You Can Do It! The Easiest Way to Prepare for a 5K

Training for a 5K may seem overwhelming for those who don’t run regularly or have never attempted a race before, but with a little practice, anyone can do it. Just follow this advice for what to do before signing up, during training and just before race day.

You’re ready to sign up. Three easy tactics will help you hold yourself accountable so that you actually finish the race:

  • Stop waiting and do it. Now. It’s easier to ignore a goal you haven’t committed to yet, so find a race that gives you enough time to prepare (choose one that’s at least two months away) and pay the entry fee.
  • Tell everyone you know. Another foolproof way to find the motivation to train is to spread the word about your goal. It’s harder to flake out on finishing if people are cheering you on! Maybe you’ll even inspire someone else to try a 5K along with you.
  • Run for a charity. Local, regional and national organizations often team up with runs as a way to raise money. Pick a charity you’d like to support (like animal shelters, cancer research centers and environmental organizations) and ask your friends and family to donate for a cause. It will help keep your motivation high, and provide a new meaning to your accomplishment.

You’ve signed up, so now what? Here is a training regimen for all levels, whether you’re beginner or experienced, that starts two months before your race date:

Week 1:
Day 1: 5/1 x 5 (this style is used throughout the training plan and means to alternate a 5-minute run and 1-minute walk, five times)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 5/1 x 5
Day 4: 40 to 45 minutes cross-training (any other workout besides running)
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 6/1 x 5
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 2:
Day 1: 7/1 x 4
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 7/1 x 4
Day 4: 40 to 45 minutes cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 8/1 x 4
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 3:
Day 1: 9/1 x 3
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 10/1 x 3
Day 4: 45 minutes cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 11/1 x 3
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 4:
Day 1: 12/1 x 3
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 14/1 x 2
Day 4: 45 minutes cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 15/1 x 2
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 5:
Day 1: 16/1 + 12-minute run
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 18/1 + 10-minute run
Day 4: 45 minutes cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 20/1 + 10-minute run
Day 7: 30 minutes cross-training

Week 6:
Day 1: 23/1 + 5-minute run
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 24/1 + 5-minute run
Day 4: 45 minutes cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 25/1 + 5-minute run
Day 7: 30 minutes cross-training

Week 7:
Day 1: Run 26 minutes
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run 28 minutes
Day 4: 45 minutes cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run 30 minutes
Day 7: 30 minutes cross-training

Week 8: Start off your week with a few more runs, then just go on walks or rest any extra days before the race.
Day 1: Run 25 minutes
Day 2: 30 minutes cross-training
Day 3: Run 20 minutes

It’s race day! So the big day is here. Remember these four things to do right before the race:

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Take the day before the race to really relax yourself. Don’t go on a run or to the gym and go to bed early so that you’re feeling well-rested the morning of the 5K.
  • Eat a full breakfast. Enjoy power foods like oatmeal with dried fruit, a protein-packed sports bar or a bagel with peanut butter two hours before your race starts. And, of course, don’t forget to hydrate, too!
  • Arrive early. Come an hour early to your race to scope out the starting line and get your race packet. Lower your anxiety as much as you can by being early—you don’t want to be rushing to get to there in time.
  • Stretch it out. Jog or walk for about 10 minutes before the race to get your adrenaline pumping and to warm up any tight muscles.

For other race-training tips, check out these blogs:

This blog post is part of #HealthyMe, a personalized web experience based on your health and wellness goals. To sign up today, visit http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/healthyme.

 

Photo credit: Peter Mooney

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