Q&A: How Do I Prepare For A 5K Race?

woman runner finish lineQ: What’s the best way to prepare for my first 5k race? – B. D.

A: Congratulations on setting this goal! In 2010 I made the decision to run a half marathon in 2011, so I understand that preparation is key. Although a first race can seem intimidating, especially if you don’t consider yourself a “runner,” there are many training program and mobile apps that can help you reach your goal.

I utilized Couch-to-5K (C25K) to train for my first 5K. Couch-to-5K trains you with interval training. You alternate between walking and running for short periods of time, increasing your amount of running time gradually each week. The program incorporates a day of rest each week as well.

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Mobile apps like this one are available on your smartphone (many of them are free) and will allow you to listen to your music and then a voice will interrupt and tell you when to start running and walking so you do not have to stare at your watch. In the beginning you will walk more than run, i.e., walk 90 secs run 30 secs and alternate for 30 minutes.

Depending on which method of training you choose, you can prepare yourself to run a 5k in as little as five weeks, but typical programs train you over seven or eight weeks.

A sample six week training schedule might look like: