Whether you’re a newbie runner chasing your first finish line or a seasoned athlete who took a sabbatical from pounding pavement, this 5K training plan will set you off on the right foot.
Your first task (after signing up for your race, of course): Start slow. You might not be blasting through eight-minute miles right off the bat, and you shouldn’t expect to. Instead, you’ll be building a solid foundation that will carry you through race day strong, injury-free and ready to go.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
What makes this 10-week training program unique — and totally beginner-friendly — is that it incorporates run-walk intervals. These not only help break up the miles, but they also help you learn how to set a comfortable running pace. Denise Sauriol, owner and founder of Run for Change in Chicago, says, “[A run-walk plan] is not as intimidating and is more maintainable in the long run. If you train this way, you won’t hurt as much near the end of training or as much after the race.”
As you can see in the 10-week training plan below, you’ll start with intervals that include nine minutes of speed walking and one minute of running. Throughout the weeks, you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend power strolling and increase you’re the minutes you’re running.
If you find that the one-minute run interval is too easy, Sauriol recommends walking for seven minutes and running for three minutes. Or, you can split the time evenly with five minutes of walking and five minutes of running.
“Runners usually get a sense of excitement that they can run more. That’s your cue that you’re ready to run longer intervals and cut down on walking,” Sauriol says.
You’ll also cross train at least two days a week, in which you swap your runs for strength training sessions, yoga, spinning and HIIT workouts. While racking up miles is key, building strength in your core, glutes and legs will ultimately help you run faster and longer.
Now let’s lace up those sneakers and hit the road!