How do I train for my first 5K run?

Congratulations on the choice to complete a 5k! The benefits are endless! Definitely be sure you have no medical obstacles to overcome before beginning your training.Then pick your goal. Set a target race and sign up, because this will help you to stay mentally focused along the path to success. Then looking at a calendar, back up from race day and give yourself 6-8 weeks of training and prep-time. Spend 3-4 days moving starting 10-15 mins working up to 30-40 mins. Start with walking if you have not run before and gradually work up to jogging. Then start by measuring your time being active with either walking or jogging. Then be aware of the distance you are covering while moving, it will surprise you. Over the 6-8 weeks, work up to the distance increasing the distance by no more than 10% each week.

Ideally two weeks before your event you would feel comfortable to complete the full 5k distance. But don't get discouraged, if at the end of your training you have either just completed the 5k distance one time or have only made it to 2.5 miles, because on race day the thrill of your accomplishment will carry you to your goal! Much luck and keep doing your best! 

When doing your first 5K, the initial goal is to finish the distance. When you know you can finish a 5K, you can then start working on improving your time. For some, this might mean beginning with a light walking program. Slowly add time to your walking routine. The goal is to improve your work capacity which includes both leg endurance and strengthening the cardiovascular system. If you can already walk the 5K, you need to slowly prepare to walk and jog the distance. This will include jogging for a half-mile, then walking a half-mile until you complete the 5K distance. As you build your work capacity in the legs and cardiovascular system by jogging, reduce the length of the walk and increase the jog. Build up to dropping the walking portion altogether and focus on running the full 5K. When you start increasing the jogging phase, you also want to start varying the workouts every day. One day can be heavier in jogging while the following day is more of a recovery, just walking or even using some equipment that will reduce the impact on the legs, such as an elliptical or bike. This is a good way to continue to build cardiovascular strength without over stressing the legs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.