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Start Running! A 5k Training Schedule for Beginners

Start Running! A 5k Training Schedule for Beginners

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Published by Hyperink
ABOUT THE BOOK

You can run a 5K. All you need is 30 minutes three to four times a week.

Really.

You’ve taken the first step, by reading this book.

Perhaps you’ve already signed up for a 5K, and don’t have the faintest idea what that entails. Perhaps you’re setting a personal or professional goal, or you need to get fit for health reasons. Or perhaps, like many, you’re sick of being out of breath, tired, and generally feeling uninspired.

Much of running is mental, and as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will succeed in running a 5K.
ABOUT THE BOOK

You can run a 5K. All you need is 30 minutes three to four times a week.

Really.

You’ve taken the first step, by reading this book.

Perhaps you’ve already signed up for a 5K, and don’t have the faintest idea what that entails. Perhaps you’re setting a personal or professional goal, or you need to get fit for health reasons. Or perhaps, like many, you’re sick of being out of breath, tired, and generally feeling uninspired.

Much of running is mental, and as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will succeed in running a 5K.

More info:

Published by: Hyperink on Nov 14, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved
List Price: $6.95

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10/31/2014

I.

The Secret to Running
The BLUF
Who I Am
What in the World?
II.
Gearing Up & Taking Care
Running Shoes, et al
Nutrition and Physiology
III.
How to Go for a Run
Training Schedule
Novice’s Schedule
Beginner’s Schedule
IV.
The Runner's Motivation
Table of Contents
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5 Reasons to Run
Why Does Running Hurt?
How to Prepare for 5K Race Day (Checklist)
What’s Next?
V.
Final Thoughts
You Owe It to Yourself
Further Resources
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I.
The Secret to Running
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Since I don’t like people wasting my time, I won’t waste your time. Here’s the B.L.U.F., or
the Bottom Line Up Front:
You can run a 5K. All you need is 30 minutes three to four times a week.
Really.
You’ve taken the first step, by reading this book.
Perhaps you’ve already signed up for a 5K, and don’t have the faintest idea what that
entails. Perhaps you’re setting a personal or professional goal, or you need to get fit for
health reasons. Or perhaps, like many, you’re sick of being out of breath, tired, and
generally feeling uninspired.
Much of running is mental, and as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other,
you will succeed in running a 5K.
Running a 5K is the best bang for your buck, so to speak. Unlike running a marathon, all
you need is about half an hour, requiring only the tiny sacrifice of skipping that TV rerun
you’ve already seen. And the returns on your running investment are enormous. Benefits
of running are clear: better health, improved mood, and more energy. It also makes you
think about—and ultimately improve—your choices, from what food you eat to where you
spend your time.
Unless you are very ill or have medical limitations, the 5K is doable:
If you can climb a flight of stairs or walk through a shopping mall, you can run a 5K.
If you can dance at a wedding or chase your kid across the playground, you can run a
5K.
If you can see your toes, you can probably run a 5K.
Bottom line, as long as you can walk without grimace-inducing pain, you can run a 5K.
Here’s the most important secret to running:
The BLUF
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Just do it.
That’s right, the classic Nike advertising line is the best advice I can give you. There is no
one silver bullet to running a 5K, but if there was, that would be it. Whether you were a
varsity athlete in high school, or have decided to get back in shape after decades of
inactivity, the path to running nirvana is straightforward. You set a goal and make a plan,
then follow that plan. It takes sacrifice and dedication. Ultimately, though, it is just about
starting. Your goal is to run a 5K, this book contains a plan, all you need to do is start
following it.
So I will tell you this again, for the final time: YOU CAN DO IT.
All you have to do is decide that you will go for a run. Right then and there. Take a drink
of water, lace up your running shoes, and start moving those feet. Repeat three to four
times a week. There is no other secret. Running a 5K is a decision that you make, and
your feet will do the rest. Everything else is just details.
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Tony C. Yang, in Iraq
My name is Tony C. Yang and I have a love-hate relationship with the 5K. It’s that first
love that you’re still friends with on Facebook, after all these years. It’s complicated, as
they say.
I have run dozens of races across the country, including a dozen marathons, and have
served in the U.S. Army for more than 10 years. I am the physical training (PT) sergeant
for my military unit: I have received the Army Physical Fitness Badge, and I run 3.1 miles
every other day.
I am fortunate to live in downtown Oakland, near beautiful Lake Merritt, the perimeter of
which is ringed by a running path measuring exactly 3.1 miles. That’s right, 5K. It is a
distance with which I am intimately familiar.
During my time in the Army, I have mentored numerous soldiers who have failed their PT
tests, taken them under my wing, and helped them pass. In almost every case, running
was their weakest link.
I did this through a combination of teaching, persistence, and feedback. A person has to
Who I Am
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know what is going on with their body in order to operate at maximum efficiency. Staying
consistent with a running plan is the key to improvement (extreme example: I called one
Soldier, who was not logging his training miles, on a daily basis to keep him on track).
Finally, firm instruction is essential to giving the runner a sense of direction and leads to
progress.
My incredibly rewarding experience helping Soldiers boost their performance gave me
the motivation to write this book. My hope is to help others, perhaps someone like you,
who doesn’t have the benefit of a PT sergeant or a beautiful 3.1 mile lake to run around.
Not only that, our national defense may be on the line as well. Although you may never
want to fire a weapon or wear a uniform, there are people who do, and trust me when I
say they ought to be in great physical shape. My deployments to Iraq, Korea, and the
Philippines have taught me that healthy soldiers are more resilient and able to endure
and excel in the rigors of combat. Sadly, there is a current shortage of soldiers exhibiting
excellent physical fitness. Recently, senior leaders in the Pentagon and retired officers
have sounded an alarm: America’s youth are too obese to join the military. A recent
CNN op-ed, detailing recruiting woes due to obesity, cites some alarming statistics:
“Obesity and [being] overweight are risk factors for ailments from cancer to
depression. Obesity and overweight people devour 10% of our national health
spending. Obese and overweight people earn less and are less likely to be hired and
promoted.”
More than half of all American youth are ineligible for military service because they are
overweight. Clearly, something must be done. We must eat healthier, and follow food
journalist Michael Pollan’s dictum “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” And we must
exercise and keep our bodies in constant motion, to avoid the lethargy and perils of
sedentary living. To me, the 5K is the best answer for the question, “How do we fix this
clear and present danger?”
I think every person has the opportunity to get in shape and be fit, as long as they make it
a priority. I firmly believe that the 5K is the finest place to begin a habit of fitness, and a
legacy of positive change. Are you with me?
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So what is 5K, exactly?
It’s not a sprint, but it’s not a marathon, either. It’s a mystery for most Americans, that’s
for sure.
That’s because a 5K stands for 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles. It is approximately 16,404 feet.
It is the middle distance between the 2-miler and the 10-miler, the 3,200 meter sprint
races and the longer, more grueling 10K (10,000 meter) races. The men’s 5K world
record stands at a blazingly fast 12 minutes 37 seconds (average speed 14.76 miles per
hour) and the women’s record is a brisk 14 minutes 11 seconds (average speed 13.14
miles per hour).
Don’t kid yourself, you will probably never reach those speeds. However, it is amazing to
see what the human body is capable of. I am a firm believer in what we as humans are
