run 4 km continuously. 
  • Week 5: you are almost there with a goal of 4.5 km. 
  • Session 1: plan a 3 km session. 
  • Session 2: run 4 km. 
  • Session 3: plan a 4.5 km route. 
  • Week 6: you will soon be ready for race day. Take some time to rest in order to be fit for the event. 
  • Session 1: run 3 km. 
  • Session 2: run 2 km. 
  • Session 3: rest before the race. 

You can train with other runners, this will help you to get used to managing the intensity of your workout by listening to your body, regardless of the other participants. At each session, warm up well, remember to hydrate and don’t neglect muscle recovery after the session. Don’t run too fast: the idea is to work on endurance. Aim for an average of around 70% of your maximum heart rate during training.

Check out our Fitness & Training page for more advice.