It is in the bucket list of many people to run 5K, but not everyone who desires to take part on the race normally ends up lacing up their shoes when the day finally comes. The number one reason advanced by those who desire to take part in the race, but decline to do so is being unfit. They just fear the prospects of hitting the track, only to be overwhelmed midday and fail to reach the finish line.
The pain and the associated discomfort that comes with lack of proper preparation is also another contributing factor to why most people never go for this race. However, with the proper mindset, planning, and the right physical preparation, you could prepare to run 5K in just under 10 weeks, even if you have never run a mile in your life.
Here is a detailed week by week plan of how you can come off the couch to 5K with a lot of ease and a guarantee of covering up to the last step of the race.
Highlights of the plan
In this simple, yet effective plan of coming off the couch to 5K in just under ten weeks will show everything you need to do to build the endurance and the stamina to not just participate in the race, but also complete it. You don’t need any prior running experience, and if you can walk, then in just ten weeks, you will be able to run the 5K. The plan features a combination of running and walking to build strength and endurance.
It also features strength training to help you stay injury free. In between the program, there will be off days to allow your body time to rest and recover before your next workout, and if you are worried about speed, you should know that this comes with time and as you continue to practice, your speed will keep on improving. Now, onto the details……..
Week One & Week Two
Week one and week two are primarily designed to begin the initial preparation of your mind and body for the race. You will work out for a total of thirty minutes for three days a week in this manner: You will get out of the house and walk in one direction for fifteen minutes, then turn around and walk in the opposite direction for a further 15 minutes back to the starting point.
The first five minutes and the last five minutes of the workout should be purely walking, with no running at all. For the middle twenty minutes, you can run or jog, but make sure to do jogging or running in right way with proper form. Since you are just beginning, you can alternate between running and jog: jog until you start feeling tired, then walk and if you feel you have recovered, enough, you can resume with the jogging or running.
Week Three & Week Four
For the third and fourth week, you will increase the workout to 36 minutes and do it for four days a week. Get out of the house and go in one direction for 18 minutes, then turn around and return to where you started for a further 18 minutes.
The first five minutes and the last five minutes of the workout should be purely walking with no running. For the middle 26 minutes of the workout, you are free to jog or run, but without pushing yourself. You can jog or run until you start feeling tired, then walk as you recover and then repeat until the 26 minutes are over. You should stick to this training for four days every week within the two weeks.
Week Five & Week Six
The goal of week five and week six is to further stretch your limits and to increase your endurance as the race is fast approaching. For this week, you will work out for a total of 40 minutes for five days every week.
You begin by getting out of the house and traveling for 20 minutes in one direction, before taking a U-turn and traveling for another 20 minutes back to your starting point. Just like you have always done, the first five and the last five minutes of the workout is purely for walking. In the middle thirty minutes of the workout, you can alternate between jogging and running, but this time, you will start to test your limits. Alternate between jogging and running until you feel tired or for a minimum of sixty seconds. Repeat the cycle throughout the running portion.
Week Seven & Week Eight
For these two weeks, the total duration of the workout will be 46 minutes. When you get out of the door, you will go in one direction for 23 minutes then make a U-turn for the opposite direction for another 23 minutes until you are back to the starting point.
For the first five minutes, you begin by walking slowly for two minutes then briskly for three minutes and for the last five minutes, you begin by walking briskly for two minutes then slowing down for three minutes. The middle 36 minutes are for jogging or running at an easy pace, but you could also try to stretch your limits by increasing the speed. However, the goal is to run or jog for a total of 36 minutes. You are free to jog or run for a minimum of 90 seconds or until you get tired, then walk until you recover and then repeat the process once again. Do these for five days a week for the two weeks.
Week Nine & Week ten
Get out the door and head in one direction for 25 minutes and make a U-turn for the opposite direction for another 25 minutes.
The first five and last five minute are purely for walking, though you can make it a bit brisk to increase your heart rate. In the middle 40 minutes, you will alternate between jogging, running and walking at your own pace. Jog or run for a minimum of two minutes or until you feel tired then walk briskly to recover then repeat. You should do this for five days per week and by the end of the tenth week, you should have the confidence to make it through the three miles.
Training tips when preparing for 5K
Here are a few tips worth considering as you prepare for the 5K.
- Learn to do a good warm up and warm down before and after each workout
- Spread your rest days appropriately. Don’t take consecutive days off for better recovery.
- Train with a friend or spouse if possible.
- Get into a routine and stick to it throughout the entire preparation period.
- It is normal to experience some soreness, but when you feel sharp pains in some sections of your body, take some time to rest and if the pains persist, consult a doctor.
If you follow this training regime, you will be ready for the 5K and you will enjoy every moment of it. Good luck and happy training!