physically able to do, day in and day out.
Based on my personal observations, the average 5K run time is between 25 to 35
minutes. Walkers can take up to 40 to 50 minutes, or even an hour. But the goal is to
finish, not to become a speed demon. I want you to realize that if you are running your
first 5K, it is not necessary to have a time goal – your first priority is to finish without
injury. Then, you can start planning your strategy to run a 5K under 30 minutes. As Lao
Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a
single step.”
So why do I think you can run a 5K?
Fundamentally, humans are designed to run. We are blessed with a bipedal (two-legged
locomotion) biology, we walk upright, and have all the right muscles in all the right places
to go fast and go far. Christopher McDougall, in his book “Born to Run,” discusses the
reason mankind needed to run far and fast was to hunt down food by wearing it down
over time and distance. He asks the question, how is it possible that humans are so
successful in the animal kingdom?
What in the World?
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McDougall answers by writing:
“According to a new body of research, it’s because humans are the greatest distance
runners on earth. We may not be fast, but we’re born with such remarkable natural
endurance that humans are fully capable of outrunning horses, cheetahs and
antelopes. That’s because we once hunted in packs and on foot; all of us, men and
women alike, young and old together.”
I’m not asking you to run across mountaintops or hunt wild boar. I’m asking you to
consider the fact that you are innately capable of great feats of running, and that 5K is a
relatively small fraction of your entire running capacity. Let me put it this way: I know you
can run 5K, because it would be weird if you couldn’t.
For the purposes of this book, and in practice, 5K can mean approximately 3 miles. For
comparison, that’s almost 55 American-sized football fields, at 5,468 yards. If you fancy
rugby, that’s exactly 50 pitches.
So what is a 5K again?
Something we were born to do.
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II.
Gearing Up & Taking
Care
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By Yoppy (Flickr)
If you’re not sure where to start, it begins and ends in one place: the shoe.
All the rest, from socks to water bottles, are just details. There are many other resources
for those items, but I am here to get you started running a 5K, so I will start with the
shoe.
When you have an hour or two of free time, go to the running shoe store (if there is one
in your area) and talk to the experts. See if they have a running club or a board where
running announcements and seminars are posted. Don’t be afraid to chat up fellow
runners – you never know when someone will give you some great advice. If you are shy
or want to show up with some idea of what you need, try out this shoe advisor first.
Your most important order of business is getting a quality, good-fitting pair of running
shoes. Note it must be quality, it must fit well, and it must be running-specific (cross
trainers are okay). A variety of shoe brands exist to fit nearly everyone, male or female,
young or old. A good rule of thumb is spend no less than $60 and no more than $120. I
Running Shoes, et al
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am giving you numbers because I don’t want you to risk endangering your feet with $20
budget walking slippers.
I realize this is a significant chunk of cash, but to prevent injury and ensure a pleasant
running experience, this is critical to your success in running a 5K. So again: don’t scrimp
on the shoes.
Two specific brands that I recommend to people with trouble finding shoes in their size
are New Balance (they have the most widths) and Asics (they tend to have more options
to choose from). Adidas and Nike, as well as Reebok and Saucony, have great running
shoes, but will not be cheap. Brooks are a decent balance of quality and value, although
you will want to insist on the lightest, most recent models available. Beware the bargain
bin of discarded models and unpopular shoe styles. They may be cheap, but there’s a
reason why nobody bought them.
A word on socks: Make sure you buy one pair of nice new running socks. In
addition to feeling great, the more technical ones actually help you improve
circulation and reduce blisters. You can compare them to your existing sock
collection and see if they are something you want to invest in, or just make do with
what you have.
Shoes come in a variety of shapes and fits. The way your foot lands determines how
much (if any) pronation, or tilt, you have, and that determines your shoe model.
If you have high arches, meaning the bottoms of your feet don’t fall as much when you
put your foot down, you are probably underpronating to a certain degree. If you have flat
arches (aka flatfooted), it’s possible you have mild to severe overpronation, and you
should have a podiatrist give you the correct diagnosis. Don’t forget that running-specific
places such as the Nike Store or Foot Locker will be able to help you out. Another quick
and easy way is to see for yourself, using the “wet-foot” test, by getting your feet wet and
standing on blotter paper to see how your foot looks when it lands: Runner’s World has a
good guide.
I recommend not going shoe shopping in the morning, since throughout the day your feet
will expand as much as half a size. I used to work at Big 5 Sporting Goods in high school,
and customers would come in all the time, with complaints about their “painful” running
shoes. When I asked to see them, they would never have it available. In order to better
understand your running patterns and foot strike, you should take your existing running
shoes with you. They would also complain about blisters, when their socks were
threadbare and full of holes (which can cause blisters).
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Running Shoe Guide Under-
pronation
Neutral
(normal)
Mild
Overpronation
Severe
Overpronation
Cushioned X X
Stability X X
Motion control X X
Chart is based on advice from Running Advisor.
As for trying the shoes on, make sure they fit snugly, but that there is adequate space in
the toe box area for all your digits to move around. Another good way to fit your shoes to
you is to customize the lacing of the shoe laces; REI has a good set of examples.
Personally, since I run so often, I sign up for a shoe club magazine. I recommend
Roadrunner Sports as a retailer because of their wide selection and discounts for
members. But if you’re not into 10 mile runs or marathons, this may not be necessary.
Your local Target or Sears or local shoe shop will suffice. Do not buy Walmart “sneakers”
unless they are a recognizable brand, they are generally made of inferior quality
materials and will not survive beyond a few weeks of 5K training.
Bottom line, if you are not a foot or shoe expert, go to a shoe store such as Fleet Feet,
the Runner’s Edge, Foot Locker, or whatever you have in your area to get the
professional advice. You wouldn’t want someone at Macy’s fixing your car or giving you a
root canal, right? Go to a specialty shoe store, you’ll be better off in the long run.
There are a variety of fitness aids and running gadgets these days. Some of them, like
the FitBit and Nike+ Fuelband are established and can help the advanced runner improve
their speed and performance, says Wired. There are also a plethora of online training
forums and application Websites such as Map My Run, Run my Route, or Running Map.
They can even tell you how many calories you’ve burned and remind you of your next
workout.
No matter how fancy you get, your training ultimately rests on your feet, your shoes, and
your desire to make a difference in your life and step out of your comfort zone. However,
gadgets and Websites are no replacement for good shoes, good diet, and good miles of
training under your belt. They can’t force you out the door to the gym or the track.
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Since I’m not a dietician or physician, I can only tell you what works for me.
I stay away from greasy foods and rarely drink soda (I have a soft spot for Dr. Pepper,
however). If I can get an alternative to fried foods, I will, although I might snag a few
french fries from my friends. While I am not fond of wheat bread, I always order it
instead of white. I always carry a water bottle around with me, and I am constantly eating
small snacks such as fruits or nuts to keep me from getting too hungry.
If you can’t resist sweets, then eat less of them; if you are offered a cookie, eat half. You
must battle your desire to eat junk food with your desire to run a 5K.
Running physiology is well-researched, and several books have been published about it. I
won’t get too detailed, but you will need to increase your healthy food intake and cut
