Training for a 5K in 14 Days

By John Focht

The spring season is loaded with 5k races in every town every weekend now through June. It’s a great time of year to get yourself into shape, as well as accomplishing running in a 5K.

It just takes a little dedication and motivation, but within the month, you will find yourself easily running the 3.2 mile race. All you need is 45 minutes to an hour every other day for the next month.

Start Slow

Start simple. If you try running three miles, or even a mile, on day one, you will fail. Avoid the discouragement and start small by building yourself up to running the 3.2 miles.

On days 1 and 2, alternate running one minute then walking two minutes – do this for 20 minutes.  That’s it for days 1 and 2.

By spending the first two days with this minor 20 minute exercise, you are getting your body prepared for physical activity again (especially if it’s been awhile since you’ve done any physical activity).  Too much too soon will be a negative to your training.

On day 3, up the ante a bit by increasing your run from one minute to two 2 minutes.  Continue with the 20 minute workout by alternating the two minute run and two minute walk.

Start Increasing your Training and Stamina

Day 4 will continue where day 3 left off: alternate between a two minute run a two minute walk for 20 minutes.

Days 5-6: The 20 minute workout remains, but you will again up your continuous run time. This time, alternate between a three minute run and a two minute walk – do this for 20 minutes.

You are roughly a week-and-a-half into your training and you have slightly increased your continuous run time from one minute to three minutes. Believe it or not, that’s a pretty big accomplishment after only six days of training. You have begun training your body for getting ready for continuous running over a longer period of time.

Start Pushing Yourself

This is where the real training starts. No longer are you looking at your watch and starting and stopping based on time. Now is the time to push yourself for distance.

On day 7, you will run for 0.5 mile, and then walk two minutes.  Repeat this exercise for three times.  You will have accomplished a few things on day 7:

  • Running a total of 1.5      mile which is a pretty good accomplishment.
  • And two, you have begun      training your body to run for distance.

On day 8, there is only a slight change. Instead of your walk between runs being two minutes, decrease it to one minute and 30 seconds. So overall on day 8 you will run continuously for 0.5 miles, and then walk for one minute, thirty seconds. Repeat this exercise three times.

On day 9, run continuously for a mile-and-a-half; don’t stop for a walk. Push yourself to complete the 1.5 miles. How did you do? Were you able to complete 1.5 miles without a break? Don’t worry if you were unable to make it. There is still some time before the race to work on stamina and strength.

Two Mile Run

You’re getting into the home stretch here. On day 10, you want to continue working on stamina and strength. You will run one mile, and walk one minute.  Repeat two times. Don’t worry about distance today; you should only be thinking about increasing your stamina and strength.

On day 11, run the 1.5 miles continuously again, and then finish with a minute-and-a-half walk. By now, you should be at the point where you are able to run 1.5 miles continuously.

On day 12, push it a bit further: 2.5 mile continuous run. Don’t worry about time. Focus only on finishing the 2.5 mile run.

Bring it Home

On day 13, you will continue working on distance, strength and stamina; run 2.75 miles. By now, your body should be adjusted to the continuous run, and your stamina should be well-adjusted.

On day 14, just do a 2 mile run. You don’t need to run the entire 3.2 miles today. You have trained and prepared your body for the race. This run should just be looked at as a tune-up for the actual 5k.

Day 15 is the 5K race. Congratulations! You made it. Now time to line up and go. Remember to pace yourself. Your adrenaline might kick you out of the gates quick, but slow down, pace yourself, and enjoy the run.


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