A 5K Running/Walking Training Plan

The Plan

The training plan is designed so you can:

  • Begin conservatively by starting with 10 minutes--yes only 10--on the first day.
  • Build your running (or fast walking) time over the course of several weeks.
  • Include optional days of extra walking and sit-ups.
  • Celebrate successes along the way that contribute to your long-term goals.
Print it out the 15-week training plan and hang it somewhere you can see it. On the printed copy you can look forward to the next workout and also track, and celebrate, your success. 

The first nine weeks of the plan prepare you to complete a 5k, and the last three weeks will be your maintenance routine to continue until you decide on a new fitness goal. After completing each workout, highlight it on your printed copy with a colored marker to signify completion and success.

Before beginning, it's important to have a good pair of shoes designed for your foot type and fitness goals. Invest in a new pair of shoes that will be used for your workout routine and nothing else. (No lawn mowing, gardening, shopping, running errands, etc.) Also, loose-fitting, comfortable clothes designed for fitness purposes make your workout more enjoyable.

On the first day, run for one minute and walk for one minute and repeat this pattern five times. If the plan specifies "walk," the intensity of walking should feel easy. If the plan specifies "run," try to run at a moderate pace. Save running "hard" or "fast" for later.

If you don't want to run and prefer walking, simply substitute walking faster, at a moderate effort, everywhere the plan specifies "run." After completing the workout, highlight it on your printed copy with a colored marker to signify completion and success. Yes, this first workout is short, but you'll build to longer workouts later.

The second day includes a five-minute walk. Incorporate this into your regular routine by parking as far as possible away from work, school or a store. Because you're on the road to better fitness, searching for ways to include more walking into your day will soon become normal.

On Wednesday of the first week, you're still running for a minute and walking for a minute, but this time repeat the routine eight times for a total workout time of 16 minutes.

If you look down the Monday column of the plan, you'll notice a pattern. Your running time builds each week from one minute to 10 minutes and finally 20 minutes. The Monday workout time stays around 20 minutes after the first week.

A similar pattern of building run time is visible for Wednesday and Saturday workouts. Notice that your longest workout each week is on Saturday.

The suggested workouts on Tuesday and Thursday are optional. You can complete the walking all at once or include extra walking throughout your day. If you want to add the beginning of core strength training to the routine, you can include some sit-ups or crunches on the walking days.

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