back on unhealthy foods, particularly processed food and meats. Instead of that salami
sandwich, how about turkey? Or ordering soup and salad instead of a side of fries at the
restaurant, and water instead of soda? Focusing on your 5K, the most important thing you
can do is to eat healthier and drink more water.
Howstuffworks.com gives a great primer on why running is the perfect exercise:
“Running is an aerobic exercise – it relies on your body’s ability to use oxygen
efficiently. When you’re running, your muscles are working overtime. They need
oxygen to support them. You supply this to them by simply breathing; your body does
the hard work by sending the oxygen to your heart and lungs, where it’s transported
by the circulatory system to your muscles. But it takes time to gain aerobic fitness –
and if you don’t start training slowly or at your level, you’ll be sucking wind.”
Now you’re set with gear and are getting your habits into the right mindset. Here’s an
inspiring story of my friend Meiling, who finished her first 5K recently – I’m so proud of
her accomplishment!
Runner Profile:
Meiling Aron, 29 MBA Student Atlanta, GA
Nutrition and Physiology
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Up until Cinco de Mayo of 2012, Meiling had never run a race, and never considered
herself a “runner.” She hated running because she hated feeling out of breath. But a
personal decision to get in shape and lose weight spurred her to implement a running
plan. Never an athlete, she said she was jealous of her runner friends, who would talk
about “runner’s high.” Her first attempt to train for a 5K in 2011 failed in three weeks.
“It was hard, and my knees really hurt,” Meiling said. “But then this year a friend of mine
told me about the couch potato to 5K running program… I wanted to meet the
challenge.”
As a graduate student assistant in the day and an MBA student at night, Meiling was
always busy. But she made time early in the morning to run three times a week, for 30
minutes at a time. “I wanted to train every day, but my right ankle would hurt after a
run,” she said. “So I would skip a day or two to rest it.”
Meiling also asked her runner friends and looked at online resources about how to focus
on her breathing and used “mental tricks” to keep a good rhythm. She used light poles
and stop signs as “mini-goals” to motivate herself to keep going. She made sure she
stretched and had a banana or yogurt immediately after a workout. But one of her
biggest motivators was drinking a glass of chocolate milk following a run.
In early 2012, Meiling signed up for the Big Peach 5K Run/Walk for the Leukemia &
Lymphoma Society and continued training. After finishing the hilly course in 42:21, she
received a “cool” technical tee shirt.
No longer a running novice, she is already eager to run her next 5K. Meiling’s advice to
fellow beginners is to make running friends who can give you good advice, and use a
system, such as Couch to 5K, that makes scheduling your training easy.
3 Major Mistakes Rookie Runners Make
Not Enough Water
Water is vital to proper function. Water runs through over 60 percent of your body,
lubricates your joints, and helps you recover faster. Your blood is about 83% water. It
is so incredibly important that you must drink water even when you don’t feel thirsty.
Remember that you need enough water to replace (and exceed) what you lose
through sweating, micturating, and respiration. The Mayo Clinic agrees: the rule of
eight glasses of water a day remains in place. Drink water! Then drink some more!
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Not Enough Rest Between Runs
Your muscles need a break between vigorous exercise. If you notice, my two
schedules tend to have much more rest periods than many other training plans. This
is not an accident. I have seen too many runners (military and civilian alike) push
themselves too hard too fast, and get injured. This is terrible for morale and prevents
the “momentum” of a good week of training from transferring to the next week. The
human body is remarkably resilient and can repair nearly any damage, as long as it is
given adequate rest, resources, and recovery time. I am also keenly aware of your
busy life, with schedules that leave almost no room for meals, it is a feat just
squeezing in 30 minutes to do a training run.
Not Following Through
Scientists who looked at hundreds of men for over 10 years found that
cardiorespiratory fitness needed to be consistent in order to gain the desired benefits.
Their study said: “Maintaining or improving fitness is associated with a lower risk of
all-cause and CVD (cardiovascular disease) mortality in men. Preventing age-
associated fitness loss is important for longevity regardless of BMI (Body Mass Index)
change.” Whether you are an old man or young woman, we all need to exercise our
heart muscle, and the best way is through a running program. The 5K does all of this,
and more.
A Novelist’s Take
Why running? To me, award-winning writer Haruki Murakami put it best (from his book
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running):
“Running has a lot of advantages. First of all, you don’t need anybody else to do it,
and no need for special equipment. You don’t have to go to any special place to do it.
As long as you have running shoes and a good road you can run to your heart’s
content. Tennis isn’t like that. You have to travel to a tennis court, and you need
somebody to play with. Swimming you can do alone, but you still have to go to a
pool.”
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III.
How to Go for a Run
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With the help of this chapter, you will be able to start training for your 5K immediately.
Two quick reminders before you do: check with your doctor if this is right for you, and
purchase a new pair of running shoes from the most highly regarded shoe store you can.
Consider it an investment in the health and comfort of your feet. After this section, I have
prepared two personalized running plans for the novice (no exercise in a long time) and
the beginner (some exercise once in a while). For more advanced runners, just add
mileage and times in 25% increments or by a quarter (0.25) of a mile each run.
Outdoor vs. Indoor
If you are not sure if you prefer running outdoors or indoors on a track (or treadmill),
this could be a good time to decide. Do you want the varied, but weather-dependent
environment of outdoor running, or the reliability but monotony of indoor running?
Remember that you don’t have to spend money to sign up for a fancy gym. There’s
always the outdoor track at a nearby high school or college.
Treadmills are great for people with allergy sensitivity or those who live in areas with
inclement weather. They are reliable, easy to use, and absorb some of the pounding the
asphalt does not. However, they can give a runner a sense of false accomplishment, as
the mileage and times can vary wildly. Typically, a run of 2.5 or up to 3 miles on a
treadmill can equal only 2 miles on an outdoor course, due to variations in pacing,
terrain, and other factors. Keep that in mind.
Outdoor running is my favorite because of the scenery, the non-recycled air, and the
chance to interact with other runners (even if it’s just a friendly wave). Setting up a safe,
reliable route is important, and you may want to look at a map for reference.
Starting a new activity is always a bit exciting, and scary. To reduce your anxiety, and to
ensure your first weeks of training are as productive, safe, and injury-free as possible, I
have put together a series of small, easily digestible tips, along with two running
schedules.
Training Schedule
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The first schedule is designed for novices, people who have never run before or haven’t
run in a long time, and need to take things one step at a time. I have focused advice
underneath each week’s chart. While the schedule is not set in stone, please try to stick
to the assigned runs. It is understandable that you may want to change your routine due
to work or personal conflicts – life happens. If you do decide to bend the schedule to
better fit your needs, be sure to give yourself reasonable (at least 24 hours) rest and
recovery time. Also, if you get sick, give yourself time to get well, and start that week
over again.
The second is for beginners, but more specifically people who are in decent shape, but
need a regimen to get ready for a 5K race two months down the line. Re-run a week or
skip ahead, if you feel like you need more time to get in shape or are ready to go the
distance.
On Walking
There is no shame in walking. In fact, it is better than the alternative: stopping. Don’t stop
if you can help it, and if you’re stuck at a red light or going too fast of a pace on a
