How to run your first 5K

Running your first 5K can seem like a huge mountain to climb if you haven't exercised in years, and even running for a bus seems out of reach. But you can do it. Promise. The decision to give is a go is the most important step.

Like anything, the first step is the biggest. Your commitment to try is what counts here. And you ARE here, working out how to run your first 5k, so we’ve asked the fantastic Mel Bound, founder of the UK-based This Mum Runs (TMR) movement, to put together a 5k training plan JUST for Wings for Life World Runners.

“I love that the Wings for Life World Run is so inclusive – it really resonates with everything we stand for at This Mum Runs. Being out there, sharing an incredible experience and enjoying running, walking – just moving – is so important. It removes any pressure of time or pace, just enjoy it! It proves running can be for literally everyone!”

“It all started for me in 2014 when 75 mums responded to my desperate post on Facebook looking for a local running buddy,” said Mel. “I was a new mum and had had major spinal surgery so was really struggling with… everything. I was yearning to connect with other women and find a way to start exercising again – but without any extra pressure.”

Like many, many other women, she needed headspace, a place just for her, a place to talk with other women in the same situation. Enter This Mum Runs.

“The focus in our running groups and across the community is on minutes moving rather than pace or distance – and that’s especially important for anyone starting out. You don’t need any added pressure to be faster or go further. You just need to move – for you.”

“Just starting can be such a big thing, and having a goal like the Wings for Life World Run is a great motivator. Knowing the Catcher Car is coming for you is also great fun – it pushes you to keep moving.”

Mel’s 8 Weeks to 5k Plan

Eight weeks before the Wings for Life World Run on May 8, 2022, is March 13. Try to get out three times a week, but if you don’t, that’s OK. If you have time before you start Mel’s Run30 plan, maybe walk three times a week so your body gets used to leaving the house and loving movement.

“On May 8, 2022, take it easy. Start steadily, at your normal jogging speed. There’s no rush to be the fastest! The temptation is to go off too fast, and that gets uncomfortable quickly! Start slow and focus on keeping to a pace you can still talk at. Run as you feel comfortable; walk when you need to. Chat with the Wings for Life World Runners around you – it really is a wonderful community. It’s so welcoming!”

Mel’s tips for training to run 5k


Carve out your time three times a week. Make it sacred – make it yours.

Gear up

But only a bit! You’ll be glad of a good sports bra and a pair of trainers. After all, it’s nice to treat yourself, isn’t it?

Sign up for the Wings for Life World Run

Join a Flagship Run or hunt out an App Run to share in the community spirit. If you’re not ready for that yet, plan an App Run on your favorite track, maybe with family or your best running buddies. Use our Goal Calculator if you want to work out how far you’ll go before the Catcher Car passes you and ends your race.


Arrange to run with a friend. Walking and running goes by much faster when you’re chatting and laughing with people that care about you. If you can chat, you’re running at the right pace. Run together and be kind to yourselves.

Keep going

Leave the house! Even if you don’t feel like running, get your running shoes on, open the door and go. Walk for longer if that helps. Just showing up is over half the battle.


Your body is incredible. It does amazing things every day. Visualize that moment the Catcher Car passes you and finishes your first Wings for Life World Run. Think of how fabulous you’ll feel knowing you did it!