Things That Surprised Me While Training for a 5K

Earlier this year, when all fitness and recreation facilities had to shut down in response to the health pandemic, I freaked out. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I had no idea what I would do for exercise. At-home workouts were something I had dabbled in, but I was not nearly disciplined enough to work out at home while the comfort of my couch and Netflix was feet away. So I decided to pick up running. My running skills could be defined as amateur level at best but it was my only option, got me outdoors, and didn’t involve other people. So a few times a week I would unenthusiastically lace up my sneakers and hit the trails near my condo. Now, a few months later I have shockingly realized that I actually enjoy running and decided my next goal is to run a 5K! As I have gotten more serious about my running, there are a few things I have learned on this journey that surprised me. 

1.  Stretches will save your life. Well, maybe not your life, but your legs at the very least. I used to do one quick hamstring stretch, shake out my legs a bit, then take off for my run because I wanted to get it over with. By the time I was done, my calves would be cramped and I was so sore I would immediately crash on the couch and then wonder why my legs hurt so bad the next day. (Spoiler alert - I wasn’t warming up or cooling down properly.) Now I walk for at least five minutes and complete a proper stretch of my whole body before and after my runs and it has made an incredible difference. My pace has improved considerably as well.

2. What you have for background noise will make or break you. I spent more time than I would like to admit creating the perfect running playlist to listen to on my runs. I didn’t anticipate how quickly I would get bored with my music and how much it had an impact on my runs. I looked up some running playlists and ideas and discovered a lot of people enjoy podcasts. I am still looking for the perfect podcast for me while running because I am so picky. I did discover an app for tracking your runs that has zombie noises in the background like they are chasing you. This is so fun to do once or twice a week because it makes you run the fastest you have yet! You might get some funny looks while doing this one because the sound effects are scarily like real life and you run like something really is chasing you.

3. It can be enjoyable! This is what has surprised me the most. I saw running as something to be suffered through and my mindset was ‘let’s just go do it and get it over with.’ With a proper warm-up, good company (mine has four paws), and the right music you can get in an amazing workout anywhere! 

My only regret is that I didn’t realize how much I like running sooner. I’m so glad I decided to try running and have found a new hobby I love during this time.

Have you picked up any new sports or recreational hobbies during this time at home? I would love to hear what you have been doing to stay active during this time. Send me an email at and let me know!