treadmill, jog in place or slow down the pace keep your heart rate up. The key is to keep
moving.
Put your hands on top of your head if you are out of breath. When you raise your arms
like that, your lungs get more space to expand in your chest cavity, maximizing oxygen
intake. If you feel like you’re getting stitches in your side, breathe deeply with your
diaphragm and use your hand to put pressure on the affected area. Also, if the
temperature or humidity is high or both, be sure to take that into consideration when
you’re running. It’s better to be safe than sorry: drink cold water, go slow, and perhaps
postpone your run, says Active.com. I say, find an indoor track and get to it!
Do not be discouraged if you end up walking a lot – it is a great aerobic activity, and it will
build up your muscles bit by bit, until you can really train for and run that 5K. The Couch
to 5K program is a great alternative, if you don’t want to use the training schedule I’ve
set up.
Don’t underestimate the positive impact of walking, even if you are supposed to be
running. Studies have shown that people who walked 30 minutes a day had a significantly
lower risk of premature death than those who rarely exercised. Diabetes, cancer, high
blood pressure, weight gain, and more are all mitigated to a certain extent by the simple
act of walking or running regularly.
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Again, be sure not to stop. Unless there is some sort of injury or safety hazard, you need
to keep moving, like a shark. By ensuring that blood keeps flowing, you are continuing to
exercise, and you will get that much more out of your workout. Walk on.
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There are many 5K running schedules, but this is my version with your execution. You
must master it as you master your own vision of running a 5K. You must complete each
day’s workout. You will document your progress. Your feet and your legs know that what
counts is not mileage or minutes, the brand of shoes worn, or the sweat you shed. You
know that it is running, running, running that counts. Therefore, you will run. Got it? You
will walk for the first two weeks, to acclimate your body, your mind, and your spirit to the
new challenge of running. Do not quit, do not slack, do not stop. I cannot stress this
enough. If you follow this plan, within 10 weeks, you will be able to run a 5K.
Note: Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you have a medical condition
(such as diabetes or hypertension) or have not run for more than 5 years. This
check up is a good idea no matter what your health condition. It is important that
your medical history and medications are examined for any possible side effects
from vigorous exercise. I am not a doctor, but if I were, I would be incredibly happy
you are starting a personalized 5K running plan. Many doctors are runners, so it’s
possible they could give you some more tips.
No matter what, you need to be prepared before you go running. Have the proper gear
and check the weather before you go out. Sunscreen? Absolutely. Hat? Usually. Gloves?
Only when it gets chilly. My recommendation: pour a glass of water and drink it down.
Then pour another glass, for later. Thats what I do, and it helps me better visualize that
cool drink waiting for me when I return from a run. Don’t forget: Go at the pace you are
comfortable with starting out, you can go nuts with speed later. When you don’t feel like
running, jog, walk instead, or do something else – but try not to stop. Momentum is the
name of the game here. Remember, you are here to run a 5K, not sprint it or complete a
marathon. Still, you should record your runs as you progress, so you will feel so much
more accomplished as you move forward. Whether you use paper or electronic records is
not as important as keeping this information readily accurate and available.
Glossary:
WK = Walk
PU = Push up RN = Runv
SU = Sit up (or crunches)
Novice’s Schedule
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CX = Cross training
MINS = Minutes MAX = Maximum number of repetitions in 1 minute or until muscle
failure
If you are crunched for time before your scheduled 5K, you can skip to a later week. But
you will need to be flexible, due to pain or scheduling, and be willing to return to an
earlier week as well. The 5K will always be there, but your joints and muscles need the
recovery time in between. CX, or cross training, should not be strenuous at all. As long as
it is a fun activity that causes you to sweat, that’s good enough. Let your imagination be
your guide. More examples of training plans from other folks are available here (Mayo
Clinic) and here (Hal Higdon). The best one I’ve seen overall remains here (Couch to 5K).
For more advanced runners, Jeff Galloway’s training plan here is also a great resource.
Week 0
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
1/2 MAX
PU
WK 10-15
MINS
1/2 MAX
SU
WK 10-15
MINS
1/2 MAX
PU
WK 10-15
MINS
1/2 MAX
SU
Focus: Your doctor has not yet cleared you for exercise or you are incapable of walking
longer than 10 minutes. Starting today, whichever day it is, cut out one unhealthy item
from your diet. Just one. It could be one less soda, one less helping at dinner, or one less
pack of cigarettes. Instead, replace it with water. Lots of water. Eight glasses of water a
day if you can, it will take some getting used to. You will not get sick from all the water, as
long as you eat meals regularly. Dehydration (under hydration) is a much more likely
threat than hyponatremia (over hydration and lack of sodium) for novice runners. For
Example, Monday’s training consists of the maximum number of push ups you are
capable of in half (1/2) a minute, or 30 seconds. Easy. Tuesday’s training means you walk
for 10 to 15 minutes straight, without stopping (I suggest walking out the door for 5
minutes and then walking back – the old “Out and Back” routine, then 5-minute cool-
down period afterwards where you putter around the house before stretching and
showering). Unhealthy item austerity is now in effect, and massive water consumption
begins immediately. Unless you have a medical condition, your urine MUST turn clear!
This pre-training week I want you to not change anything else. Other than cut out one
harmful thing for the rest of the training, drink water until your urine turns clear, and
make or print out a chart based on the charts/boxes below.
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Find a thick felt pen. Fill in your calendar with the week’s workout. Find another thick felt
pen. Every day, use it to cross out the completed workouts on the chart or calendar. Stick
the training plan somewhere you can’t miss it, such as the refrigerator door, outside your
closet door, or behind your front door. It’s a terrific, tangible sign of your running
progress. You don’t have to use a thick felt pen, but trust me, it feels great to cross off
your workouts. Tell some of your friends and family about your new 5K running regimen.
Post it on Facebook and tweet it on Twitter. Ask them to help keep you accountable and
on schedule. This may be more effective than you realize. Go to a brick and mortar
bookstore or your favorite online bookstore and browse the running magazines or
running books. Online forums such as Cool Runnings and Runner’s World can provide
valuable suggestions and new running pals. If you are itching to do something, walk
around the block in your new running shoes to get used to them and break them in.
Experiment with running gear, especially socks and t-shirt/shorts/pants combinations. You
will need to invest in sunglasses (unless you live in Seattle). For people with long hair, tie it
back, or wear a cap. If you are female, ensure you have a quality sports bra. Figure out
what is comfortable for you. One of the best things you can do this week is to obtain two
or three dedicated sets of running clothes for your training, as well as settling on your
regular running route. USA Track & Field’s Website has a nifty map feature which allows
you to trace out possible routes, gives you the mileage, and even lets you print it out:
http://www.usatf.org/routes/map/ Other good options include Running Map, Log That Run,
Map My Run, Runkeeper, and Favorite Run. I like Running Map the best because it’s free
and easy to use.
Week 1
MON TUES WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
TRAIN: 15 MINS
WK
15 MINS
WK
15-20 MINS
WK
15-20 MINS
WK
EXTRA: 1/2 MAX
PU
1/2 MAX
SU
1/2 MAX
PU
1/2 MAX
SU
1/2 MAX PU 1/2 MAX PU
SU
Focus: Your doctor or medical professional has finally (whew!) cleared you for exercise.
Starting Monday, you will drink eight (8) glasses of water a day if you can. You should
have a routine down by now, sort of a pre-run mental checklist, and a favorite spot at the
gym or trail around the neighborhood, to go running in. Any sharp foot pain or sharp pain
