You’ve taken the first step and set yourself a challenge. Congratulations! This training program will build your strength and endurance and get you running your first 5 km in 8 weeks. Remember that everyone is different, and your base level of fitness may vary. This training guide is just that – a guide – so listen to your body, and feel free to adjust your plan a little to make it work for you.
The first run of the program is 2 km. If that feels too far to start off with, just start running at a very comfortable, relaxed pace and see how far you can go. Use that as your base distance to build from.
You don’t need to go too hard, too soon – that’s what demotivates people and puts you at risk of injury. Build your way into it.
Training days explained
Rest: Rest days are an important part of your training. They give you an opportunity for your body to recover and your muscles to build in strength. Don’t be tempted to skip your recovery days – giving your body a rest will lead to better results in the long run.
Run: It sounds simple enough, but if you’re new to running it might not be so straightforward. How fast should you run? Do you speed up the longer you run? The trick is not to worry about speed. Just take one step, then the next, and you’re running. In general, try to run at a pace that allows you to comfortably hold a conversation. Find a pace that allows you to finish the distance of the session, or as close to it as you can.
Walk / run: A combination of running and walking, ideal for those in-between days when you want to keep up your running in a less challenging session. Run until you begin to feel fatigued and then walk until recovered. Run. Walk. Run. Walk. Repeat.
Cross-training: On cross-training days, try a different kind of workout – like biking, swimming, walking or a group fitness class at the gym. The variety will help your overall conditioning and allow you to stay active, while having a break from running.
Walk: Brisk walking is often overlooked. This guide suggests you go for an hour-long walk on the day after your longest run. Don’t worry about how fast you walk, or how much distance you cover. Enjoy yourself – not all training has to feel difficult. If a 60-minute walk seems too much at first, begin with about 30 minutes and build each week until you reach 60 minutes.
Download the full guide here.