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New to Running? Learn to run a 5K.

Posted 03-06-2020
In Workouts & Running

New to Running? Learn to run a 5K.

Running is an excellent form of exercise. You can do it almost anywhere and anytime. And except for a pair of good running shoes and some appropriate clothing, you really don’t need any fancy, expensive equipment. You don’t even need to be particularly athletic or sporty; you just need a little motivation and determination.

5K, which is about 3.1 miles, is a great running benchmark. It might sound like a daunting distance, but, if you can commit to three training sessions of about 30 minutes per week, you should be able to achieve this goal in six weeks. All you need is a workout timer, and some get up and go!

Run-walk-run – the key to learning to run 5K without stopping

The first thing to understand is that to run 5K without stopping, you should first develop your basic fitness using interval training. A lot of people think that interval training is only suitable for advanced exercisers, but, in reality, it is ideal for beginners too.

In this instance, interval training means alternating between walking and running. Gradually, as you get fitter, you’ll walk less and run more until you can run 5K without stopping. You’ll find this entire process easier if you use a Gymboss run-walk interval timer.

Here is a tried and tested six-week couch to 5K running plan designed especially for beginners.

Week one

Run three days per week on non-consecutive days, e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday.

Workout 1: Run 1 min, walk 2 min. Repeat 8 times to total 24 minutes
Workout 2: Run 2 mins, walk 3 mins. Repeat 5 times to total 25 minutes
Workout 3: Run 3 mins, walk 4 mins. Repeat 4 times to total 28 minutes

Week two

Run three days per week on non-consecutive days, e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday.

Workout 1: Run 3 mins, walk 3 mins. Repeat 4 times to total 24 minutes
Workout 2: Run 4 mins, walk 3 mins. Repeat 4 times to total 28 minutes
Workout 3: Run 5 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat 4 times to total 28 minutes

Week three

Run three days per week on non-consecutive days, e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday.
Workout 1: Run 6 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat 4 times to total 32 minutes
Workout 2: Run 7 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat 3 times to total 27 minutes
Workout 3: Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat 3 times to total 30 minutes
Week four

Run three days per week on non-consecutive days, e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday.

Workout 1: Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat 3 times to total 30 minutes
Workout 2: Run 10 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat twice, then run for 5 mins to total 29 minutes
Workout 3: Run 9 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat 3 times to total 33 minutes

Week five

Run three days per week on non-consecutive days, e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday.

Workout 1: Run 9 mins, walk 1 min. Repeat 3 times to total 30 minutes
Workout 2: Run 12 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat twice, then run for 5 mins to total 33 minutes
Workout 3: Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat 3 times to total 30 minutes

Week six

Run three days per week on non-consecutive days, e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday.

Workout 1: Run 15 mins, walk 1 min. Repeat twice to total 32 minutes
Workout 2: Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Repeat 3 times to total 30 minutes
Workout 3: Run 5K non-stop

How fast should you run and walk?

Using a walk-run interval timer will tell you how far you should run per interval, but how fast should you walk and run? This question is not easy to answer because your speed is determined by a lot of different factors, including your current level of fitness, your height, weight, and experience.

For running, instead of worrying about your pace, focus more on how you feel. You should do most of your running at what is best described as “comfortable pace.” At this speed, you should be out of breath but still be able to complete your running interval with energy to spare. If this was a scale of 1-10, you should be hitting about 5-6. As you get fitter, you’ll notice that you can run faster without feeling more tired.

For walking, remember these are active recovery periods, so while you should slow down and catch your breath, you should not go so slowly that your heart and breathing rate return to normal. Walk briskly and with purpose rather than dawdle!

Training to run 5K is a great workout goal, and using a Gymboss run walk interval timer will make the entire process much more manageable. If you commit to this plan, in just six weeks, you should be able to achieve a significant running benchmark. And once you reach your goal, why not up the stakes and start training for a 10K. Again, using your Gymboss workout timer will help.