How to Train for Your First 5k

How to Train for Your First 5k

Copy and Feature Image by: Tess St. John

Well if you’ve already taken the first step and decided that you want to run a 5k—but are wondering how to begin training for it—you’re in the right spot. First thing’s first, they are a lot of fun, and you'll probably sign up for many more after you finish your first. So now all you really need is passion, a pair of running shoes, and this 6-week training plan. If this is your first time ever competitively running, then let me be the first to say, running a 5k is the way to go. They’re easy to run and train for, unlike marathons, which take 18 weeks of preparation. Let’s take it one step further and lay out the training schedule for the race.

Whenever the race may be, it’s best to start 6 weeks before getting on the line. As a general rule--before breaking down the training plan for each week--it’s best to run 4 times a week with alternating days of rest. And the days you run are focused on maintaining movement for a certain amount of time, versus your distance. They vary from easy, tempo, and fartlek runs that’ll help you get the best results when it comes to the day of. The days of rest can consist of simply that, or 30 minutes of walking. It’s best to stay get active at least 30 minutes a day, whether you’re training for a race or not, so this can actually help you perform better in your race. That being said, it’s best to take at least one day to completely rest your body so that it can recover. Training can really take a toll on your body, no matter what it consists of or how regular your exercise is.

Source:  Matthew LeJune

Below, I share with you a six-week training plan.

Week 1

Monday: Go on an easy run for 20-25 minutes

Tuesday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Wednesday: Run easy for 5 minutes, then do five 1-min brisk runs with 2-min jog recoveries. Finish with 5 minutes of easy jogging.

Thursday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Go on an easy run for 20-25 minutes

Sunday: Go on an easy run for 20-25 minutes


Week 2

Monday: Go on an easy run for 20-25 minutes

Tuesday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Wednesday: Run easy for 10 minutes, then do four 1-min brisk runs with 2-min jog recoveries. Finish with 10 minutes of easy jogging.

Thursday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Go on an easy run for 20-25 minutes

Sunday: Go on an easy run for 20-25 minutes

Week 3

Monday: Go on an easy run for 20-25 minutes

Tuesday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Wednesday: Run easy for 10 minutes, then do 20 minutes of fartlek running.

Thursday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Friday: Rest

Saturday : Go on an easy run for 20-25 minutes

Sunday: Go on an easy run for 30 minutes

Week 4

Monday: Go on an easy run for 20-25 minutes

Tuesday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Wednesday: Run easy for 10 minutes, then run for one mile, fast paced. Finish with 10 minutes of easy jogging.

Thursday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Go on an easy run for 25 minutes

Sunday: Go on an easy run for 35 minutes

Week 5

Monday: Go on an easy run for 25-30 minutes

Tuesday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Wednesday: Run easy for 10 minutes, then do three 3-min brisk runs with 3-min jog recoveries. Finish with 10 minutes of easy jogging.

Thursday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Go on an easy run for 25 minutes

Sunday: Go on an easy run for 35 minutes

Week 6

Monday: Go on an easy run for 25-30 minutes

Tuesday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Wednesday: Run easy for 25 minutes, but incorporate six 20 to 40 second fast-paced running

Thursday: Rest day or walk for 30 minutes

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Run for 15 minutes easy

Sunday: RACE DAY!

Source:  OLA Mishchenko

Of course, in order to perform your best, you must fuel your body with healthy foods and hydrate plenty before the big day. This means starting when you start the training plan. A strong body is not built overnight, so make sure you nourish your body by eating a well-balanced diet and to always drink plenty of water. But remember to treat yourself, as well (in moderation, of course). When training for a 5k, you’re going to be working hard, and you’ll surely earn yourself a treat every once in a while. And treating yourself will ensure you have an even more enjoyable running experience, and it'll make the training ten times easier.

For me, running is a feeling like no other, and it’s amazing what our bodies will let us do with them, especially when it comes to running. Come race day, treat it like any other training day. Eat your pre-run go-to breakfast, lace up your shoes, and head out the door for a run. And just like anything else, if you put in the work, the time will pay off.

Like most things worth working hard over, motivation is the key to your success. It can be tough to stick to a plan that spans several weeks, but there's a reason you started this journey, and you deserve to show yourself how strong you are. Take your training at your own pace, be accountable for your workouts, and don't give up. If running were easy, we’d all be track stars--right? Run a 5k because they're fun and you're doing something great for yourself. Push the boundaries, push through the frustration, and run that race. My #1 piece of advice, however, is to enjoy the race. And don’t forget to hang your 5k medal on your desk at work. Show everyone how truly awesome and bold you are.

Would you ever run a 5k? Tell us in the comments!

Jazzy HollyComment