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Runners, Training for a 5K

Whether you are racing in the 400 meter at the Olympics or you are jogging the track at your local high school, any true runner knows that this sport requires not only incredible endurance and great lung capacity, but that you also had better keep your legs in shape to win your race.

Most running injuries happen in the hips, knees, ankles and feet of runners.  There is not only intense repetitive motion in this sport, but it also requires ample stretching and just a tiny bit of coordination.  In order for you to keep competing, it is necessary that you not only make sure you have a great pair of shoes at your disposal, but that you also take the time to pay attention to your muscles and your joints.

We all love the rush of wind through our hair, the feel of the burn in our legs and the jubilation of crossing the finish line; when you take the time and use the resources we have made available to you on this site, you will be sure not to “hit the wall” too soon.

Learn to run 5K.

Below is a two month plan to get into shape and finish your first 5k. 

Now, two months seems like a short time and the temptation to skip ahead and do more than you should, will almost be too much to bear.  But hold yourself back. Don't try to do more, even if you feel you can. On the other hand, you find the plan below is a little too trying, increase the number of weeks in the plan. There might be a certain race you really want to do, but going before you are ready may make you never want to race again. So listen to your body, follow the plan and if necessary, you can repeat a week in the schedule.  Your body will tell you what it needs.

What is ideal about this plan is how it each day should only take about half an hour to complete.  Studies show that this amount of exercise is ideal to achieve the better, fitter you.

Three times a week

There are only three separate workouts in this plan for each week.  This allows for optimum time for recover between your workouts.  We are not consumed with the clock at this point.  We need to get your body ready to handle exercise before we worry about sprinting.

How long? How far?

Some runners like to run for a certain time; others for a certain distance.  Either choice works great and should be based on personal preference. Try them one way and then try them the other to see which works out best for you. And while measurements do not need to be exact, don’t hesitate to use a pedometer or internet mapping programs to gauge your distance.

As with any workout which follows a period of inactivity, you should begin each day with either a five-minute warm-up walk or jog.  There are several schools of thought on stretching as well. Rather than get into those, we will simply provide you with a way to do the basic stretches and let you decide for yourself what is right for you. View our stretching guide here: Runner's Guide to Stretching

The weekly workout:

Week 1:

Workout  1: WARM-UP. Alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.
Workout  2: WARM-UP. Alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.
Workout  3: WARM-UP. Alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.

Week2:

Workout  1: WARM-UP, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Workout 2: WARM-UP, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)   

Workout 3: WARM-UP, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes) 

Week  3:

Workout  1: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)


Workout 2: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)


Workout 3: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds) 
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)


Week 4:
Workout 1: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)


Workout 2: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)


Workout 3: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.

Week 5:
Workout  1: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)


Workout 2: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)


Workout 3: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 2-1/4 miles (or 25 minutes) with no walking.


Week 6:

Workout 1: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).

Workout 2: WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).

Workout 3:  WARM-UP, then:

  • Jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).   


Week 7:   

Workout 1:WARM-UP,

  • Jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).

Workout 2:WARM-UP,

  • Jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).

Workout 3:WARM-UP,

Week 8:

Workout 1:WARM-UP,

  • Jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).
    Workout 2:WARM-UP,
  • Jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).
    Workout 3:WARM-UP,
  • Jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).


Way to go!  Now pick your 5k and run it!

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