You’re running your first 5k and want to know the best way to kick-start your training plan. Having a solid and realistic plan in place is one of the best things you can do to get you reaching your 5K goal. The fact that you are starting with this distance is brilliant!
A 5k is 5 Kilometers Long or 3.1 miles long
It’s a great goal for new runners and will give you the motivation you need as you see yourself progressing through the training plan.
Even if you’ve loathed running in the past and never ran further then that train you were about to miss, the 5K mark is completely attainable! If you follow the steps and give yourself the right regime and time, you’ll no doubt surprise yourself.
Great starting points for preparing yourself before training begins…
There are certain things that will boost your training plan and help you get the most out of it. Here are just a few of our top tips to get you in the swing of things:
- Get used to the idea you’ll be running and walking at the start. It may seem like your taking steps backwards this way but trust us, it works! It’s not the most popular training plan without good reason. If you are stressing yourself out thinking ‘how many miles is a 5K’ constantly, its time to take a step back! When you see the progress you’ll get what we mean plus all brilliant runners have to start somewhere.
- Ensure you invest in some good equipment/running gear before you get started. We suggest going to a pro running store so they can measure your gait and ensure you choose trainers to give you enough support for your running style. They can also point you towards tailored insoles that give your feet further support to keep your form strong. Get some ventilated pants and t-shirts, hoodies to see you through the seasons too.
- Get your diet on point. Often overlooked when new runners are beginning their 5K training plans, your daily food intake can make a huge difference. Having a well-rounded diet with lots of liquids and low-GI carbs. At least half of your calories if not more should come from healthy carbs!
- Be kind to yourself and monitor progress regularly. Doing so can ensure your training is regularly and your own track to achieving your weekly goals. Even the smallest amount of time decreasing over the same distance covered is worth celebrating. Progress comes in smaller steps and at the end of the program you should see the bigger picture.
- Get a running buddy! It’s always good to have support and keep the ‘chatting’ pace when you’re training. Having someone by your side for encouragement and to keep training regular can make a big difference.
Let the training commence!
Never dive in too deep at the start or do more than feels comfortable. Listen to your body’s warning signs and if the program seems too intense you can cover the same just over a longer period of time. You can even do the same week again if you wanted to. Take it your own pace and make sure you are on the same page as your running buddy if you have one!
To start with, you’ll need to stick to three sessions a week of roughly 20-30 minutes. This program will keep you on the steady path to fitness and get you progressively fitter. The regime will ensure your long-distance running benefits instead of purely weight-loss or fitness reasons.
You can opt to measure your training and progress by either distance or time. Just make sure you keep a record and slowly but surely you’ll see an increase in time and distance of your runs.
P.S. If you are doing your regime based on distance, you could ask how many miles is a 5K and tailor your training distance around that.
Here’s what your schedule will be looking like:
Monday, Friday and Sunday are rest days: rest is equally important as the training during your program. Giving your body sufficient time to recover will prevent injury and stop you burning out mentally and psychically.
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday you’ll want to be doing your running/walking training. Keep a steady pace at first and keep a comfortable distance remembering your warm ups and cool downs! Download a running app to help you keep on top of your stats. My favorite was Sports Tracker which breaks down distance, average speed and duration which you can share easily with friends via email/social.
Midweek: on Wednesday you want to mix it up. Take a trip to the gym and get on the bike, do a cross-fit class, or take up swimming! It’s important to keep it varied at this stage and build up your running ability from a holistic viewpoint.
Remember to warm up with a five minute walk before starting each training session. Here goes…
1st week: 60 seconds jog and 90 second run. Keep this going for 20 minutes.
2nd week: 90 seconds jog and 2 minutes walking in between for 20 minutes.
3rd week: 90 seconds jog with 90 seconds walk then a 3 minute jog and 3 minute walk. Keep this going until the 20 minutes is complete.
4th week: 3 minute jog, 90 second walk then a 5 minute jog and 2 minute walk. Next do a 3 minute jog and 90 second walk then 5 minute jog.
5th week: 5 minute jog, 3 minute walk, 5 minute jog, 3 minute walk, 3 minute jog.
6th week: 5 minute jog, 3 minute walk, 8 minute jog, 3 minute walk, 5 minute jog.
7th week: jog for 25 minutes without walking or stopping.
8th week: increase the jog to 28 minutes
9th week: increase the jog to 30 minutes.
I remember doing this routine before stepping up my running and can speak from experience, it works! At first it won’t be easy I won’t sugar-coat but it’s well worth sticking out the whole course. If you have a 5K race or just want to achieve personal goals, using this routine will help you get there.