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5K Training Plan: A 6-Week Guide for Beginners

Summer is a season for growth. So, step out and grow your legs with a challenge. It can be a family affair! ONIE’s annual Let’s Get Midwest City Moving 5K Walk/Run is coming up and with little more than 6 weeks to go, we have a training plan that will prepare you and your crew to walk or run a 5K!

This 6-week training plan is easy to follow and can be adapted to different fitness levels. The brief goal is to walk or run for 30 minutes a day at least 3 days a week. Introducing this amount of activity boosts energy, improves mobility, mental health, and sleep quality. Remember, always drink water and stretch before, during, and after you do physical activity! Grab your friends, kids, spouse, uncle, cousin, and neighbor – let’s get moving!

Note: Keep that stroller handy for kids under 7. The distance and time needed for a 5K is a bit much for the younger kiddos. They can participate when the mood takes them or enjoy the ride.

Week 1: Get going! The only way to train to run is to run. To start out, switch between walking and running every few minutes. Do mini races with your partner or kids while on your walk. Everyone, race to that tree! If walking is more your speed then vary your walking pace to include a brisk pace. At this stage just move. Focus on time spent, not distance traveled. 

Week 2: Take a small step forward. This is week 2, so let’s be bold. Continue to switch off walking, jogging, and running like last week, but then, bump up the pace and/or distance while you run. Stretch your mini races to a farther landmark than usual. Speed walk one more block! Just push it a bit more.

Week 3: Half and half. For week 3, try and spend as much time running or speed walking as you do a normal pace. A timer comes in handy at this point. If you know the time will end and is almost here… in… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… you are less likely to give up early – phew!

Week 4: Cue the music! By week 4, we need some training music! You will want to try and speed walk or run more than you walk at a normal pace. Pick some power songs and play those for the speed periods. Begin considering distance. Remember a 5K is 3.1 miles. Find a route close to that distance and work it into your routine.

Week 5: Steady power. Continue to run or speed walk more than you walk at a normal pace, but like our second week – stretch it. When you get to the end of your power song stretch yourself 15 or 20 seconds past it. Do a count down with the kids. At this point Let’s Get Moving! 5K Walk/Run is only a bit more than one week away!

Week 6: Congratulations! It is the last week of training. This week run or speed walk for 30 minutes without walking at a normal pace. The timer comes in handy again, or perhaps put together a set of power songs – “We stop when ‘We Are the Champions’ is over.” It is ok to stop and walk at a normal pace if you need to. Challenges are good, but taking breaks is important.

Tips to remember:

  • Warm Up! Warming up is an important start to prevent injury. A slow walk, high knees, butt kicks, lunges, or leg raises are some things you can do to warm up.
  • Cool Down. Cooling down is important and will help bring your heart rate down. Walking slowly is a great way to cool down!
  • Stretch. Stretching is also important before and after physical activity. This helps keep you limber and wards off injuries.
  • Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you do any physical activity. Water will help replenish all the fluids you lost from sweating.

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