How to plan your own 5K race

Just over a week to go ’til the U&R Worldwide 5K on Sunday 8 February. It’s time to organise your race. You can make it as sensible or crazy as you like… let your imagination go wild!

Every DIY race needs a proper finish line!
Every DIY race needs a proper finish line!

Gather your team

Virtual or real world, it’s all good!

  • Run with runners – if you’re a new runner, ask an experienced runner to pace you. It’s such a great way to enjoy your 5k and not run out of steam halfway.
  • Run with running refuseniks – ask them to accompany you on a bike.
  • Run solo – for many of us running is much-needed quiet time. But there’ll be lots of people around the world running with you! Be sure to snap a pic and tag it #upandrunning5k on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram so you’re in the running for our groovy prizes

Choose a route

You may already have a favourite place to walk or run but here’s a few ideas if you want to spice things up:

  • Look for established routes – public parks or cycle paths often have routes with pre-marked distances.
  • Run around an athletics track – channel your inner Jo Pavey or Mo Farrah and do 12.5 laps of the 400m track. Get a friend to ring a bell as you start the final lap. Or if they don’t have a bell, ask them to yell out DING DING DING!
  • Borrow a Parkrun route – these wildly popular 5k runs are on Saturdays, so you’ll have way less traffic on the Sunday.
  • If you don’t want to venture far you can do laps of the block around your house. If you have kids, get them to hang out in the front yard to count down your laps and/or hand your water as you run by!

How to measure your 5k

Whether you’re planning a 5k loop or a simple “out and back” it’s easy to plot out the distance…

  • Use a route mapping website – such as GMap Pedometer or Map My Run. They use Google Maps to help you plot out a route. Map My Run also allows you to save your favourite routes then zap them to your smartphone.
  • Try an app like RunKeeper or Runmeter which have GPS capabilities to measure your route.
  • With a bicycle – If you have an odometer, set it at zero and ride along the route.

Shitty weather? Have a treadmill race!

There’s some wacky weather going on round the world this time of year, so the gym can be a great option. Go solo or get a friend or two on neighbouring treadmills and make it a race. Either way make sure when your hit 5k, stop that machine then raise your hands in triumph to let the whole gym know!

Make a proper finish line

String a finish line across your front gate or between two trees so you can finish the race like the superstar that you are. Masking tape works a treat – the awesome photo above is from a DIY 10K that Up & Runner Sara did a couple of years ago.

Get a friend to snap a pic as you sprint to the end. Don’t worry if you can’t raise a victory smile, sometimes a grimace looks quite smile-like in a photo!

Up & Running Worldwide 5KCelebrate afterwards

Plan ahead for a tasty victory breakfast or lunch. Make your own goodie bag. Give yourself a mdeal… foil-wrapped chocolate coins work well!

Tune in next week when we’ll be talking race preparation and strategy.

The Up & Running Worldwide 5K is on Sunday 8 February, in celebration of the publication of UP AND RUNNING, our beginners running book. Click here to find out more about how this virtual race works and the great prizes you can win!

  1. Carole