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6 Weeks to Prepare for Your First 5k Running Race

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6 Weeks to Prepare for Your First 5k Running Race 6 Weeks to Prepare for Your First 5k Running Race www.runnerclick.com


Do you remember when running used to seem like a punishment? Back when most people (probably yourself included) would laugh at “those crazy runners” in their short shorts and bright clothes. Why would anyone actually want to run 5k?

Now fast forward 20 years, and you find that running does not exactly have the same public opinion that it once did, in fact, running is one of the most popular sports out there, and now most runners are proud to be part of the club.


We all know that running is one of the best forms of exercise for our bodies. It seems like every day there are more and more reasons to try, and maybe you have finally reached the point where you would like to train for your first 5k, but you are not too sure where to start.

Perhaps you may have tried running before, but did not last more than a few weeks because of painful shin splints or you just burned yourself out too quickly. This time though, you want to do it right, and today, I am going to help you get a solid plan together, one that will help you reach your goal. With a plan and reachable goals, you may even become addicted, working harder in order to keep moving to the next challenge, and eventually you’ll even want to set up your own marathon training schedule.

But lets get back to your first 5k. At the very beginning, to some, running for 3.1 miles continuously may seem like it is almost impossible, and do not worry, everyone has to start somewhere, even those who are now avid marathon runners!

Running your first 5k will involve a lot of battles; against your body telling you that this does not feel normal, against your willpower to keep going when you want to quit, and against your own self doubt that tells you that you are too slow to be running.

To run your first 5k, you need to be able to figure out what your goal is to know what pace per mile you are aiming for. This training plan will involve a mixture of easy running with specific, hard training runs (also called workouts).Make sure you also focus on getting real running shoes and not your old gym shoes. Good examples are: Nike Revolution, Lunarglide, Brooks Beast and many others


Ready for your first 5k?

You will be after this!


Most new runners think that the 5k is all about speed, that if only we can improve our speed, we can run faster, but actually you are relying mostly on your aerobic system, and it is actually your endurance that which is slowing you down.

How is that the case?

When your body is in a comfortable state, where there is enough oxygen to carry on as normal, your body is able to use all the oxygen it needs for your muscles to keep working as they usually would.

Once you pick up the pace, or move at a speed faster than it is used to for a longer period of time, your body needs more oxygen to use in those muscles to keep you moving. This means that if you are going to keep going at that same speed, your body needs to improve its efficiency at using the oxygen available.

When we compare the 5k to a marathon, it seems as though it would be all about speed, but running a 5k involves using your aerobic system for 84% of the time.

What is your aerobic system?

You can read about the difference between aerobic and anaerobic running here. Let’s get back to training for a 5k shall we?

If a 5k is aerobic, how does that help me train for a 5k?

You need to increase your speed endurance, which is extending the amount of time you can hold a pace.

If that is confusing, think of it this way.

If I asked you to run ¼ mile as fast as you could, it would hurt, but that would show your speed.

Now, if I asked you to hold that pace for a 5k, you would tlel me I was crazy!

This is because it is not the speed that is holding you back, your speed allowed you to run that 400m fast, but it is the speed endurance that allows you to hold a pace for an entire 5k.

Once you improve your speed endurance, you will be able to hold a faster pace for longer.


Workouts to train for your first 5k

A lot of enthusiastic new runners think that they need to immediately jump to running an entire race, but there is nothing wrong with using the run walk method when starting out.

In fact, runners of all levels can use the run walk method to make health and fitness gains. The goal here is to build up to the point where you can run a 5k without stopping or even struggling too much with it.

Below I have laid out a pretty good 6 week plan for new runners who have the time, and are wishing to train 3 days per week. I recommend you also incorporate strength training into your routine, at least a few times a week.

Week 1

3 Runs of 33 minutes total

  • Run 3 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Run 5 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Repeat 3 times

Week 2

3 Runs of 32 minutes total

  • Run 5 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Repeat 4 times

Week 3

3 Runs of 26 minutes total

  • Run 10 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Repeat 1 more time

Week 4

3 Runs of 34 minutes total

  • Run 15 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Repeat 1 more time

Week 5

3 Runs of 35 minutes total

  • Run 20 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes
  • Run 10 minutes

Race Week

1 Run of 32 minutes and 1 Run of 30 minutes

  • Run 1
  • Run 20 minutes
  • Walk 2 minute
  • Run 10 minutes
  • Run 2:
  • Run 30 minutes
  • Run 3: Race day

It doesn’t look nearly as bad when you break it all up!

Remember, go as slow as you need to go, to keep running during your training segments, there is no such thing as running “too slow”, despite what our egos tell us. Besides, no one is paying attention to what you are doing, and if they are, they are probably just someone who is wishing that they are out there running themselves!

Good Luck, see you at the finish line!

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