How to train for a 5K run if you are a beginner?

5k run
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Running a 5K surely adds a new level of challenge and satisfaction to your fitness regime. In addition to being meditative, it is an excellent cardio workout that sets you up for the whole day.
With dedication and proper instructions, you can prepare for a 5K run within two months. But note that the amount of time it will take you to get ready for a 5K run depends on your current fitness level. Moreover, you would be able to run much faster if you have got previous experience of running under your belt.
So, here are some steps with the help of which you would be able to complete a 5K run quite easily.

5K run – Some important steps to achieve this feat

Before you start practicing, there are some specific things you need to keep in mind. If you are a beginner, you need to have a good pair of running shoes to compliment your running. Running under the supervision of a coach is the most preferred option. But with these handy tips, you would be able to do it yourself.

Running three days a week

You have to practice running at least three days a week. But it wouldn’t help if you only practice running. You have to pursue a walk-run combo so that you can build up your endurance. One of the main roadblocks in practicing a 5K run is to build endurance correctly. And if you are a beginner and have no prior experience, then walk-run combo would set up your muscles and prevent the formation of lactic acid which is responsible for fatigue. If you have a watch with a timer function, use it to mark your intervals. Don’t carry your smartphone as it will divert your attention. It would be wrong if you worry about speed upfront. You should aim for a rate of perceived exertion which feels like 5 or 6 on a scale of 10.

Training for strength in running 5K

While practicing running 5K, you have to opt for strength training for two days per week. You can complete three sets of exercises mentioned below. Always remember that you have to practice each exercise for a duration of 45 seconds to 1 minute. What’s more, you have to transition between the movements of the exercises without any rest. This is a great way to bolster your endurance so that you can run faster and harder. You can take 1 to 2 minutes for recovering between each set. This whole workout is designed to take 20 minutes. Here is the list of exercises you should be practicing under this fitness technique.

Bird-dog exercise

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  • Kneel with your knees and hands firmly on the ground.
  • Simultaneously raise your opposite arm and leg.
  • Your arm should extend parallel to the ground while your leg creates a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep your weight centered and core tight while balancing on your other hand and knee.
  • Switch sides and repeat on each side.

Side planks

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  • Lie on your side with legs extended.
  • While engaging your abdominal muscles, raise your body up on your forearm and bottom foot.
  • Keep your core tight and elevate your hips.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Normal planks

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  • Begin with a plank position on your forearms or in push-up position.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and keep your torso straight.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds at a time.
  • Keep your hips level and core tight.
  • Repeat on the other side.


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  • Lie on your back, with knees bent, feet flat, and arms straight up.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and keep your core tight.
  • Slowly extend your left arm and right leg.
  • Return to the starting position, and then repeat on the other side.

Glute bridge lift

Image Credit: fizkes/ iStock
  • Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Keep your arms at your side with your palms down.
  • Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line.
  • Keep your abdominal muscles engaged.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.

Leg raises

Image Credit: Pikrepo
  • Lie on your back keeping your legs straight and feet together.
  • Point your toes out and slowly raise your legs up.
  • Keep your abdominal muscles engaged.
  • Slowly lower your legs towards the floor without touching the floor or bringing your head off the ground.
  • Hold for 2 seconds and then return to start position. Repeat for at least 20 times.

Opt for Strides

After you have mastered practicing these exercises, you would be able to perform the strides. Strides are known as short bursts of speed from jogging to sprinting to jogging again. Note that this has to be completed in the course of 20 to 30 seconds. It is recommended that while you are pursuing strides, walk or rest for 50 to 90 seconds between each stride. You can execute them after your mid-week base run. Always be mindful of the fact that strides are an integral part of running 5K practice. These short bursts of speed teach you to balance properly and avoid instances of nasty falls. So, in other words, including strides in your training schedule would build your endurance and allow you to maintain proper balance while accelerating between runs.

Rest and Recovery Days

In this schedule, you would notice that there are two dedicated rest days. Always remember that you shouldn’t underestimate the value of rest during 5K running. Rest and recovery days are critical for your recovery and body. Moreover, if you are a beginner, you would be in dire need of these recovery days as this would help your body relax.
Also, you would get mentally burned out if you run every day with no breaks. On the other hand, the day after the longest run of the week is known as the recovery day. You should make sure that you run this one carefully and not with great efforts. This run should be pursued at a comfortable and easy pace. A run/walk combination as mentioned above works best when you are resuming running.

Other Tips on running 5K

  • You should always plan for a fitness regime to train for 5K which should be flexible with your lifestyle. You should feel mentally free to rearrange running and strength. In this manner, you would get the optimum benefits of selecting a training plan.
  • Quite interestingly, you should practice running with a friend. If they run slower than you, you should emphasize perfecting your stride by landing on your heels slightly. On the other hand, if they are faster, push beyond your comfort zone only once or twice a week. Don’t overwork as this can affect your rhythm. Running with a friend infuses a great competitive spirit and you can share your weak points and strong points with them. The companionship and conversation would keep you coming day after day.
  • Another important aspect of running 5K practice is maintaining a proper diet. Normally, you should take a protein-rich diet with lots of fiber to build endurance. In all circumstances, avoid running on a full stomach as this can affect your performance.

Summing Up

So, as you can see, you have to follow a perfect training schedule to get in shape for 5K running. If you are confused, asking for professional coaching would always help. However, you can benefit a lot by following the steps mentioned above. Follow these steps sincerely and get ready to take the challenge of running 5K in a period of eight to nine weeks.



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    Informative, practical and motivating article…Thanks.

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