If you’re like many of us, just starting on your weight loss and fitness journey, the idea of running a 5K race probably seems as likely as walking on the moon. But with the weather just starting to break, it might be time to think about it making this a fitness goal.
Even if you’re not a runner, following this plan can get you there. The trick is to start slowly and take it one step at a time (pun slightly intended). Seriously, in eight to ten weeks, you can be ready to run a 5K or an even longer distance. (Obviously, consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise plan.)
Weeks 1 and 2: start out walking or alternating walking and light jogging for 30 minutes. Walk for the first 5 minutes to warm up. It’s OK to jog for only a short amount of time, as little as 30 seconds, before walking again. If you can go longer, that’s fine too. See if you can jog for longer each time in your mix of jogging and walking. Make sure you walk for the last 5 minutes to cool down. Try to complete this workout 3 times a week for 2 weeks.
Weeks 3 and 4: Extend your total workout time to 35-40 minutes. That may sound like a lot, but it’s really just 18 minutes in one direction, the 18 back home. Walk for the first 5 minutes to warm up and the last 5 minutes to cool down. Again, alternate your jogging and walking, but extend your minimum jog time to 45 seconds. Try to complete this workout 3 times per week.
Weeks 5 and 6: Extend your workout time to 40 minutes (20 minutes out, 20 back). Walk for the first and last 5 minutes. For the 30 minutes in the middle, alternate jogging and walking, but extend the amount of time you are jogging to at least 60 seconds at a time. Try to complete this workout 4 times per week.
Weeks 7 and 8: See if you can extend your 40-minute workout by 5 minutes. Once again, walk for 5 minutes at the beginning and end to warm up and cool down. During the 35 minutes in the middle, try to jog for most of it, or at a minimum for 5 minutes at a time. If you can’t go more than 5 minutes, that’s OK. You might need another 2 weeks of training before you’re ready for your 5K race.
Weeks 9 and 10: Extend your training to 50 minutes. Still warm up and cool down for 5 minutes at a time. At this point, you should be able to jog at a slow pace for 10-20 minutes, maybe longer. You are ready for your 5K! Congratulations!
Some things to watch out for:
The first few training sessions might seem easy for some (we know, they could be hard for others). If it’s easy, don’t over do it. If you push it too early, you’ll be sore, or worse, you can injure yourself.
Like most exercise programs, it will probably be easier if you find a partner. It is much more difficult to skip out if you have a partner depending on you.
Get your rest. On your off days, try to stretch a bit but don’t overdo it.
Here are some resources to help you get started:
You can find your race, and reserve your spot, here: http://roadracerunner.com/Races/StateSelect.aspx?distance=5K
There are even some iPhone and Android apps to help you plan it all out and track your progress and more:
Other good reviews:
So get started, and send us your finish line pics. You can do it!