If you’re a beginner who just caught the running bug, a 5k run is a goal that you should definitely aim for. But don’t go from the couch to running a 5k race right away. You have to slowly build up your strength and conditioning levels. Of course, you must learn proper running technique and have the right gear.
Anyone can become a 5k runner. The keys are consistency and dedication. Running is a learned skill which means you have to do it frequently enough to get better at it.
How long does it take to train for a 5k? Follow our 8 week training program for beginners and be ready to rule the road!
Beginner’s 5 Point Checklist For A 5k Run
Every journey has a beginning and an end. Before you start your quest to complete your first 5k, ask yourself where you are at this point of your running career.
Here’s a 5 point checklist you can use to evaluate your current running abilities:
Current Level of Conditioning
Before you begin this 5k training program for beginners, you should be able to run at least 1.6k or 1 mile non-stop. If not, slowly work up to it by establishing targets and using run/walk training program.
For example, set 800m, 1m, 1.2m, 1.4m and 1.6m as your targets. Run/walk your way to 800m. Once you can run 800m non-stop, proceed to 1m. Repeat until you hit 1.6m.
Proper Running Technique
In order to run effectively, you must run efficiently. Proper running technique will minimize the risk of injury to your feet, knees and lower back.
It will also teach you how to manage your resources while you run. These resources include calories and oxygen. Running technique is not just about form and heel strike. It should also teach you how to breathe properly.
Your feet carry your entire body weight. Whenever your heel strikes the ground, force production measured in the hundreds of pounds is dissipated throughout your body. In addition to applying proper running technique, you should invest in the correct running gear.
Buy running shoes according to your arch. There are specific models of running shoes that are designed for those with flat feet and those with an arch.
Take your time when selecting the right running shoe. There are stores that allow you to test the shoes on the treadmill. It should fit well and allow you to run comfortably.
Whether you are working or studying in school, you need to find time in the week to run. Not just once, but multiple times during the week and even on Sundays.
Review your agenda for the week and fit in our 8-week 5k running schedule for beginners.
Access to Cross Training
If you do roadwork every running day, you run the risk of getting injured. This is because running on pavement is especially hard on the body. Even the best, most expensive running shoes will not protect you from the rigours of road work.
The best way to train for 5k is to mix it up. You will have to cross train. On some days you will run on a treadmill. You could also swim, bike or walk up a mountain trail to improve conditioning levels. Strength training is also an important component of every running program.
Do you have access to a gym or activity centre where you can cross train? If not consider signing up for a membership at least for the duration of this 5k training program.
Program Overview: 8 Weeks To Running A 5K
The best way to accomplish an objective is to check out all the boxes. These boxes are everything you need to do in this 8 week program to running a 5k.
Setting Realistic Expectations
You can run a road race as your first 5k but you don’t have to. This is a goal that you can do on your own time and at your own pace.
Speaking of pace, speed is not important when you are training to become a 5k runner. Focus on completing the distance first.
As you become a stronger and more experienced runner, then you can work on speed.
Warming Up/ Cooling Down
To avoid injury always warm up properly before running and cool down once the training session is over.
How do you warm up properly? Start out with a 5 minute brisk walk then a slow, light jog for around 3 minutes or until you get a good sweat going. Then perform dynamic stretching movements to activate the muscles for the actual running program.
Cool down by walking for 5 to 10 minutes or until your heart rate and breathing normalizes. Then do static stretching movements to relax the muscles and reduce lactic acid build-up.
Cross Training Days
As mentioned earlier, you will perform cross training as another means of improving your level of conditioning without running. Cross training is effective because it prevents adaptation and keeps your training fresh, new and progressive.
Our preferred methods of cross training are swimming, biking and trail walking. You can also use popular cardio equipment that you can find in a commercial gym such as an elliptical machine, step mill, aerodyne bike, Versa climber and rowing machine.
Strength Training Days
Don’t believe the myth that runners should not train for strength. The ones who finish first in a 5k race are those who have an “extra gear” that kicks in so they can close out the final meters in top speed. That extra gear is developed through strength training.
Resistance training is the best way to build strength. And free weights are the best tools for resistance training. Ask a certified Personal Trainer to design a strength building program that will help you improve as a 5k runner. He/she may combine free weights and body weight training in your program.
Rest days ensure you are fully recovered for your next 5k training session. Physical activity damages muscle tissue. You can rebuild them by getting proper rest and eating the right foods.
If you feel the urge to stay active on your rest days, you can do so by doing light exercise such as a 20 to 30 minute easy walk. But it would be best to stay off your feet and use the time to recover and re-energize for the training days ahead.
8 Week Running Schedule For Beginners
|1||Rest||Run 1.6k||Strength Train 1 hour||Run 1.6k Treadmill||Rest||Run 2.4k||Cross Train 30 minutes|
|2||Rest||Run 2.4k||Strength Train 1 hour||Run 2.4k Treadmill||Rest||Run 2.8k||Cross Train 30 minutes|
|3||Rest||Run 3.2k||Strength Train 1 hour||Run 2.4k Treadmill||Rest||Run 3.2k||Cross Train 30 minutes|
|4||Rest||Run 3.6k||Strength Train 1 hour||Run 2.4k Treadmill||Rest||Run 3.6k||Cross Train 30 minutes|
|5||Rest||Run 4k||Strength Train 1 hour||Run 3.2k Treadmill||Rest||Run 4k||Cross Train 30 minutes|
|6||Rest||Run 4.4k||Strength Train 1 hour||Run 3.2k Treadmill||Rest||Run 4.4k||Cross Train 30 minutes|
|7||Rest||Run 4.8k||Strength Train 1 hour||Run 3.2k Treadmill||Rest||Run 4.8k||Cross Train 30 minutes|
|8||Rest||Run 4.8k||Strength Train 1 hour||Run 3.2k Treadmill||Rest||Rest||RUN YOUR FIRST 5k|
Our 8- week running program will help beginners accomplish their goal of completing their first 5k. But while strictly adhering to the schedule is a sign of dedication and commitment, always listen to your body.
If you are feeling unusual aches and pains or feel more fatigued, do not hesitate to take an extra day off. Finally, visit your doctor if there are signs of injury or serious discomfort.
Running your first 5k is a great accomplishment. But above everything else, always prioritize your health