Are you ready to rock 2015? Do you want to change your life, lose weight, get fit, feel amazing? I’m here to help you do just that.
Note: While this is primarily a training program for first time 5kers, starting with Week 2 I will include a plan for runners who have completed a race or two, and now have the goal of running faster. Stay tuned!
While that might sound like a cheesy infomercial, it is not. It’s the truth. I’m going to help you commit to fit in 20-15. Not a resolution to exercise and lose weight. A commitment with a real goal. And that goal is…train and run, really run, a 5k.
Oh, you say you can’t run. You say you hate running. You say you’ve got bad (fill in the blank) knees, hips, back, etc. I say to you, nonsense! You can learn, if not to love running, at least to enjoy the fresh air, the accomplishment you feel after a run, the way running can help with weight loss and management.
Just ask my friend over at It’s All About Me! Deal With It! If I may quote from her Winter Running post of several years ago, “I still wouldn’t classify myself as one of those people who enjoys running, or experiences the elusive “runner’s high.” But I do enjoy the peace, the calorie burn, the way it makes my body look, and how I feel when I am done doing something only 20% of the population is willing to do.”
So just toss those negative feelings in the trash and head out of the door. DO NOT run. Yes, you heard me right. Do not run. If you are one of those naysayers, reading and saying, “No way, Deb, I tried running, hated it, hurt myself, bored me to death, etc., chances are, if left to your own devices, you would step out that door and run for two or three miles and either hurt your knees, back, or whatever, or simply have such sore muscles the next day you cannot walk, whereupon you say, “I hate running.”
We’re not going to do it that way this time. Now, of course, some of this depends on your level fitness before you start your training. For this first post, we will assume that you are a very beginner. You could probably walk one mile, maybe two, somewhat briskly, at least at the beginning. We’re going to get you started on a 12 week plan that will have you ready to run a 5k at the end. So, the first thing to do is pick up a race schedule, check online, and find a race that is scheduled about three months from now. (If you already run, but would like to run stronger and faster, don’t despair, my next 5k Friday post will have some tips just for you.)
Day One: So, we’re walking out the door. A brisk walk, to be sure, but a walk. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Fresh air, nice sights. I do realize that this is winter, and some of you may need to do this on a treadmill, which is kind of sad, but the workouts are the same. Walk and dream of spring, it will be here before you know it. Now that you’ve walked about eight to 10 minutes, let’s try a little run. Fast, slow, it doesn’t matter. See if you can do it for a minute. Then, stop and walk again. Wasn’t that easy?
Keep walking for about two minutes, then try that minute run again. Do this three more times, finishing with at least five minutes of walking. Do not give in to that type A exerciser, the one who has injured you in the past, and try to run the whole time. Follow my instructions. Oh, and just call me Coach.
This first workout will take about 30 minutes. When you’re done, spend some time stretching, particularly your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hips. Check out this post for a great stretching program for runners. It is also helpful to ice your knees and shins.
Day Two: Repeat day one workout. Seriously. You don’t need to increase right away. You need to start slowly, stay healthy and uninjured. Repeat. Day. One.
Day Three: Rest. You can do some strength training if you want, or Yoga, but if you are really out of shape, keep the work out light. You’re easing into that, too.
Day Four: Repeat the day one workout with one change. The running interval can be raised to 90 seconds, while the walking interval in between is lowered to 90 seconds. Don’t forget the stretching and ice.
Day Five: Rest. Totally (no this isn’t an excuse not to mow the lawn or cook dinner).
Day Six: Repeat day four.
Day Seven: You know that day seven is supposed to be. Rest (although again, strength training, yoga, Pilates, extra stretching, are all acceptable rest day activities).
So now you’ve completed your first week of training. While it is true that you aren’t running very much (yet), you’re not injured either. Take a little inventory after week one. How are you feeling? Have you been stretching and icing? While I’m not covering it in this post, healthful eating is important too.
Next week we will continue to slowly add running time and reduce walking. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to invest in a good pair of running shoes. Visit your local running shoe store, where you can be fitted, allowed to actually run a little in your shoes, and someone can help guide you to the best shoe for you.
Check in next Friday for 5k Friday: Week Two of 5k Training. Beginners will receive their next week of training, while more advanced runners will get some advice on running stronger, longer, and faster. Stay tuned!
This post is revised and updated from a beginner 5k program I created several years ago.