A 5K Running/Walking Training Plan

Work fitness into your day as part of a routine instead of a short-lived resolution.

Working fitness into your lifestyle as a routine instead of a short-lived resolution should be a priority. If you don't take time to take care of yourself it's difficult, if not impossible, to take care of the other priorities in your life. If you don't take good care of yourself, other areas of your life will surely suffer.

The following training plan will help you make running, walking or a combination of running and walking part of your normal routine. The main goal is to follow this plan for six to 12 weeks, completing 90 percent of the workouts shown on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

As part of that goal, celebrate your fitness by completing a 5k (3.1 miles) event. You can chart your own 5k route or find an organized running event near you.

After completing the event, the plan will help you maintain fitness by giving you a three-week routine to follow. Simply repeat weeks 13, 14 and 15 to maintain your endurance.

Before diving into the plan, let's begin with more precise goals and an athlete profile.

Goals
  1. Schedule time to run, walk or run/walk three times a week, for six to 12 weeks.
  2. At the end of six to 12 weeks, celebrate your fitness by completing 3.1 miles. (If your current fitness is better than shown in Week 1, perhaps you can begin the plan on Monday of Week 7.)
  3. Maintain your fitness routine for six weeks beyond the 3.1-mile celebration event.

Athlete Profile

When I designed this plan, I had several women in mind. The first woman is my niece, Alisha. Alisha is an 18-year-old high school senior. She completed her last season of volleyball and found that without the regular, structured exercise that volleyball practice provided, she didn't feel very good. She decided to begin a running program. After running a mile, she was tired, sore and didn't enjoy it.

Susan is a 30-year-old woman who has spent the last several years chasing career goals. Although this path has provided her with challenge and success, the chase left her unfit and feeling "like a slug."

She's had several false starts to a running program, expecting to run nearly every day of the week. The first couple of weeks go well, then she notices aches and pains that force her to stop running. She thinks she may have started with too many miles and consecutive days of running; but all of her friends work out 30 to 60 minutes every day, why can't she?

Margie is over 50 and has no interest in running because it hurts her knees and hips. She wants to establish a long-term walking routine. How can she get started on a progressive plan that builds her fitness and minimizes the risk of injury?

All three of these women can use the training plan found in this column. Perhaps this will be the perfect plan for you.

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