5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 9

Run a 5k 8Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 9

By the end of week eight, you ran 23 minutes straight. Nice job! This week we’re going to add to that total. We’re also adding an optional speed workout. Just as your body makes adaptations to running (increased endurance, better aerobic fitness, structural changes to your bones, joints and soft tissue), speed work improves the way your body processes oxygen, and increases your stamina by raising the lactate threshold, that point at which your body has built up lactic acid and needs to slow down. (Missed week one? Click here to get started!)

This week will start off by repeating your 23 minute run from last week. In addition to your three key workouts, you may add the optional speed workout. If you choose not to do so, just do the active recovery workout.

Remember, all workouts start with an 8-10 minute brisk warm-up walk. On your rest days, feel free to do some strength training, yoga, Pilates, etc.

Run_a_5K_Program.JPGDay One: After your warm up, run for 23 minutes. Cool down, stretch ice.

Day Two: Active recovery. After your warm up, run for 10 minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat. Cool Down and stretch. Optional Speed Work: Warm up, then run for two minutes at your normal pace. For the next minute pick up the pace (think effort level of about 8-9 on a scale of 10). Slow down to your normal pace for two minutes. Repeat four more time (a total of five fast intervals). Cool down and stretch.

Day Three: Warm up, Run for 12 minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for 12 minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for three minutes, then cool down.

Day Four: Rest.

Day Five: Warm up, then run for 26 minutes. Cool down, stretch, etc.

Day Six: (Optional) Active Recovery. Warm up, run for 18 minutes. Walk for one minute, then run for three more minutes.

Day Seven: Rest.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPGRefer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts:

The Long Run: At this point in your training, your long run should be at least six miles. You can keep it at that or add another half mile. To add a little mileage to your week, add a half mile to one of your other runs (not the speed workouts).

The Interval Workout: We’re pushing it a little bit this week. Mile repeats. Four times around the track. They should be run at about your 5K pace (about 90-95% of VO2Max). Recover by jogging or walking 400 meters. Repeat two more times. Cool down by walking or jogging 400-800 meters. Stretch (and don’t forget to ice after your workout!)

The Lactate Threshold Workout: On the road for this workout. After your one mile easy warm up, run two miles at slightly less that your 5k pace (about 85-90% of your maximal effort). Cool down by jogging a half mile, and finish with a stretch.

Getting_Faster.JPGRemember, in addition to these workouts, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Week nine is complete. Just think, just three weeks until your race! See you next week!

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 4

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 4

By the end of last week, you had accomplished several things. (Did you miss week one? Click here.) You were able to run five minutes at one time. You were also running about 18 minutes during a single workout, with very little walking. Is everything feeling good? Any aches and pains? Take a body check from time to time. Even though we’re taking things slow, you are still adding a great deal of exercise into your life. Be smart, if you’re feeling sore or tired, it is okay to take an extra rest day now and then. Your body talks to you. You just have to listen.

This week, we will be adding an optional extra running day into the mix. It will be shorter and easier that the others, but still it will be an extra day. Because of that addition, we’re not going to make a huge change in the length of your running intervals, but we will cut down a little on your rest intervals. If you have any shin or knee pain, do not add this extra day (and you should probably take an extra day off). Remember, each workout starts with an 8-10 minute brisk walk and ends with a 5 minute slower walk, stretching and icing.

Day One: Repeat last week’s day six workout: After your warm up, run for four minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for five minutes. Walk for one minute. Repeat both intervals.

Day Two: The point of this workout is to decrease your walking rest periods while maintaining your running intervals. Warm up, then run for four minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times. This is a little less total running than we’ve been doing, but because we’re adding on another running day tomorrow, we don’t want to overdo it.

Day Three: (Optional) You may be feeling tired this morning, but unless you are hurting, try to push through it. It will be a pretty easy workout. After your warm up, run for three minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for four minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for five minutes. Cool down.

Day Four: Rest Day. Strength, Yoga, Pilates, etc. are okay.

Day Five: This is your key workout of the week. Hopefully you are feeling strong after your rest day. Warm up. Run five minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat three more times. Cool down.

Day Six: Repeat day five, with only three intervals.

Day Seven: Rest Day. You can take it completely off if you’d like, or do some weights, etc.

Congratulations! You’ve been running for a month! Great job! Next week we will lengthen the intervals, and one of the workouts will be all running (except the warm up/cool down).

Running Faster

 

Refer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts

The Long Run: This week add one half mile to your run on one day of the week.

The Interval Workout: We’re still on the track for this workout. Warm up for about a mile. This is a ladder workout. Each interval will be a little longer than the previous. You will be running each interval at about the same pace, about 90-95% of your max effort, though, so be careful not to go all out on some of the shorter intervals then not be able to keep the pace on the longer ones.

