Want to make it to the 5K finish line but still stuck on your couch? Here's what you need to know...

As winter temperatures give way to warmer, spring temperatures, there’s no time like the present to get out there and start running. If you’re not a “runner,” no fear! Keep on reading – we’ve got tips to help you get up, get out, and get to the finish line.  

Christine Beckman, an ATI clinical outreach athletic trainer, gives first-time runners one big piece of advice – start small.

“Running is a gradual progression,” Beckman says. “It’s not only about completing your big goal, like finishing a 5K. It’s about completing all those little goals along the way.”

Beckman offers these ten tips for first timers…

Give yourself time. Training for a race takes time, especially if you’re not used to regular exercise or running. Plan ahead and give yourself at least two months to train.

Choose a race you’re passionate about. There are a lot of 5Ks to benefit non-profit organizations. Find a race that supports a cause you’re passionate about and sign up for it in advance – it’ll help motivate you to reach your goals.

Just start moving. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you may not be able to run right away – and that’s okay. Start with walking, and as you get used to it, throw in some running as you get more comfortable.

Utilize what’s close to you. Head to a local high school and start off by trying to jog 100 meters followed by walking for 100 meters. Build up to 400 meters (a quarter mile) of jogging and then 400 meters of walking.

Get your gait checked. Head to a local running store or another place that has a lot of knowledge about running strides. They can examine your stride and help determine which type of shoe is best suited for you. Barefoot running certainly isn’t for everyone!

Rest and listen to your body. Don’t even think about running seven days a week – in the long run, this will only lead to overuse injuries and exhaustion. Enjoy a day or two off!

Fit in cross-training. Don’t rely solely on running to help you get ready for your race. Switch up your workouts with running, biking, swimming, or attending an aerobics class.

Find a friend. Reaching a goal is always easier when you have someone there to do it with you! Ask a friend or family member to train with you. Motivate each other and hold each other accountable to your fitness plan.

Plan out your workouts. Training is deliberate, which means that you must have a set plan. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, says Beckman. If you work long days, try to wake up in the morning and get your workout in before you start your day.

Treat your body well. Pay attention to your diet and be sure you’re properly hydrating before, during, and after every run. As Beckman says, if you put junk into your body, that’s what you’ll get out. Therefore, be sure you’re fueling your body with the right foods to get you through your workout!