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How To Train For A 5K

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By: Kate Zanoni, LPTA

How to train for a 5K? That is the question. It’s a new year with new fitness goals and perhaps a 5K is one you’d like to conquer.  So how do you even begin to train for one? Well as LSTC’s final installment of our Fall Into Winter Fitness Challenge, we are helping you hit the pavement with a Couch to 5K running program!

As New Year continues, keep your fitness goals for 2016 strong with a fitness revolution. Below, we’ve outlined a Couch to 5k running program that incrementally increases mileage over time, allowing your body to properly adjust to additional activity. It’s vital to start slowly and build your mileage over time to avoid injury. All too often, people begin running too many miles too quickly and injure themselves as a result. Allow your muscles and joints to adapt to extra mileage incrementally. Ease into your running program gradually using our interval walk-jog-run plan below and you’ll transform yourself from a couch potato to a 5k (3.1-mile) runner in two months’ time!

Please note: you should obtain clearance from a medical professional prior to beginning any new workout regimen to ensure you are healthy enough to participate. Always begin each workout with a 5-minute warm-up to prepare your muscles for activity, increase your blood flow and get your heart rate pumping! Don’t forget to stretch afterwards and stay hydrated to reduce muscle soreness, cramping and dehydration.

Week 1: Warm-up: 5-minute brisk walk (or light jog)

Interval Workout: Alternate 60 seconds of jogging (or running) with 90 seconds of walking (or slower jogging) for a total of 20 minutes. Perform 3-5 days this week.

 

Week 2: Warm-up: 5-minute brisk walk (or light jog)

Interval Workout: Alternate 90 seconds of jogging (or running) and 90 seconds of walking (or jogging) for 20 minutes.

 

Week 3: Warm-up: 5-minute brisk walk (or light jog)

Interval Workout: Jog (or run) for 90 seconds, then walk (or jog) for 90 seconds. Jog (or run) for 3 minutes, then walk (or jog) for 3 minutes. Perform 2 repetitions 3-5 days this week.

 

Week 4: Warm-up: 5-minute brisk walk (or light jog)

Interval Workout: Jog (or run) for 3 minutes, then walk (or jog) for 90 seconds. Jog (or run) for 5 minutes, then walk (or jog) for 2.5 minutes. Jog (or run) for 3 minutes, walk (or jog) for 90 seconds, and then jog (or run) for 5 minutes. Perform 3-5 days this week.

 

Week 5: Warm-up: 5-minute brisk walk (or light jog)

Interval Workout 1: Jog (or run) for 5 minutes, walk (or jog) for 3 minutes, jog (or run) for 5 minutes, walk (or jog) for 3 minutes, and then jog (or run) for 5 minutes.

Interval Workout 2: Jog (or run) for 8 minutes, walk (or jog) for 5 minutes, and then jog (or run) for 8 minutes.

Interval Workout 3: Jog (or run) for 20 minutes without taking a break to walk (approximately 2 miles).

 

Week 6: Warm-up: 5-minute brisk walk (or light jog)

Interval Workout 1: Jog (or run) for 5 minutes, walk (or jog) for 3 minutes, jog (or run) for 8 minutes, walk (or jog) for 3 minutes, and then jog (or run) for 5 minutes.

Interval Workout 2: Jog (or run) for 10 minutes, walk (or jog) for 3 minutes, and then jog (or run) for 10 minutes.

Workout 3 (No Intervals): Jog (or run) for 22 minutes without taking a break to walk (approximately 2 ¼ miles).

 

Week 7: Warm-up: 5-minute brisk walk (or light jog)

Workout 1: Jog (or run) for 25 minutes (approximately 2.5 miles). Do not take any breaks to walk.

Workout 2: Jog (or run) for 25 minutes (approximately 2.5 miles). Do not take any breaks to walk.

Workout 3: Jog (or run) for 25 minutes (approximately 2.5 miles). Do not take any breaks to walk.

 

Week 8: Warm-up: 5-minute brisk walk (or light jog)

Workout 1: Jog (or run) for 28 minutes (approximately 2 ¾ miles). Do not take any breaks to walk.

Workout 2: Jog (or run) for 28 minutes (approximately 2 ¾ miles). Do not take any breaks to walk.

Workout 3: Jog (or run) for 28 minutes (approximately 2 ¾ miles). Do not take any breaks to walk.

 

Week 9: Warm-up: 5-minute brisk walk (or light jog)

Workout 1: Jog (or run) for 30 minutes (approximately 3 miles). Do not take any breaks to walk.

Workout 2: Jog (or run) for 30 minutes (approximately 3 miles). Do not take any breaks to walk.

Workout 3 (The FINAL Workout): Jog (or run) for 31 minutes (approximately 3.1 miles). Do not take any breaks to walk.

Now it’s time to lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement! Should you feel any discomfort while jogging, running or walking, stop immediately. Do NOT push through pain or discomfort. Address an injury sooner rather than later to avoid further damage to the area of discomfort. Contact a therapist at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center with any questions or concerns you have regarding this training program or any injury by calling our office at 703-450-4300.

Happy Running!