Running is becoming an increasingly popular activity for individuals of all ages, genders, backgrounds and standards. And as its popularity grows so too does participating in road races.

The 5km (3.1 miles) is one of the most popular race distances, particularly for those racing for the first time. Training for a 5km can be an amazing process if done correctly and once you finish your first race you will be hooked!

There’s nothing quite like the excitement at the start line whether you are at the front or hanging at the back of the pack.

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So how exactly do you go about training for a 5km?

If you search the internet for a 5km training program you are likely to find hundreds and picking which one is best for you can be overwhelming.  Don’t let the volume of training programs get the best of you! Most are similar and if the plan involves a transition from a run/walk to a steady run and the distance or time you go slowly increases – you will be fine. But if you want to stop sifting through all the plans and just get going here is a training program designed for those who are just starting out.

A few tips before we get started:

Make sure to invest in a good pair of running shoes and socks.  The sneakers you have been wearing for the past year do not count as running shoes!  I highly recommend getting fitted at a running specialty shoe store as they will help you determine the best shoe for your body type. And seriously, don’t overlook the socks. Blisters suck, so buy a few good pairs and use them.

Consider investing in a few items of clothing specific to running. You don’t have to go crazy, but running specific gear can make a huge difference.  If you plan to train in the cold, a pair of running tights, a base layer, and an outer layer are highly recommended. If you plan to train in the heat, make sure to get shorts and a shirt made from moisture wicking material.

A good sports bra for the ladies is a must!

Give yourself at least 10 weeks to train. When you are choosing your goal race make sure to give yourself enough time to train. If you try to do too much too soon you will go up in flames. 5km races are popular so there are plenty of options to choose from.

Don’t forget to strength train. Strength training is still important as it helps prevent injuries from running. Hire a personal trainer familiar with runners who can help you develop a program specific to your needs.

Now, let’s get running!

In this plan, you are asked to run three days a week over the course of 10 weeks. It is based on time, rather than mileage, so make sure to bring a watch with you on your runs. Always warm up before your run and make sure that you are well hydrated.

Week 1

3 minute walk/30 second jog for 15 minutes
2 minute walk/30 second jog for 15 minutes
1 minute walk/30 second jog for 15 minutes

Week 2

3 minute walk/1 minute jog for 15 minutes
2 minute walk/1 minute jog for 15 minutes
1 minute walk/1 minute jog for 15 minutes

Week 3

4 minute walk/ 1 minute jog for 20 minutes
3 minute walk/ 2 minute jog for 20 minutes
2 minute walk/2 minute jog for 20 minutes

Week 4

3 minute walk/2 minute jog alternated for 20 minutes
2 minute walk/3 minute jog alternated for 20 minutes
1 minute walk/4 minute jog alternated for 20 minutes5km running
Week 5

5 minute walk/5 minute jog alternated for 10 minutes; 2 minute walk/3 minute jog alternated for 15 minutes
3 minute walk/7 minute jog alternated for 10 minutes; 1 minute walk/4 minute jog alternated for 15 minutes
2 minute walk/8 minute jog alternated for 10 minutes; 1 minute walk/4 minute jog alternated for 15 minutes

Week 6

4 minute walk/6 minute jog alternated for 30 minutes
3 minute walk/7 minute jog alternated for 30 minutes
1 minute walk/9 minute jog alternated for 30 minutes

Week 7

10 minute jog/10 minute walk/10 minute jog
10 minute jog/5 minute walk/10 minute jog
15 minute jog/5 minute walk/5 minute jog

Week 8

15 minute jog/5 minute walk/5 minute jog
15 minute jog/5 minute walk/10 minute jog
20 minute jog/5 minute walk/10 minute jog

Week 9

20 minute jog/5 minute walk/10 minute jog
20 minute jog/3 minute walk/15 minute jog
25 minute jog/2 minute walk/10 minute jog

Week 10

30 minute jog/5 minute walk/5 minute jog
30 minute jog/2 minute walk/5 minute jog

RACE DAY!

If you measure your mileage while you are running please don’t worry if you don’t actually complete 3.1 miles in training. Race day adrenaline will make up for it on the day! Slow and steady wins the race so if you work up to running for 30 minutes straight you will have no problem completing your 5km.

I’m always listening so if you need help, have questions or are looking for a personal trainer, running coach, or nutrition coach you can find me here on my Expert Profile page. Happy, healthy living my friends!!

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