Ace Your First 5K Race
Running a 5k can be life-changing and I am here to support you 100% along the way. This is the exact beginner 5k training program that I use for my running club. It has been extremely successful for those who follow along and actually do the workouts.
This is a beginner 5k training program that is geared towards those who are starting completely from scratch. If you are not starting from scratch, you may want to check out my intermediate and advanced 5k training programs (coming soon).
We take the pressure off training
We customize a training plan for people of all shapes and sizes
We try to prevent possible running injuries
We help you avoid mistakes that may lead to frustration
One thing I have learned about runners who are starting a running program for the first time is that new runners are often nervous about how they will progress. They may worry about how fast or slow they are and what others may think. They doubt themselves because they compare themselves to others. Right now, you may not feel like a runner, but you are! This plan addresses feelings like this. Other plans don’t.
I worked hard to build a plan that helps remove a lot of the anxiety that you may feel. There is no pressure because you aren’t tied down to a time schedule, unlike other 5k training plans that follow a calendar or weekly schedule.
The reason it works is that each of us come from different backgrounds and come into the program in different levels of shape. In my plan, you control how long it takes by comparing your progress against the plan (more specifically levels) and by not having the plan dictate your progress against a date. While these plans do work, many people quit because they can’t keep up and then feel like they failed or didn’t do something right. It's not you, it's the way those plans are written. They just do not account for the way you progress. They are too generic.
So many ‘name brand’ training programs are so focused on time and distance and trying to get you there in 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 10 weeks, etc. that many people just get injured, or frustrated and quit. How many times have you met someone who started running and then quit a few weeks later stating that running “just isn’t for them”?
Need to repeat a week, no problem. Miss a workout no problem. Miss a bunch. Well, you may have to step back a few weeks. But guess what, if that happens, you pick up based on what level you come back at.
My main goal is for your training to be enjoyable and ultimately successful. I want to introduce you to a way of training by easing you into the plan based on where you are ‘actually’ at, compared to what other plans ‘assume’ you are at.
Proper training needs to be individualized. This plan will never be as individualized as personal coaching from a running coach, but I hope this will be the next best thing and the beginning of a healthy lifestyle that will include running for many years to come.
This 5k program is designed to prepare you for your 5k in 8-16 weeks. Progress through the plan depends on how fast or slow your progress. Remember how I said we all progress at different speeds?
Well, there are 12 levels to complete with each step equating to about one week each. Some weeks you will breeze ahead and some weeks, well, you may need to repeat a level. You stay on a level until you have the ability to complete all the activities successfully and with relative ease before moving on to the next level. Progress through all levels and you are ready for your 5k. It's ridiculous to believe that you will always progress exactly on a weekly schedule. However, every now and again, you may find that you can completely skip a level because your body is adapting better that week. This is very common for about 4-6 weeks for many people.
Remember running should be fun, comfortable, and be a positive experience. The “No Pain, No Gain” mantra is a bunch of BS.
This 5k training program is set up to be completed with 4 running days per week. If you can’t do 4 days due to time, or you don’t feel like you can handle it, that is OK! Because this is based on levels, and not a fixed time calendar, there is no pressure. Your body will tell you if 3 or 4 days is too much or too little. If you have not exercised in 20 years or are quite overweight, guess what? 4 days per week is probably going to be too much. If that is the case, drop one of the weekend runs.
You can use days off to cross-train, do yoga, take a brisk walk, or bike, but no running! You need to rest with any exercise program. It is during times of rest that your body’s muscles and systems will build up and adapt to running.
If you skip rest days, you risk over-training and will progress slower than you would with the rest days included.
1. First, make sure that you are healthy enough to participate in an exercise program.
Running is a strenuous exercise that while it is generally safe, like any form of exercise, does have some risks, up to and including death. To participate, you must accept all risks. Ultimately, you know your body and what risks you want to take, but it is always best to have a doctor check you out. If you have not had a recent doctor appointment and checkup, I highly recommend you do so before beginning an exercise program.
This is where you can share your success and struggles with others who are going through the same thing as you. Think of it as your online support group. Ask questions and seek help! Do not do this alone. Have accountability partners online and offline who will help support you.
3. Get fitted for running shoes.
Proper running shoes are one of the best ways to reduce your likelihood of injury. While shoes won’t prevent all injuries (there are other factors), they will help protect against biomechanical inefficiencies that can lead to injury. The best place to get fitted is your local specialty running store. It is less about the “brand” but rather the fit and style of shoe that best matches YOU. Look for a running store that offers free, treadmill testing, and gait analysis. Once you have your gait and style of running analyzed, they should be able to recommend you several models that will work for you. I recommend getting retested every 1-2 years.
4. Share this plan with a friend or family member.
Having someone to hold you accountable will increase your chances of success. In fact, tell everyone you know that you are training for a 5k. Here is a badge you can use for your Facebook page or blog:
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