top of page

How To Train For Your First 5K

We recently spoke with local Run Coach Irina Stiasny, founder of RunRocket Physical Therapy and Wellness. With her experience as both a Physical Therapist and a certified Run Coach, she is the perfect person to go to when training for your first run.

How would you suggest someone begin training to run a 5K?

First you have to evaluate your fitness level - are you a beginner, experienced, or somewhere in between?

If you are a beginner, I usually recommend run/walk intervals. Start with walking for 2-3 minutes, then run 10-20 seconds increments and keep going for a half mile/1 mile at a time.

If you are an experienced runner and looking for a PR (personal best), you will be running more miles to build the base, then adding specific tempo/speed runs to work on the specific pace you desire to achieve.

If you are somewhere in between beginner and experienced, start with run/walk intervals but maybe do 1 min walk/1 min run to ease into training.

Can anyone train to run a 5K?

I believe as long as there is a WILL there is a WAY. Anyone can train for a 5k if they are motivated and willing to put the work in.

Are there common mistakes that people make when beginning to train?

First is poor shoe choice(usually the wrong shoe size or the type of shoe is not a great fit). I strongly recommend all of my clients to go to Running Revolution in Campbell and get fit by Chris or Ken. They are fantastic and trust me, a great pair of shoes makes a great difference!

Second, a lot of runners run too fast and too hard. Athletes ramp up too many miles too quickly, not letting themselves recover properly.

Lastly, in addition to running, we need cross training and strength training to be part of the workout regimen.

Do you have any tips to avoid injury?

1) Get a proper pair of shoes and make sure to replace them on time (300 miles per pair of shoes)

2) Do not increase weekly miles more than 10% a week

3) Make sure to do strength training to avoid repetitive injuries

4) Do proper warm-up and cool down drills

Any tips on how to stay hydrated before, during and after the run?

Before the run you want to hydrate with water and some electrolytes if the weather is warm.

During the run, you can add a nuun tablet and sip on water every 10-15 minutes.

After the run, definitely try to drink a recovery drink that has protein and carbs to replenish your system and help with recovery. The faster you recover, the faster you can return to the next run.

Are there any stretches that you recommend before and after the run?

Before the run I always encourage people to do dynamic stretches such as high knees, bum kicks, squats, jump squats, heel raises and jumping jacks. The idea behind the dynamic routine is to prime all the muscles you

need before you start running.

After running, I recommend static stretches - meaning long holds to improve flexibility of the muscles you just used during the run. A few examples are: quadriceps stretch, hamstring stretch and calves stretches are

the most popular ones.

RunRocket PT and Wellness is a mobile concierge practice focusing on providing high quality, personalized & individualized care in the comfort of your home or office. To learn more about Irina and the personal coaching services she offers, please visit


bottom of page