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First 5K!

Congratulations on signing up for your first 5K!  Whether you’re participating in a traditional race or a virtual race, it’s time to start training.  Grab a friend and let’s get going.  Follow this training plan and in six weeks you will be ready to run your 5K.

Some Training Notes:

  1. Your 5K is not tomorrow.  Your first run should not be a “test” of how far you can run.  Start with 1 mile, and follow the plan to gradually build your run volume, and cross the finish line in six weeks.
  2. The plan includes three run days per week.  In the plan above, the runs are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  You can adjust the days of the runs to fit your schedule, but try not to do back to back runs.  
  3. Begin every run with a 5 minute walk for warm-up.  Then run the distance specified in the chart.  Finish every run with a 5 minute walk for cool down.
  4. Your run may be a run/walk.  If you are not ready to run the distances continuously, you can break the run into run and walk segments.  For example, run two minutes, walk one minute.  Both the run and walk segments count toward the total distance.  Check out our walk to run program HERE, if you'd like to start with a walking plan first!
  5. Keep the runs at a comfortable conversation pace.  You should be able to have a back and forth with your (virtual) training buddy while you run.  Don’t worry about your speed.  The more you run, the more comfortable it will feel.
  6. To track the distances, it’s helpful to use a fitness watch or a running app on your phone.  
  7. In addition to the three runs per week, it also helps to add in walk days.  15-30 minutes an additional 1-3 times per week will help you get stronger and fitter.  In the plan above, we have included shorter walks on Wednesdays and Fridays (as a warm-up to the strength session) and a longer walk on Sunday.
  8. It is also great to supplement the running and walking with some simple, run focused strength training exercises.  See below for an at home, no equipment, beginner run routine.  2 days a week will do the trick.  In the plan above, the strength days are Wednesdays and Fridays.
  9. Take a day off each week.  Your body and mind will benefit from the break.
  10. Stay hydrated.  For the short runs, you might not feel like you need to drink, but for anything longer than 30 minutes, please take water or a sports drink with you.  Also, hydrate before and after your run.

Virtual Race Day Tips

It’s now six weeks later, and race day has arrived.  Here are a few tips to finish your virtual 5K with a smile on your face and a sense of accomplishment:

  1. Plot out your route in advance.  It takes away the uncertainty if you know the route - and the finish line - in advance.  A looped course is a great option - that way it’s easiest to grab your hydration along the way.
  2. Pace it the same way you have been pacing your training runs.  Don’t try to go out too fast.  If you are feeling good as you go along, you can always pick up the pace along the way.  If you have been doing run/walk intervals during training, do run/walk intervals on your race day.
  3. Let your friends and family know you are doing a 5K - they can come out (or virtually) cheer you on.
  4. Take it all in that you are doing something today that you could not have done six weeks ago.
  5. Have fun!

Beginner Strength Routine

Calf Raises

Standing Lateral Leg Raises

Standing Back Leg Raises 

Standing Front Leg Raises 

Standing Knee Raises

Standing Hamstring Curls

Air Squat

Stationary Lunge

Stationary Lateral Lunge

Wall Push-Ups

Tricep Dips

~Reem Jishi - Run Formula Coach



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