Finish a 5K

 

By Rick Morris

 

The 5K race is a good distance to choose for novice road racers. The relatively short distance makes it easy to train for with minimal time commitment. Here are some tips to make it easier and a 6-week training plan to get you ready to finish a 5K. This is the same program that is recommended for a beginning runner’s first race.

 

Choosing a race

 

5K stands for 5 kilometers which equals 3.1 miles. A 5K is a good choice for a novice road racer because of its relatively short distance and because it is the most common race distance. You should have no trouble finding a 5K race in your area at most times of the year.

 

You can race at any time of the year, but you may want to consider a race in the spring or fall, when the temperatures are mild. Hot or cold weather will make things just a little more difficult. Try to pick a large race for your first one. A larger field will provide a “party atmosphere” that will help motivate and encourage you. A large field will also make new runners less self conscious about where they finish. The large field will provide plenty of runners in the front, middle and back of the pack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Week training program to finish a 5K

 

This is a 6-week program that designed to prepare you to finish a 5K race with minimal training. This program will allow you comfortably finish a 5K. It is not intended to run a fast 5K or to improve your speed. You should be able to run comfortably for 2 miles before starting this program. If you have not run before, complete the 8-week beginners program before starting this program.

 

This program is general in nature. Feel free to make adjustments in order to accommodate scheduling conflicts and individual goals and rate of improvement.

 

The Workouts

 

All workouts in this plan are easy runs. Easy runs should be run at a pace that feels fairly comfortable. You should be breathing hard, but should be able to carry on a conversation. If you are breathing so hard that you cannot talk, you are running to hard. If you can sing, you are running to easily.

 

On the days calling for rest or cross training, you can rest totally or do some cross training. Cross training can be any activity other than running. You could go for a walk, swim, bicycle or do nothing. It is up to you.

 

 

Week 1

 

Monday – Rest. Rest is an important part of any training program. This program uses Monday as a rest day because Sunday is usually the longest run of the week. Adjust this to fit your specific schedule.

 

Tuesday – Run 1 mile easy. Run at an easy “conversational” pace. If you cannot talk clearly, you are running too hard.

 

Wednesday – Run 2 miles easy. Run at an easy pace.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train Rest or engage in a non-running activity.

 

Friday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2 miles easy. All of these easy runs are performed at the “conversational” pace.

 

Sunday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

 

 

Week 2

 

Monday – Rest. This program uses Monday as a rest day, because Sunday is your longest run of the week. You can adjust this to meet your needs, but take off the day after your longest weekly run.

 

Tuesday – Run 2.25 miles easy. You add a quarter mile to your previous longest run. You will make gradual increases in mileage throughout the program.

 

Wednesday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 2.25 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Sunday – Run 2.25 miles easy.

 

 

 

Week 3

 

Monday– Rest

 

Tuesday – Run 2.25 miles easy.

 

Wednesday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2.5 miles easy. You make a .25 mile increase today.

Sunday – Run 3 miles easy. You make another increase in mileage here. You are running almost a full 5K distance here. A 5K is 3.1 miles. Keep your pace nice and easy. You can work on speed in future races.

 

 

 

Week 4

 

Monday – Rest.

 

Tuesday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Wednesday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Sunday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

 

 

Week 5

 

Monday – Rest.

 

Tuesday – Run 3.25 miles easy. Another increase in mileage here. One more to go.

 

Wednesday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Sunday – Run 3.5 miles easy. This is the final mileage increase in this program. You are now running .4 mile farther than the 5K distance. This will give you the endurance to easily complete the 5K race and will increase your confidence.

 

 

 

Week 6

 

Monday – Rest.

 

Tuesday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Wednesday – Run 2 miles easy. You will begin to taper after this workout. A taper is a gradual decrease in mileage. The purpose of the taper is to be sure that your muscles are well rested before you compete in the race.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 1 mile easy.

 

Sunday – Race Day. Have Fun!!

If you completed the workouts in this program, you will be able to easily finish your 5K. Keep your pace easy. Do not worry about your time. You can work on improving you speed in later races. Run at the same pace you were training at or if you are feeling good, just a little faster. Avoid the temptation to start out a lot faster than you have trained for. If you start out too fast, you will have a hard time finishing. Most importantly – HAVE FUN.

 

If you would like to improve your performance, move on to the more advanced training programs.

 

 

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