in the chest should be treated by a doctor right away; otherwise, use the RICE (Rest, Ice,
Compression, and Elevation) muscle treatment method to handle minor aches. Discover
your favorite pre-run and post-run healthy snacks, and buy them in bulk. I like bananas
and gatorade. Keep your shoes and running clothes near your bed or office so you can
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put in a workout anytime. No excuses – you’re just starting, keep going. For example,
Monday’s training consists of a 15 minute walk (I suggest a 7.5 minute brisk walk
somewhere near the neighborhood, then a 5 minute cool-down period afterwards) and
the maximum number of push ups you are capable of in half (1/2) a minute, or 30
seconds. If the workout states 15-20 minutes of walking, it is up to you what you end up
doing that day. I recommend doing the maximum number of minutes you are
comfortable with. Unhealthy item austerity is still in effect, and massive water
consumption should continue unabated. Note that on Sunday you are doing 30 seconds of
push-ups and 30 seconds of sit-ups (or crunches).
Week 2
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
TRAIN: 15-20 MINS
WALK
15-20
MINS WK
15-20 MINS
WALK
15-20
MINS
WK
EXTRA: 1/2 MAX
PU SU
1/2 MAX
PU SU
1/2 MAX
PU SU
Focus: You are now sore. Perhaps very sore. Wondering why you started this crazy
running stuff to begin with. You need to take a deep breath and realize that your body is
not used to this type of regular physical activity, and it is natural to have some growing
pains. Stay with it and practice RICE techniques. You should contact your doctor if you
have particularly sharp or lingering pain. Otherwise, invest in some Ben Gay and
Ibuprofen. Chewing gum helps too. For example, Monday’s training consists of a 15-20
minute fast-paced walk and the maximum number of push ups you are capable of in half
a minute or thirty (30) seconds. Unhealthy item austerity is still in full effect, and massive
water consumption continues as usual.
Week 3
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
TRAIN: 15-20 MINS
WK
20-25 MINS
WK
20-25 MINS
WK
EXTRA: 1/2 MAX SU
PU
MAX
SU
MAX PU MAX PU SU
Focus: Last Sunday’s tough combined workout leaves you two days of respite. Starting
Monday, you will now actively try to drink eight (8) glasses of water a day. Consider it a
dare. For Example, Wednesday’s training consists of a 15-20 minute walk (I suggest a
speedy 15 minute fast walk somewhere near the neighborhood, then a 5 minute cool-
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24 24
down period afterwards) and the maximum number of push ups you are capable of in
one (1) minute. For the 25-minute walks, if you choose to do them, remember to pace
yourself. Per standard operating procedure, unhealthy item austerity is in effect, and
don’t stop your massive water consumption.
Week 4
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
TRAIN: 20-25 MINS
WK
20-25 MINS
WK
20-25 MINS
WK
EXTRA: MAX PU MAX
SU
MAX PU MAX
SU
MAX PU
SU
Focus: Starting Monday, you will stop drinking soda if you haven’t already. Did you know
carbonated beverages interferes with your body’s ability to absorb oxygen? It is also a
diuretic if it contains caffeine, meaning drinking soda will dehydrate you faster. One way I
ensure I do my 1 minute of mandatory push-ups (PU) or sit-ups (SU) is right before I
shower. I do it in the bathroom, so that I have a mental checkpoint for when I need to get
that done. Basically, no PU or SU, no shower. It forces me to do the extra exercise and
helps strengthen my core muscle groups as well as raise my overall fitness. As is the
custom, get RICE and seek a doctor if you are feeling terrible. For example, Tuesday’s
training consists of a 20-25 minute walk (I suggest a 25-minute walk somewhere near the
neighborhood, perhaps around a track, then a 5-10 minute cool-down period afterwards)
and the maximum number of push ups you are capable of in one (1) minute. Obviously
you need to stay away from soda, grease, and sweets. Drink tons of water.
Week 5
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
TRAIN: 25 MINS
WK
CX 25
MINS
20-25 MINS
WK
20-25 MINS
WK
EXTRA: MAX
PU
MAX SU MAX PU MAX SU MAX
PU
MAX PU SU
Focus: Starting Tuesday, you will start doing no less than 25 minute walks. Then, the next
day, on Wednesday, do 25 minutes of anything other than running (cross training). I like
to swim, but it’s hard to find swimming facilities, so I often just play basketball or use a
stationary bicycle to get my cardio up. Find something you like, whether it’s riding a bike
or tennis. I want you to do something fun. The point is to get you sweating by the end of
Wednesday’s 25 minutes. On Thursday, you’re doing a walk again. This is your first real
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curveball. It is designed to see how well you heal and recover the rest of the week. If all is
well, continue on, you’re doing well and ready to run next week! If not, then you have to
check with your medical professionals to ensure there are no physical problems. You may
also want to go to a specialty shoe store and look at their running shoes again, since by
now you know what you need for your feet. Your push-ups and sit-ups should be going
well – at least double or triple what they were your first week would be my guess. Don’t
underestimate routine workouts! Stick to your goals, this plan, and you will succeed! For
example, Tuesday’s training consists of a 25 minute walk (I suggest a 25-minute fast
walk, then a 5-10 minute cool-down period afterwards) and the maximum number of sit
ups you are capable of in one (1) minute. I’m not messing around: You have got to stop
drinking soda. Water is for drinking, and I hope you do lots of it.
Week 6
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
TRAIN: 5 MINS RN 20
MINS WK
CX 25
MINS
5 MINS RN 20
MINS WK
30 MINS WK(10
MINS RN OK)
EXTRA: MAX
PU
MAX SU MAX
PU
MAX SU MAX
PU
MAX PU SU
Focus: This is your first 30 minute walk week and your first run week. Don’t focus on the
pain, focus on your time, and your breathing, and not getting hit by a car. Keep at it, and
remember that you can spread out the 5 minutes of running throughout the workout if
you wish. Or you can get it over with at the beginning or do it in a spurt at the end –
whatever you choose, you should be winded but not totally out of breath at the end of the
run. Don’t forget to focus on breathing deeply from your diaphragm and using your
mouth to inhale and exhale. On Wednesday, if you wish to run (maximum of 5 minutes)
during this time, you may do so, but take it easy. You don’t want this week to be plagued
with injuries. Tuesday’s training consists of a 5 minute run and 20 minute walk (I suggest
a 15 minute walk, 3 minutes of running, 10 more of walking, and a final 2 minutes of
running somewhere you feel comfortable). Don’t forget the a 5-10 minute cool-down
period afterwards) and the maximum number of sit-ups you are capable of in one (1)
minute. Alternatively, you can walk for 20 minutes and run for the last five (5) minutes.
Whatever works for you, as long as you hit the 5 minute running mark.
Week 7
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
TRAIN: 10 MINS RN 20
MINS WK
CX 25-
30 MINS
10 MINS RN 20
MINS WK
15 MINS
RN15 MINS
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MINS WK 30 MINS MINS WK RN15 MINS
WK
EXTRA: MAX
PU
MAX SU MAX PU MAX SU MAX
PU
MAX PU SU
Focus: This is your second run week. This week is where you make it all count, and the
balance shifts from walking to running. It is a tough week. Really tough. Be mindful of all
the aches and pains and your breathing. This is when you should be really adding details
to your running journal and keeping good track of your times. Crossing off workouts
should feel great now. Do something light and easy for your Wednesday cross training,
you will need the “rest.” At any time, if you don’t feel like you can do the next week’s
training routine, stick with the current one and repeat as often as necessary to establish a
good base of training. Don’t forget that you have friends and family and reach out over
the phone or online, and ask for support or advice. You will probably need to drink more
water than you ever have before this week. Tuesday’s training consists of a 10 minute
run and 20 minute walk (I suggest a 10 minute walk, 6-7 minutes of running, 10 more of
walking, and a final 3-4 minutes of running). Don’t forget the a 5-10 minute cool-down
period afterwards) and the maximum number of sit-ups you are capable of in one (1)
minute. Two weeks away from running a 5K!
Week 8
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
TRAIN: 15 MINS RN 15
MINS WK
15 MINS RN 15
MINS WK
30 MINS
RN(WK OK)
EXTRA: MAX
PU SU
MAX
PU SU
MAX PU SU
Focus: These are your first Tuesday and Thursday runs without push-ups and sit-ups, so
the “extra” schedule is condensed. It is designed to give you more time to heal from your
