Home > Transitioning From the Treadmill to Race Day – Run Your First 5K

Transitioning From the Treadmill to Race Day – Run Your First 5K

My husband is an avid runner.  With five marathons under his belt and countless half-marathons and 10Ks, he is my running role model and coach.

As part of his constant training, he turns to Runner’s World Magazine (RW) for tips, advice and motivation and has had a subscription to the magazine for as long as I can remember.  RW is a fantastic resource for beginner runner’s, intermediate runners and pros alike.  The thing I like best about RW, other than their fantastic, interesting recipes, are their motivating training programs! This is why this magazine makes my list of favourite publications in addition to GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Nylon and Marie-Claire.

So? Thinking about running your first race but don’t know where to start? Well, here is RW’s collection of tips for making the transition to boring treadmill running to the thrill and exhilaration of crossing the finish line of your first 5K.  Know that when you pin on your bib number and take your spot at the starting line, you’ve entered a positive, supportive community.  If you are feeling a little intimidated about signing up for a race, I highly encourage you to go watch one in your area.  I promise you that the energy will motivate you like nothing else.  Read on and godspeed!

Runners world 5K Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 10K Style Domination Fashion Blogger Canada
Go from spectator to runner! Pic courtesy of yours truly. xo

From Treadmill Running to Outdoor Running

A runner who is used to using a treadmill might find running outside (in front of others) intimidating.  Start by running in a park or on a trail, where you’ll mostly see other runners and walkers, once of twice a week.  Then, try the sidewalks near your home.

From Outdoor Running to Joining a Group Run

In a race, you’ll start in a crowd.  Practice by running with a group.  Find one online or by asking at your running store.  Before you go, make sure there will be some runners at your ability level.  Once you find a group you like, run with them at least every other week.

From Joining a Group Run to Doing a Fun Run

Untimed runs (like colour runs and some mud and obstacle runs) are a good way to test drive racing.  New runners feels less pressure when they’re not on the clock, and the atmosphere is usually relaxed.  If you enjoy one of these, you’ll likely enjoy race too!

Runner's  World Runner Jogging Style Domination Color Run Fun Run Motivation
How fun does this look?? Pic courtesy of www.thecolorrun.com
Run the Rainbow Runner's  World Runner Jogging Style Domination Color Run Fun Run Motivation
Run the Rainbow! Look at how much fun they are having! I’d probably skip this race though for fear of ruining my Lululemons. LOL! Pic courtesy of running.competitor.com
Spartan Race Ottawa Rideau Carleton Raceway 5K Runner Style Domination FAshion Blogger
So much fun, so much mud!! Dom at the Spartan Race!
Spartan Race Ottawa Rideau Carleton Raceway 5K Runner Style Domination FAshion Blogger
Getting clobbered at the Spartan Race

From Doing a Fun Run to Running Your First Race!

Ask around to find an event that’s fun for beginners. First-timers should avoid very hilly courses and races that take place in very hot or very cold weather. On race day, start near the back of the pack, make the first mile your slowest, and follow your normal run-walk routine.  Most important, just relax, take it in and have fun!


Style Domination Blog Fashion Beauty Blogger Canada

Dominique Baker
Dominique Baker

Dominique is a Canadian-based fashion and beauty influencer with a strong voice in Ottawa’s black community. Since launching her blog Style Domination in 2015, she has amassed a global fanbase. Dominique shares her life through beautiful imagery and compelling story-telling that speaks to her fans on a personal level. She’s been featured in The Guardian, Flare, The Kit and Cityline. She also hosts events for Dress for Success, the Gem Conference, and has been named a United Way Person 2 Know for the past three years.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


  1. June 4, 2015 / 6:15 am

    I started running three years ago after having knee surgery. Last year I did the Color Run for the first time, it was loads of fun! I’ll be doing it again this year. I agree, Runners World is such a great resource for runners of all levels. 🙂

    • June 4, 2015 / 10:33 am

      Awww! Good for you! Please post pics of your Color Run, ok? Ours is coming up in about three weeks. I didn’t sign up, but I won’t be missing it! I’ll be cheering on the colourful runners!

      • June 4, 2015 / 11:31 am

        I’ll try to remember to take photos, at the beginning (clean) and at the end (rainbow covered), but not during as there is too much rainbow dust and I don’t want to ruin my camera!

  2. June 4, 2015 / 10:12 am

    FIVE marathons! Wow.
    You look like you were having the time of your life at the Spartan Race!
    A few years ago I was voluntold to do a relay run – I had to run 12k… so I trained for it, and shockingly I did really well and actually enjoyed myself. I do enjoy running – half the battle is getting off my butt. 😛 It might be good for me to train for something again – to have a goal to work toward. Maybe half marathon?

    • June 4, 2015 / 10:31 am

      Sounds like a plan – do it! I don’t thinkI’ll ever run a half…looks too scary! A 12K relay – good work, girl! WOW! And yes – totally had a blast at the Spartan Race. Can’t believe I finished…in one piece! LOL!

  3. June 9, 2015 / 7:58 pm

    I’m trying to work my up to my first 5k. Great post!

  4. January 12, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    As someone who isn’t much of a runner, a 5k is quite intimidating. I definitely feel more comfortable enclosed in the walls of my home on a treadmill, but I like your idea of easing your way into outdoor running. I like the idea of charity races a lot- you don’t have to love running to love the race!

    • Dominique
      January 12, 2017 / 4:00 pm

      Hi Ben! Thanks for your email! I agree. I was really intimidated when I started running. I was even intimidated running in the gym! I really prefer running outdoors. Once you get into the groove of things, running surrounded by nature is so peaceful and centering. Give it a try!

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