Running Your First 5K and Training Plan

How To Run Your First 5K


Depending on how active you are already, it will take your body awhile to get used to running. Be patient and allow your body to adapt to the rigors of your new sport and you’ll be rewarded with a strong and capable physique suited to the task at hand


Register for a race at least 2 months out, so you have a finite amount of time in which to get ready. This will help motivate and keep you accountable to the training along the way. Fun runs are especially good for new runners, in particular, a race like the City Challenge Urban Race is awesome because you don’t run in a pack and can do intervals along the way and manage to be competitive (we’ve had quite a few winners tell us it was their first 5K or Half Marathon)!


A friend, co-worker, spouse, partner or running club can all be great ways to feel more comfortable and can serve to be great motivators along the way. Don’t be intimidated to seek out a running club in your area, everyone was a beginner at some point and they are a helpful and knowledgeable bunch. Besides, a good portion of club members are also new runners themselves, so you will feel at ease running with them. Music can also be a tremendous companion, and numerous studies have concluded there is in fact a link between music and athletic performance. It should be noted however that music can also provide a distraction, and create a difficulty in hearing ambient noises that could alert one to a hazard.


Treat yourself to a new pair of shorts, shoes, jersey etc. to get started. It will help your confidence and overall progress tremendously to have proper equipment. For shoe info click here:


Be sure and consult your physician for full clearance before endeavoring into any new fitness program, but also pay close attention to what your body is telling you along the way. This cannot be urged strongly enough. If you are in pain, take a day or two off until it subsides. There are a multitude of issues that can occur with runners (particularly new runners) and you must be aware of them and not hesitate to rest or seek medical advice should they arise. Often times people will prolong the amount of healing time it would normally take by not resting. A day or two off won’t mess up your program. Be patient.


Keep a journal to log distances, times etc. along the way. This will be the single best thing you do along the way to prove your are progressing. There are a multitude of apps for phones and MP3 players that are available free of charge that can really help with this.



     This program requires 3 days per week of training

Week 1: Walk for 20-30 min 3 times per week (every other day).

Week 2: Alternate walking for 3 min with running for 30-60 seconds (for a total workout time of 20 to 25 minutes).
Week 3: Alternate walking for 2 min with running for 1 min (total workout time of 24 to 30 min).

Week 4: Walk 1.5 min, and run 1.5 min; walk 3 min, and run 3 min. Repeat three times for 27 min total.

Week 5: Run 3 min, walk 1.5 min; run 5 min, walk 2.5 min; run 3 min, walk 1.5  min; run 5 min, walk 1.5 min; run 5 min, walk 2 min. (for a total workout time of 30 min).

Week 6: Two days this week, alternate running 5 min and walking 3 min for 30 min total. On day three, run 8 min and walk 5 min twice for 26 min total.

Week 7: On day one, run 5 min, walk 3 min, run 8 min, walk 3 min, run 5 min–for 24 min total. On days two and three, run 10 min, walk 3, run 10 (23 min total workout time).
Week 8: Run consistently for 20 min. Alternate to a jog if you must.
Week 9: Run consistently for 25 min. Alternate to a jog if you must.
Week 10: Run for 30 min. By now you should be ready for a 5K! Measure your distance with a pedometer, pace out your route in a car or map online. Be sure and time yourself and keep track in your training journal.

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