vigorous running, while still keeping you in the loop exercising. Don’t forget that you are
able to farm out the 15-20 minutes of running throughout each workout, if you want. Do
it all at the beginning or at the end – whatever you choose, like I mentioned earlier, you
should be winded but not totally out of breath at the end of the run. Inhale and exhale
using your mouth and drink plenty of water. If you wish to run (maximum of 25 minutes)
during this time, you may do so, but do so cautiously. Don’t forget: if you can’t do 30
minutes of continuous running, you may want to repeat this week’s (or even last week’s)
training program again before moving on. On Sunday, you will try to run 30 minutes
continuously. It will force you to see how much you will walk (remember, there’s no
shame in walking!) and give you an idea if you should move forward to Week 9 or re-do
this week (or even last week’s) training again. By the way, if you’re wondering why you’re
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this week (or even last week’s) training again. By the way, if you’re wondering why you’re
doing push-ups and sit-ups, there’s two reasons: First, they’re free and easy to do, and
everyone knows how to do them. Second, they are building some of your core muscles
and laying down a groundwork of overall fitness. Tuesday’s training consists of a 15
minute run and 15 minute walk (I suggest a 5 minute walk, 10 minutes of running, 10
more of walking, and a final 5 minutes of running). Don’t forget the mandatory 5-10
minute cool-down period afterwards). Don’t quit now, you’re almost there!
Week 9
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
TRAIN: 30-35 MINS RN (10 MINS
WK OK)
CX 35
MINS
5K RACE
DAY
EXTRA: MAX PU SU 2X MAX
PU SU
Focus: Your goal this week is to taper off your running, and get ready for your upcoming
5K. Look through your running log and note the days you did exceptionally well. Try to
recall what you did or didn’t do to perform, and replicate that. There’s no teacher like
trial and error, and your own personal experience. Running is a deeply individual activity,
and you are your own best judge of how fast you can push yourself. No matter what, you
need to be drinking more water than you ever have, to keep yourself hydrated before the
race. Check with the race organizers to make sure there are no last-minute changes or
weather issues, and double-check your running gear so it is serviceable on race day.
Tuesday’s training consists of a 30-35 minute run (I suggest a 35 minute run on terrain
similar to the 5K course, then a 10 minute cool-down period afterwards) and the
maximum number of push-ups and sit-ups you can do in one (1) minute. Rest for a split
second, then do it again (for two sets of repetitions). You should be eating and drinking as
healthy as you possibly can this week. Don’t forget to write in your running journal. Where
did you run? Who did you go with? How do you feel? What did you see? When you do run
your 5K, you will realize what an accomplishment that is, and you will naturally want to do
it again, to improve your run time. It doesn’t matter if the 5K race takes you half an hour
or an hour – you just have to finish. In fact, I expect you to walk at some point during the
race. That is why I am not so strict with the running, it will come in due time. In future
races, you definitely want to train differently and add some speed work and interval
training. But your aim in your first 5K, however, is just crossing the finish line upright, with
your head held high. Get to it!When you start your race, don’t go too fast – you’ll burn out
– and when you finish, don’t forget to stretch to cool down. Bask in the glow of your first
completed 5K, the first of many! Good luck.
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No Such Thing as Quit
Give yourself at least a month before you quit. Promise everyone you know that you will
train for at least five weeks, a real, solid month. It also takes at least that long for your
body to get used to moving regularly, especially if you haven’t run since high school. It
takes at least nine weeks for the Army to turn civilians into Soldiers who can run 2-milers
(the distance of the cardiovascular endurance/running physical training event) to
standard. Why wouldn’t it take at least a month or two or three to get you to 5K (3.1
miles)? If you start feeling sorry for yourself, think about what you are trying to do. You
are trying to better yourself. You want to set a good example. You are supporting a
family member. Whatever it is you hope to accomplish by running 5K, you need to
remember it often. Write it on your hand if you have to. And don’t forget you have what it
takes to run 5K, unlike the man in this video, or this video.
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Glossary:
WK = Walk
PU = Push up
RN = Run
SU = Sit up (or crunches)
CX = Cross training
2x = Two sets
MAX = Maximum in 1 minute
M = Mile
This is a very basic 5K training schedule for beginners. It builds on the existing training
from the novice training schedule, but changes your workout focus from time to distance.
This is critical because someone out of shape should not be trying to go fast or set any
PRs (Personal Records, or Personal Best Times). Once in shape, however, you can better
gauge your improvement by running the same distance and timing yourself to measure
progress.
WEEK MON TUE WED THURS FRI SAT SUN
1 1 M
RNMAX PU
CX 30
MINS
1 M RNMAX
SU
1.5 M
RNMAX
PU/SU
30 MIN RN
or CX
2 1.5 M
RNMAX PU
CX 30
MINS
1.5 M
RNMAX SU
2 M RNMAX
PU/SU
30 MIN RN
or CX
3 2 M RNMAX
PU
CX 30
MINS
2 M RNMAX
SU
2.5 M
RNMAX
PU/SU
30-35 MIN
RN or CX
4 2.5 M
RNMAX PU
CX 30
MINS
2.5 M
RNMAX SU
2.5 M
RNMAX
PU/SU
5 3 M RNMAX
PU
CX 30
MINS
3 M RNMAX
SU
3 M RNMAX
PU/SU
30-35 MIN
RN or CX
6 3 M RNMAX CX 30 3 M RNMAX 3.1 M 30-35 MIN
Beginner’s Schedule
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30 30
6 3 M RNMAX
PU 2x
CX 30
MINS
3 M RNMAX
SU 2x
3.1 M
RNMAX
PU/SU
30-35 MIN
RN or CX
7 3 M RNMAX
PU 2x
CX 30
MINS
CX 30 MINS 3 M RNMAX
PU/SU
30-35 MIN
RN or CX
8 3 M RNMAX
PU 2x
CX 30 MINS 5K
Listen to your body
If you are getting really sore mid-week or after your long run on Saturdays, stop doing
the CX, or cross training, and give your body time to heal. Also, if you need more rest,
you can push the Saturday run to Sunday instead.
According to the American Heart Association’s Website:
“If you experience foot, knee, hip or back pain when walking, STOP and check with
your doctor to find out the cause. You may need special exercises or better shoes. If
you have osteoarthritis and experience increased joint pain lasting an hour or two
after walking, consider an alternate activity like stationary cycling or water exercise.
Don’t stop exercising altogether!”
Runner’s Profile:
Jesse Grothaus, 23
Student
San Luis Obispo, CA
Jesse Grothaus, 23, was a chubby kid growing up. But soccer and a decision to join the
Army got him on the right track of exercise and fitness. He still hates running, and his
decision to run regularly is based on the idea that working out can relieve stress and keep
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the mind sharp. He has been trained to run, he has run far and fast in the past, but it’s
still hard to keep at it.
“I have to force myself to run, even now. But I try to outsmart myself. I keep my running
gear and shoes in a bag in my car, so that I can’t make the excuse of not being prepared.
Before I return from school or work, I have made it so I have to go run before I can go
home and take a shower.”
“I just find myself feeling great after a good run. I might hate it starting off, but
afterwards, it’s like nothing else.” Plus, Jesse adds, it’s free – a definite plus for a college
student.
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IV.
The Runner's
Motivation
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Live Longer
A Harvard report says brisk exercise can “decrease the chances of having a heart
attack or stroke, developing diabetes, or dying prematurely.” That’s pretty good for
for a few jogs a week. There is no better way to ensure a long, productive life, besides
quitting smoking.
Get Paid More
Running won’t expand your waistline, but it may expand your wallet. A study from
Cleveland State University says that “going for a jog, swimming or lifting weights in
the gym three times a week could boost your income by up to nine percent.” Even
exercising one or three times a month can boost income by five percent. The reason,
researchers say, is because exercise “leads to improved mental function,
psychological condition, and higher energy levels.” All traits employers like to see in
productive employees.
Look like a million bucks/Feel like Zooey Deschanel/Joseph Gordon-Levitt (or
Katherine Hepburn/Fred Astaire)
Regular exercise will jolt your metabolism and start burning fat. It will tone your
