Training for your first 5k

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Today, I wanted to talk about training for your first 5k. In a lot of ways, my upcoming Heart Walk will feel like my first 5k, even though it isn’t. I just haven’t run one in just over four years.

However, this post was inspired by a close friend of mine. The Heart Walk will be her first 3.1-mile race and she’s been following a training plan devised by a running app. This plan told her to do a five-mile run the very first week! That’s just not safe for a beginning runner. With that in mind, I’ve decided to list some general rules to creating a 5k training plan that works for you.

  1. Choose two rest days that fit into your weekly schedule. Avoid having them back-to-back try one mid-week and one at the end (Monday & Friday; Tuesday and Saturday, etc.).
  2. Start slow. A beginner should not run more than 10-12 miles in the first week. Also, you might want to do less or incorporate walking depending on your activity and fitness level prior to this first week.
  3. Increase mileage gradually.
  4. Incorporate cross-training. Running should be replaced by a low impact exercise on one of your five active days. Cross train 1-3 times per week to strengthen other muscle groups/increase flexibility. You can cross train on days you run- take a yoga class or work on upper body strength.
  5. STRETCH daily. Incorporate dynamic stretching before and static after.
  6. Incorporate one long-distance run, one speed workout , and one easy run each week.
  7. Listen to your body! If you need an extra day off, take it.

Lastly, have fun. Run with friends for extra motivation or create a fun playlist. Then enjoy your first race and do your best!

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2 thoughts on “Training for your first 5k

    Looking Out The Window said:
    May 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    I would add to that getting your distance in walking is better than skipping. Walking may not be as fast, but it is a step in the right direction.

      Amanda responded:
      May 10, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      Very true! If you set out to run two miles and can only run 1.5, then finishing the last half-mile walking is better than calling it quits.

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