How to Train For Your First 5K Race

Thursday, May 25 2017 2:42 PM

Runners running a 5k race outsideCongratulations for signing up for your first 5K race. It’s common to be nervous; you may be wondering if you’ll be able to finish or if you’ve prepared properly for the big day. Race morning will come fast, so here are some tips on how to train for your first 5K as painlessly as possible.

5K Training Schedule

Training for a 5K race should never start too fast, too soon. There needs to be a mixture of running, walking and resting to allow your body to ease into the big race. The combination of the three will help to reduce injury and fatigue, and to keep you excited about your goal.

During this seven week training schedule, you'll spend a portion of your time walking. As you progress and get stronger, you can begin to increase the amount of time you spend running, and gradually reduce the amount of time spent walking.

You need to give your body’s muscles time to recover one day a week, which is Friday on this particular schedule. On Sunday, you can either take a second day of rest, or you can enjoy a walk at your choice of distance.

Week One 5K Prep

  • Monday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Tuesday: Walk for 30 minutes.

  • Wednesday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Thursday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Friday: Take a rest day.

  • Saturday: Walk or run for three miles.

  • Sunday: Take a rest day or walk for 30 minutes.

If you’re running your first 5K, run for 15 seconds then walk for 45 seconds. Alternatively, if you’re walking your first 5K, always walk instead of run.

Week Two 5K Prep

  • Monday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Tuesday: Walk for 30 minutes.

  • Wednesday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Thursday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Friday: Take a rest day.

  • Saturday: Walk or run for three and a half miles.

  • Sunday: Take a rest day or walk for 30 minutes.

Just like the first week, if you’re running the 5K, run for 15 seconds then walk for 45 seconds.

Week Three 5K Prep

  • Monday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Tuesday: Walk for 30 minutes.

  • Wednesday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Thursday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Friday: Take a rest day.

  • Saturday: Walk or run for two miles, and add a Magic Mile. The Magic Mile is a tool to help you determine realistic race goals and minimizes the guesswork. On the first Magic Mile, warm up as usual and then run or walk one mile slightly faster than your normal pace—make sure to use a timer to keep track of your time. Run or walk easily the rest of the distance assigned. On each successive Magic Mile, warm up as usual, and then try to beat your previous time. Your 5K race pace should be about one to two minutes slower than your fastest Magic Mile time.

  • Sunday: Take a rest day or walk for 30 minutes.

If you’re running the 5K, run for 20 seconds then walk for 40 seconds. Walkers always walk.

Week Four 5K Prep

  • Monday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Tuesday: Walk for 30 minutes.

  • Wednesday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Thursday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Friday: Take a rest day.

  • Saturday: Walk or run for four miles.

  • Sunday: Take a rest day or walk for 30 minutes.

If you’re running the 5K, continue to run for 20 seconds then walk for 40 seconds. Don’t run if you’re walking the 5K.

Week Five 5K Prep

  • Monday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Tuesday: Walk for 30 minutes.

  • Wednesday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Thursday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Friday: Take a rest day.

  • Saturday: Walk or run for two miles plus a Magic Mile.

  • Sunday: Take a rest day or walk for 30 minutes.

Runners run for 25 seconds, then walk for 35 seconds. Walkers always walk.

Week Six 5K Prep

  • Monday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Tuesday: Walk for 30 minutes.

  • Wednesday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Thursday: Walk for 30 minutes.

  • Friday: Take a rest day.

  • Saturday: Walk or run for four and a half miles.

  • Sunday: Take a rest day or walk for 30 minutes.

Runners run for 25 seconds then walk for 35 seconds. Walkers should continue to walk only.

Week Seven 5K Prep

  • Monday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Tuesday: Walk for 30 minutes.

  • Wednesday: Walk or run for 30 minutes.

  • Thursday: Walk for 30 minutes.

  • Friday: Take a rest day.

  • Saturday: Race day!

  • Sunday: Take a rest day or walk for 30 minutes.

Walkers should still only be walking, while runners should run for 30 seconds and walk for 30 seconds. 

If you take your time to prep for your first 5K, you can minimize the risk of injury and be well prepared to take on the big race. What was your first 5K like? Let us know in the comments!

©2017 Genesis Health Clubs