How To Train For A 5K
How to train for a 5K, especially as a beginner level distance runner can be intimidating at first but with enough patience and persistence you will have no issues completing the distance.
It doesn’t take running 100-mile weeks to run and finish a 5K.
Do not think that if you are overweight that you will never be able to run and complete the distance either.
I have been around world-class athletes and people that second guess themselves simply because they are overweight or never thought of themselves as being a runner before.
Running is just as much, if not more, mental than physical and in most cases far more mental than anything.
Never underestimate yourself, even the best runners in the world do this from time to time.
If you are currently overweight, break your training into smaller segments.
If you can run right now is for 3 minutes, great, keep working.
Three weeks from now you will be running for 20 minutes with less effort…but you have to remain vigilant.
Improve Your Cardiovascular Endurance
How to train for a 5k can be answered by taking a patient, long-term approach and keeping the process in mind, not overloading it on mental barriers.
The 5k is a faster race and is most anaerobic in nature (without oxygen).
That being said, even though it is a short, faster race, for someone who has never run the distance or are concerned they can finish, the distance could feel like a marathon.
So, you want to have a patient approach and build up your endurance.
You don’t need to be on the track doing 400m or mile repeats to finish strongly.
I get asked how to train for a 5k quite often and my answer is always the same.
1. Be patient – results in fitness don’t come over night, they come in a period of weeks and months.
What feels like your sprinting up a mountain today may feel like a leisurely downhill jog 3 weeks from now.
I say three weeks because it takes approximately 21 days for any physiological adaptation to occur within the body, for any habit to be formed.
2. Run Longer
How to train for a 5K can be answered easily by running longer than the distance you are wishing to race, which, in this case, is 3.1 miles.
Do you realize how easy 3.1 miles is going to feel for you when you have trained yourself to run as far as 10 miles on a weekend long run?
You don’t need to be doing 100 miles a week and speed work when training for a 5k as a beginner.
I’ve run some of my fastest times for various distances simply by running base mileage and some light strides after every other easy run, which brings me to my #3 tip
3. Incorporate Strides
Strides are no more than 100 meters in length but they are done at near sprint speed.
You could run easy mileage throughout the week for 12 weeks straight and doing 3-5x100m strides after every other easy run and not only finish a 5k but run fast faster than you even realize.
No speed workouts, no hill repeats.
The idea behind these workouts is you are spending short amounts of time, over a long period of time, at sprint speed.
Speeds that are far faster than you want to race at.
The reason why they are so important is they help the body to recruit fast twitch muscle fibers.
The more of these your body can call upon the more oxygen it will be able to deliver to the working muscles.
What happens than is you don’t slow down as quickly and are able to complete the 5k with more ease and you’ll soon be wanting to try the 10K to marathon distances, distances perhaps, that you never envisioned yourself running.
Sometimes the biggest gains come when we simplify our approach and do not get caught up with all the technical aspects of training.
Runners that train 30-35 miles a week can get better result than athletes putting in 100 miles a week.
Always keep in mind, how to train for a 5K isn’t about volume but quality.
I am not sure what your particular goals are and for that I encourage you to participate in the forums so that I can get a better understanding and help you further.
You may want to just finish the distance without having to stop.
Perhaps you have a specific time goal in mind and if that is the case there are some additional bits of information I can share in another article.
In fact, I intend on writing a article soon for more advanced level runners who have the question how to train for a 5K properly that I encourage you to take a look at.
The most important thing I want to leave you with is enjoy the process of getting into shape.
If you are overweight, be patient, easier said than done, I know but if you hold onto that characteristic there is nothing that can stop you.
I, too, easily gain weight on my off-time. I thoroughly enjoy my time off and everyone needs a break from the fitness routine from time to time.
You have to take small breaks, focus on healthy living and allow yourself to heal from putting in the miles.
Don’t lose sight of the process and don’t lose enthusiasm because I promise you, many have when they were just 3 feet from gold.