Over the last 2-3 weeks several people have asked me how to begin running and/or how to train for a 5K. I searched my blog, because I knew that a couple of years ago I wrote about a beginner running plan that I really liked. I actually wrote this post 3 years ago! I could not believe it had been that long!
Here is the article, with a few modifications.
I have read many "beginning runner" type articles in magazines, in books, and online. Recently I found my favorite one of all. It is found in the January/February 2010 issue of Women's Running magazine. Most of the other plans I have seen start off fine, but after a few weeks, they seem to make too big of a jump in the routine. This plan gradually takes you from walking only to only running--over the course of 15 -18 weeks.
If regular exercise is one of your New Year's Resolutions, then I encourage you to follow this plan. All you need is a pair of running shoes and some good socks (not 100% cotton). You don't need a special place to walk/run....you can run up and down your driveway, around your block, in your subdivision, at your local walking track, on a treadmill, etc. One of the contestants of The Biggest Loser (I think this was in 2009) trained for a marathon (26.2 miles) by running from her front porch to her mailbox....over and over again!
Here's the plan!
Weeks 1-2: walk 30-40 minutes, 3-4 times a week
Begin each week's workout with a brisk 5 minute walk to warm-up
Weeks 3-4: Alternate 1 minute running/3 minutes walking, 7 times
Weeks 5-6: Alternate 2 minutes running/3 minutes walking, 6 times
Weeks 7-8: Alternate 3 minutes running/3 minutes walking, 5 times
Weeks 9-10: Alternate 3 minutes running/2 minutes walking, 6 times
Weeks 11-12: Alternate 4 minutes running/2 minutes walking, 5 times
Weeks 13-14: Alternate 4 minutes running/1 minute walking, 6 times
Weeks 15-16: Alternate 5 minutes running/ 1 minute walking, 5 times
After this, every two weeks add one more minute to your running time until you are running 10 minutes/walking 1 minute. You can eventually build up to continuous 30 minutes of running with no walk breaks, but if walking one minute after running 8-10 minutes helps, continue indefinitely! When I ran my first half marathon, I walked a minute every mile, which was about equal to running 10 minutes/walking 1 minute. I also trained this way for my first marathon. For my second marathon, I trained running 1 mile and walking 30 seconds. For my third marathon (Disney), I trained running 1 mile and walking 1 minute. For my current marathon training, I am running the first 3 miles, and then walking for 1 minute after every 2 miles. Since I have been running for 6 years now, I can run shorter distances of 6-7 miles and less without any walk breaks, but anytime I am running longer than 7, I take the walk breaks. It really makes a difference!
The important thing to remember is to try to enjoy the run! You should be running at a pace that you can talk to someone running beside you. That's what makes it fun! If you are new to running, I encourage you to find a 5K race in your area. It is a lot of fun to run a race! Try to find a friend to sign up, train, and run with you, but even if you can't find someone to run with, try it alone. You will feel such a sense of accomplishment when you cross the finish line. And you will probably get a cool t-shirt!
I hope this plan works for some of you.