muscles and firm up your skin. You will fit into your clothes better. People will
compliment you on your natural tan (if you run outdoors). In fact, you might even
gain the gumption and confidence after running a 5K to use one of these running
lines: 20 Pick Up Lines For Runners.
Feel like a million bucks
There is no denying the steady rush of brain chemicals gives you a natural high, and
boosts your overall mood. In fact, running reduces stress and increases endorphins
(naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that block pain and act like morphine,
without the nasty addiction) in your body. It’s like an instant makeover – as long as
you shower after your run.
5 Reasons to Run
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Fit into your old clothes
After those love handles are slimmed down, and that excess weight is lost, your
clothes will fit better and old jeans will no longer pinch your waist. Also, it gives you a
great excuse to go clothes shopping again.
Runner’s Profile:
Steven Chick, 36
Law Enforcement
Chicago, IL
Every year, Steven does the Merril Down & Dirty Mud Run with his two teenage kids. He is
a single parent, working in state law enforcement, so he loves spending as much time as
he can with his children. He also enjoys running the 5K because part of the race fee is
donated to charity.
“Wounded warriors get the proceeds, kids do something healthy, and we do it together as
a family, so it’s a win-win,” Steven says. “Running is such a routine part of my day now
that it’s automatic.” To keep focused in the gym, he listens to music and tries not to think
about the run. He tunes everyone and everything out, he says.
Unfortunately, last year he started getting shin splints (a painful condition known as
medial tibial stress syndrome), which make up 13% of all running injuries. Now, he takes
it easy during his 1.5 hour workouts by going for 30 minutes on an elliptical machine at
the gym, and then running 2-5 miles on top of that. He likes to mix up the running: one
day he’ll do some intervals on the indoor track at the gym, another day he’ll go outside
and take a long 3 or 4-mile jog.
Due to high cholesterol, Steven has more incentive to continue to work out, although he
admits he needs to change his diet. “I love fried foods,” he says. He is working on that
now, and his advice to new runners is to start off slow: “You can’t go from 0 to 100
overnight, you gotta work at it. It’s worth it though.”
6 Running Quotes from Plato to Oprah
Running 5K can be a solitary endeavor. But rest assured, people since the dawn of
history have enjoyed the challenge and said as much:
1. “For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.” - Plato
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2. “Now bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.” - William Shakespeare
(Julius Caesar)
3. “I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your
own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind
if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the
courage of your lungs.” - Jesse Owens (1936 Olympics, Four Gold Medals)
4. “The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go
before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” - Robert Frost (Stopping by Woods on a
Snowy Evening)
5. “You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given
myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it
started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” - Steve
Prefontaine
6. “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into
it.” - Oprah Winfrey
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Researchers from the University of New Mexico have figured it out and wrote a paper
about it (skip to the next paragraph if you want the short version):
“When muscles undergo intense exercise, as from a resistance training bout, there is
trauma to the muscle fibers that is referred to as muscle injury or damage in
scientific investigations. This disruption to muscle cell organelles activates satellite
cells, which are located on the outside of the muscle fibers between the basal lamina
(basement membrane) and the plasma membrane (sarcolemma) of muscle fibers to
proliferate to the injury site (Charge and Rudnicki 2004). In essence, a biological effort
to repair or replace damaged muscle fibers begins with the satellite cells fusing
together and to the muscles fibers, often leading to increases in muscle fiber cross-
sectional area or hypertrophy. The satellite cells have only one nucleus and can
replicate by dividing.
As the satellite cells multiply, some remain as organelles on the muscle fiber whereas
the majority differentiate (the process cells undergo as they mature into normal cells)
and fuse to muscle fibers to form new muscle protein stands (or myofibrils) and/or
repair damaged fibers. Thus, the muscle cells’ myofibrils will increase in thickness and
number. After fusion with the muscle fiber, some satellite cells serve as a source of
new nuclei to supplement the growing muscle fiber. With these additional nuclei, the
muscle fiber can synthesize more proteins and create more contractile myofilaments,
known as actin and myosin, in skeletal muscle cells. It is interesting to note that high
numbers of satellite cells are found associated within slow-twitch muscle fibers as
compared to fast-twitch muscle fibers within the same muscle, as they are regularly
going through cell maintenance repair from daily activities.”
When you exercise, your muscles break apart and the tissue connecting them together
are damaged. Individual strands of muscle and the surrounding tissue is repaired and
increases in size, thickness, and number. Basically, your muscles get bigger and stronger
after you run or workout. All of this tearing and repairing activates your nerve cells and
sets off your pain receptors.
Why Does Running Hurt?
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You can reduce the pain through a cold compress, for no longer than 15-20 minutes at a
time. Various compresses and techniques, from wet towels to heat/ice pack alternating
appliques, are available from the LiveStrong Foundation. Taking Ibuprofen is especially
useful if it helps reduce inflammation. If there are symptoms of muscle damage (such as
sharp or throbbing pain) see a doctor immediately.
4 things You Didn’t Know About the term 5K
“Outie 5000” is the slang term for “I’m leaving” according to Urban Dictionary.
Sometimes I like to say goodbye to a good 5K workout when I’m done by saying “I’m
outie 5000!” since I’ve just run 5,000 meters. Try it, you might like it.
Unless you are a celebrity or famous figure, the maximum number of “friends” you
can have on Facebook is 5,000, or 5K.
Steve Prefontaine, a legendary University of Oregon medium to long distance runner,
loved the 5K. “Pre,” as he was called, held the American record in the 5K from 1971-
1973. He was preparing to compete in the 1976 Olympics when he died in a car
accident in 1975. A building at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, OR, is named after
him. Singer Maddy Stone write a song dedicated to Pre, called “Round and Round,”
available on Amazon.
You can find a 5K race almost anytime of year, anywhere in the United States (yes,
even a New Year’s Eve 5K in Alaska). Just check out Running in the USA’s calendar of
races. Sign up for a race today!
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This one is easy. Follow the list below and you will ensure your first 5K will go smoothly, as
long as you drink water and don’t quit.
Sign-up
▢ Sign up for 5K
▢ Find proper running shoes
▢ Get physician’s consent
▢ Set a personalized running plan
▢ Inform selected friends and family
▢ Make travel arrangements if needed
▢ Recruit friends and family to join your 5K run
▢ Execute personalized running plan without injury
▢ Drink lots of water
▢ Have healthy meals
▢ Join an online workout community or running club
Pre-Race
▢ Drink lots of water a week prior
▢ Have a healthy meal before race day
▢ No alcohol for 48 hours prior
▢ Attend Race Expo (if needed) to get race bib
How to Prepare for 5K Race Day
(Checklist)
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▢ Prepare race gear
▢ Double check race gear
▢ Drink lots of water
▢ Get good night’s rest
▢ Have light breakfast
▢ Apply sunscreen, lip balm, etc.
▢ Lock doors behind you (esp. car)
▢ Drop off your belongings with race staff
▢ Get to starting point early
▢ Get to the right starting point
▢ Use restroom
▢ Stretch and warm up
▢ Take mental pictures, enjoy spectacle
▢ Double check shoelaces
▢ Visualize success
Race
▢ Ensure runner’s bib and chip/tag are attached
▢ Periodically check for bib/chip/tag
▢ Don’t quit
▢ Be courteous to fellow runners
▢ Don’t walk if you can help it
▢ Do take advantage of the drinks/snacks available
▢ Smile for the cameras
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▢ Don’t quit
▢ Walk if you must
