Have you been thinking about running a 5K?

It's the perfect distance: 3.1 miles require relatively little buildup, the training doesn't take over your life, and the race is over fairly quickly. Whether you are a first-time 5K participant or an experienced runner, we’ve got the perfect race – and the perfect training plan for you. By logging only three or four runs per week, you can be ready to toe the line of a 5-K in just five weeks. And having that race date on your calendar gives your training purpose. It is much more motivated knowing that a race day is approaching rather than simply promising to run. A 5K race is an attainable goal for any runner, but the RiverFront Run is a lot of fun and benefits an excellent cause. Proceeds from the RiverFront Run 5K & 1 Mile Run/Walk on Saturday, October 6th will benefit the Darton College Foundation, Inc., Allied Health Program.

The Five Week Plan: Begin on Monday, September 3, 2012
In the five weeks leading up to your first 5-K, most coaches agree that you need to run three or four days a week. During one of those weekly runs, you should focus on increasing the amount you can run at one time until you build to at least the race distance, or the equivalent amount of time spent running. If you are a beginning runner, add walk breaks to your run and focus on minutes, not mileage. Thinking in minutes is more gradual and self-paced. Completing the equivalent of the 5-K distance in training gives you the strength and confidence you need to finish the race.

5K Training for the Beginner

Week

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

1

Walk/CT
20 mins or off

Run 10 minutes

Walk/CT
20 mins or off

Run 15 minutes

Rest

Run 2 miles

Walk/CT
20 mins or off

2

Walk/CT
20 mins or off

Run 15 minutes

Walk/CT
20 mins or offf

Run 20 minutes

Rest

Run 2.5 miles

Walk/CT
20 mins or off

3

Walk/CT
30 mins or off

Run 20 minutes

Walk/CT
30 mins or off

Run 25 minutes

Rest

Run 3 miles

Walk/CT
20 mins or off

4

Walk/CT
30 mins or off

Run 25 minutes

Walk/CT
30 mins or off

Run 30 minutes

Rest

Run 3.5 miles

Walk/CT
20 mins or off

5

Walk/CT
30 mins or off

Run 30 minutes

Walk/CT
30 mins or off

Run 35 minutes

Rest

RACE DAY

Walk 20 mins


5K Training For the Intermediate Runner:

Week

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

1

CT or Rest

3 x 400 IW

2 mile run

30 min tempo

Rest

Run 5 miles

30 min EZ

2

CT or Rest

4 x 400 IW

3 mile run

30 min tempo

Rest

Run 6 miles

35 min EZ

3

CT or Rest

5 x 400 IW

3 mile run

35 min tempo

Rest

Run 6 miles

40 min EZ

4

CT or Rest

6 x 400 IW

3 mile run

40 min tempo

Rest

Run 7 miles

45 min EZ

5

CT or Rest

3 mile run

30 min
tempo run

2 mile run

Rest

RACE DAY

35 min EZ


5K Training For the Advanced Runner:

Week

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

1

CT or Rest

4 x 400 IW

4 mile run

30 min tempo

Rest

Run 5 miles

35 min EZ

2

CT or Rest

5 x 400 IW

5 mile run

30 min tempo

Rest

Run 6 miles

40 min EZ

3

CT or Rest

6 x 400 IW

5 mile run

35 min tempo

Rest

Run 7 miles

40 min EZ

4

CT or Rest

5 x 400 IW

4 mile run

40 min tempo

Rest

Run 7 miles

45 min EZ

5

CT or Rest

3 mile run

30 min
tempo run

2 mile run

Rest

RACE DAY

35 min EZ

Notes about the schedules:

Crossing-training (CT): Cross-training activities allow you to give your joints and running muscles a break, while still working on your cardio. When the schedule calls for CT, do a cardio activity other than running (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer) at moderate effort for 50 to 60 minutes.

Interval workouts (IW): This is a good workout to do on a track. After a warm-up, run 400 meters (one lap around most tracks) hard, and then recover by jogging or walking 400 meters. So 4 x 400 would be four hard 400s, with a 400 m recovery in between.

Wednesday and Saturday runs: After you warm up, run at a comfortable pace for the designated mileage. Make sure you cool down after your run. If you're running outside and not sure about distances, you can figure out the mileage by using sites such as MapMyRun.com. Or, you can always drive your route in your car and measure the mileage using your car odometer.

Tempo Run: Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for fast 5K racing. Start your run with 5 to 10 minutes easy running, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes running near your 10K pace, and finish with 5 to 10 minutes cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard."

Rest: Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't ignore rest days. Your muscles actually build and repair themselves during your rest days. So if you run every day without taking days off, you won’t see much improvement. Fridays are a good day for rest because you just did a speed workout on Thursday and you have your longest run of the week tomorrow.

Sundays: This is an active recovery day. Your run should be at an easy (EZ), comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles.

Note:
You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. Just make sure you don't do two intense speed workouts (IW and tempo) two days in a row.

Tips for the Big Day: 5-K
The greatest challenge of running a 5K is finding the right pace. Start out too fast and you'll likely struggle to finish. That's why Olympian Jeff Galloway recommends all first-time racers (including veteran runners) get in the back of the pack at the starting line. This prevents an overzealous start and allows you to gradually build up speed, ideally running the final mile the fastest.

Most experts discourage first-timers from shooting for strict time goals.The number one goal for this race is that our 5K runners have fun. Make it a race against yourself, because it's your progress that's most valuable to you. Just get to the finish line. If you have a great experience, you'll do it again. And chances are you'll have an even better time.

 

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