How To Get Ready For Your First 5K

How To Get Ready For Your First 5K
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It seems like everywhere you look there’s another 5k race happening, from the Color Run to the Zombie 5k. Running has never been as popular as it is now. Entering a race provides you the opportunity to benefit yourself and others. Many 5k races donate proceeds to charity while training for the race gets you into shape and lets you discover new levels of inner strength. If you’ve never participated in a 5k run before, let’s review the steps you'll need to take to get you started.

Step 1: Self evaluation

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and your first step is to perform a self-evaluation that may include getting yourself checked out by your doctor. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you currently take any medication(s)?
  • Have you ever had any issues with your joints (knees in particular)?
  • What previous medical conditions do you have that may affect your physical ability?
  • Would you feel unsafe beginning a jogging/running program?

If you can say yes to most of these questions, then it’s important you visit your doctor before beginning any type of training program. If you’ve been cleared or feel that you could safely begin a training program, then proceed to step two.

Step 2: Walk before you run

You may find yourself unable to jump right into an intense jog or run, so walking would be the best place to start. At the very least, you should be walking 30 minutes a day with a moderate-intensity pace. Aim to increase your time spent walking each week until you lose weight, your joint health improves, and you feel confident to start a jogging regimen.

Step 3: Add some weights

Resistance training is one of the most beneficial activities you could begin if you’re looking to improve overall health as well as accelerate your race training. The key is to focus on compound exercises, which use the greatest number of muscle fibers, burn the most calories, and build the most lean muscle tissue. Use a comfortable weight if you’re just starting. Enough weight to work up a sweat but not so much that you feel like you’re going to pass out. Try out this weight lifting program during your training:

  • Warm-up: 5-10 minutes (treadmill, exercise bike, jump rope)
  • Squat: 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions
  • Push-up: 2 x 10
  • Lunge: 3 x 8-12
  • Lat Pulldown: 2 x 10-12
  • Deadlift: 3: x 8-12
  • Cool-down: 5-10 minutes (treadmill)

Step 4: Get moving

As I stress above, once you are cleared by your doctor and you feel safe doing so, it’s time to start your race training. The following is a comprehensive training schedule that incorporates getting your body ready for the race through jogging and resistance training. It’s important to remember that when running, it’s not about time (not yet!). Focus on completing the distance only. Repeat the training schedule as needed, increasing the difficulty as you can.

Week 1:

Monday: Resistance Training: 20 to 30 minutes

Tuesday: 1 mile (walking/jogging – The idea is to jog as much as you can and walk only when you need to.)

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Your Choice Cardio (Exercise bike/Swimming/Cardio class/Etc): 20 to 30 minutes

Friday: 1 mile (walking/jogging)

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 1 mile (walking/jogging)

 

Week 2:

Monday: Resistance Training: 20 to 30 minutes

Tuesday: 2 miles (walking/jogging)

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Your Choice Cardio (Exercise bike/Swimming/Cardio class/Etc): 20 to 30 minutes

Friday: 2 miles (walking/jogging)

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 2 miles (walking/jogging)

 

Week 3:

Monday: Resistance Training: 20 to 30 minutes

Tuesday: 3 miles (walking/jogging)

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Your Choice Cardio (Exercise bike/Swimming/Cardio class/Etc): 20 to 30 minutes

Friday: 3 miles (walking/jogging)

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 3 miles (walking/jogging)

 

Week 4:

Monday: Resistance Training: 20 to 30 minutes

Tuesday: 3 miles (jogging ONLY)

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Your Choice Cardio (Exercise bike/Swimming/Cardio class/Etc): 20 to 30 minutes

Friday: 3 miles (jogging ONLY)

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 3 miles (jogging ONLY)


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