▢ However, stop by the First Aid station(s) if needed
▢ Note interesting people/buildings/sites along the race route
▢ Keep walking after the finish line, don’t block the exit chute
Post- Race
▢ Pick up your medal (if any)
▢ Pick up your belongings
▢ Refuel, have an electrolyte replacement drink (e.g. Gatorade)
▢ Stretch and cool down
▢ Take pictures, enjoy accomplishment
▢ Go home, shower, relax
▢ Sign up for next 5K
What a great day! You’ve completed your goal of running a 5K. Congratulations!
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Perhaps you’ve got a few 5K races under your belt. Perhaps you’ve plateaued and you
can’t get any faster. And perhaps, like me, you got hooked on the endorphin rush of
completing a run.
There’s a case for mixing up your races, extending your distances to 10K (6.2 miles) or 10
miles (16K), or changing your training routine. A marathon may even be in the cards if
you train correctly. You can also join a running club to meet some new 5K buddies, learn
tips and tricks from experienced runners, and share your own story.
Another good way to jazz up your 5K is to just add mud. These down and dirty foot-races
are gaining popularity and can be a great deal of fun.
There’s so many out there: the RunAmuck Mud & Music Fests (New York, Philadelphia,
Washington DC), Muddy Outlaw 5K Dash (Austin, TX), Muddy Fanatic (Louisville, KY), Silly
Pig Mud Run (Denver, CO), and more. Women-friendly ones include Dirty Girl, and the
Color Run. Bigger mud runs throughout the country, and the world, are run by Tough
Mudder, Hell Run, Down and Dirty Mud Run, among others.
Runner Profile:
Cathlin, after a race
What’s Next?
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Cathlin Goulding, 30
Grad student
New York City
Cathlin started running freshman year of high school, and by senior year she was
“serious.” She remembers being not a very good sprinter, but was good enough to be on
the varsity cross country team. Then college intervened and she drifted further away
from exercise as work and the demands of being a high school English teacher grew
more intense.
One day she signed up for a half marathon – she realized she had to train, and the
experience was one of “utter pain and anguish.” Cathlin never liked indoor running, so it
was natural that she and her friends would jog outdoors: “Having to navigate the terrain
is part of the experience of running.” Overcoming the pain of running was the hardest for
her, and she suggests starting off slowly and building up slowly. “It’s too easy to get
injured,” she says. She doesn’t run with music, either, because to her, it would distract
from the peace and serenity of the run.
Like many, Cathlin still has to force herself to go running. “It was not out of a passion for
running, but the camaraderie that came with running. I felt my cross country team was a
community of people. I got a lot of mentorship from people, and the coach really shaped
my life. Having a team or just one person to run with you is incredibly sustaining. As an
adult, I run as a stress reliever, it’s more solitary activity, and I run to get into a
meditative state. It’s my form of becoming more mindful.”
A Dozen Running Songs: No running playlist is the same. I really like some of
the following tracks, and they are on my personal 5K music rotation. Some have
strong, moderate beats, and others are just so easy to run to, I had to include
them. I highly suggest compiling your own running-specific playlist, it will do
wonders for your motivation and energy levels. Here are some of mine, in no
particular order:1. “Beautiful Day” by U2
2. “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones
3. “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People
4. “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
5. “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes
6. “Jerk it Out” by the Caesars
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7. “Stronger” by Kanye West
8. “Moar Ghosts N Stuff” by Deadmau5
9. “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson
10. “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
11. “I Run to You” by Lady Antebellum
12. “Hurts So Good” by John Mellencamp
What if I’m Still Scared of Running a 5K?
There there. Nothing to be afraid of. You’ll be okay.
In 2010, 35.5 million Americans ran regularly, according to the National Sporting Goods
Association, and the number of runners is growing every year.
Here’s a trifecta of inspiring or funny stories about people’s first short-distance races
(mine is below), because it’s always good to know when you’re not doing it alone:
1. Aiming high
2. I’m in charge of this race
3. A guy is trying to run 12 5Ks
Also, fear can be a great motivator. You need to harness that fear, to ensure you follow
your personalized running plan. Like I’ve mentioned, tell your friends and family about
your new 5K goals, and the fear of not making it happen can be a strong motivator. Fear
of not fitting into your clothes anymore is another good one.
I recommend signing up for a 5K three to four months from now, with a reliable running
friend, and letting the terrifying specter of race day push you to stay honest and running.
Since I often register for marathons months in advance, I set a calendar alarm seven to
eight weeks beforehand, just in case I forget. A few times that alarm has saved me from
major disaster, by inducing a sensation similar to total panic. I used that feeling to stay
focused on my training and my personalized running plan.
FYI: If you’re running solo, put together a rewards and punishment jar. Add a quarter for
every run that you do, and put in a dollar for every run that you fail to do. After the
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successful 5K race, treat yourself (and your reliable running friend) to a wonderful meal
or night out. It’ll be a great payoff to a formerly scary prospect.
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V.
Final Thoughts
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You’ve come this far: you now know as much as I do about running a 5K. You’ve learned
the importance of basic fundamentals, from diet and footwear, to training techniques and
mental strategies that can elevate your race and help you run safer and speedier.
You should realize by now that it doesn’t take a lot to be a runner. You don’t have to be
Olympians like Steve Prefontaine or Flo-Jo. In fact, you are starting off your training
walking, to toughen your feet and your mind. But like any race, you need to start off at a
measured pace, before you can sprint to the finish. I urge you to stay true to your own
vision of completing a 5K, and sticking by the training plan I’ve put together. If you go
with another running program, that’s fine, but you must still commit yourself to that plan.
It’s only fair that you let your friends and family (and doctor) know what you are up to,
and don’t be afraid to come back to this ebook to reference the several links and lists
available. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t know what is keeping you from just
getting out there and starting a run. But I do know that you have all the tools at your
disposal to start today.
It’s not every day that you are blessed with clean water, fresh air, and good health. If you
have the good fortune to have all three, you owe it to yourself to go for a run. You’ll be
amazed how revitalized you feel after a solid 3.1 mile run.
Don’t let your mental doubts keep you from making physical progress. I know you can
run a 5K, I’ve seen thousands of people do it. All you need to do is take a drink of water,
lace up your running shoes, and go for a run.
It’s time for you to run a 5K. It’ll make your life better.
You Owe It to Yourself
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Vimeo, Onwards on vimeo
Couch to 5K, The Couch to 5K in 9 Weeks Running Program
Coolrunning, Cool Running, Online Resource for Runners
Runner’s World, Race Finder
Active.com, Active Running Website
Roadrunner Sports, Roadrunner Sports, The Online Athletic Shoe Retailer
Mayo Clinic, A Guide to 10 Basic Stretches
New York Times, In Running Shoes, Get the Best Fit First
Further Resources
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Tony Yang
Tony C. Yang is a former journalist who has been published in a variety of
publications, including the Chicago Tribune, the Oakland Tribune, and the
San Francisco Business Times.
He is also a veteran of a dozen marathons and has served in the U.S. Army for more than
10 years. He has deployed overseas multiple times, and is currently the physical training
(PT) instructor for his military unit. His hobbies include running, training others, and
reading eBooks on his Kindle.
He is a proud resident of Oakland, Calif. You should follow him at: @tonycyang
(http://twitter.com/#!/tonycyang)
About The Author
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