Interval 1: 200 meters (halfway around the track)
Interval 2: 400 meters
Interval 3: 600 meters
Interval 4: 800 meters
Interval 5: 1000 meters
Interval 6: 800 meters
Interval 7: 600 meters
Interval 8: 400 meters
Interval 9: 200 meters

Finish with a cool down and a good stretch.

The Lactate Threshold Workout: We are back on the road for this workout. After your warm up, increase your pace to about 85-90% of your maximum effort. Maintain this pace for one mile. Drop the speed and jog for about 3-5 minutes. Repeat one to three more times, depending on you current mileage (don’t exceed the distance of your long run). Finish with your cool down and stretch.

Remember, in addition to these workout, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Week four is in the bag! Great job!

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 2

Run a 5kYour 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 2

It’s time for week two of 5k Friday! This plan will help you train for and run (really run!) your first 5k! (Missed week one? Click here to get started!) I hope that you are feeling pretty good. Any aches and pains? If so, make sure that you are using that ice I recommended, and also be sure to stretch those hamstrings, quads, calves, and hips after each workout. As promised, at the end of this post I will have some advice and workouts for runners who have some racing experience and would now like to run a little faster.

At the end of last week, you were (after your walking warmup), running for 90 seconds, alternating with walking for 90 seconds. This week we will both increase the running time, reduce the walking time, and increase the number of cycles. Don’t worry, we won’t be doing all of those things in the same workout.

Run a 5k 2

Day One: Following your warmup, run for 90 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds. For the second cycle, run for two minutes, then walk for 60 seconds. Repeat both cycles. For the last cycle, run for 90 seconds, walk for 30 seconds, then run for 60 seconds. A little complicated, but you are pushing yourself here a little, with less rest and more running. Finish with your five minute walk and don’t forget the stretching and the ice!

Day Two: Repeat day one with one change. Repeat the first two cycles one additional time (total of three), then finish off as before.

Day Three: Rest. We’re not adding any more running days this week, so your rest days will be the same as last week. Some strength training or Yoga, or just some simple stretching is fine, but no running.

Day Four: Here is a bit of a challenge. Warm up. Run for two minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat four more times. One additional cycle is optional. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Five: Rest completely.

Day Six: Repeat day four. This time, do that extra cycle.

Day Seven: Rest day, although like day three, you can do some weights, Yoga, Pilates, etc.

Week two is now complete! Hopefully, you have purchased some good running shoes by now (if not, do it now!). Have you found that goal race?

Running Faster

CIF

This is for those of you who are still basically beginners, but you can run at least three or four miles (or even more), have run a few races, and now would like to improve your time, possibly even earn a medal in your age division.

To help you run faster, we’re going to add three workouts to your running schedule. One of these will involve adding extra mileage. For example, if your longest run is currently three to six miles, this week, following the 10% rule, you will increase the distance by a half mile. This workout will increase your endurance.

The second workout will involve some interval training. This will entail some short to medium distances of really fast running, which will improve your VO2 Max, which is a measurement of your body’s ability to use oxygen. (Google it if you want more info.) Although there is a lot of hard work involved, you will see your overall running speed improve as if by magic.

The third workout is not quite as intense as the interval training, and will vary from week to week, but basically can be called a lactate threshold run. Your lactate threshold is the point at which your body has built up enough lactic acid and responds by needing to slow down or rest. This workout will increase your stamina, your ability to run fast for a longer period of time.

(This is a very simplified description of the science behind the above workout types. I will give you the workouts, you will get faster. To advance from that point, there are many resources that you can use to continue your progress.)

The Workouts

It is helpful to pick a “goal time” for your race. Be realistic. If your current time is around 27 minutes, aim for a 5k time of about 25 minutes. If your goal time is 25 minutes, then your goal pace per mile is about 8 minutes per mile. if your current time is 24 minutes, you may have a goal of 22 minutes. That would make your pace about 7 minutes per mile. Remember these times (calculate by: goal time divided by 3.1)

The Long Run: As mentioned above, increase your current long run distance by one half mile on one day of the week.

Run a 5k 3

The Interval Workout: Preferably, you will do this run on a track, so head on down to your local high school. Warm up for four laps. Run one lap at your goal 5k pace (divide your per mile pace by four). This should feel hard. Or even very hard. Walk or jog for 200 meters (half lap). Repeat three or four more times. Finish with a half mile cool down and stretching.

The Lactate Threshold Run: Back on the road for this one, warm up for a mile. Run the next half mile at a pace about 20 seconds slower that your goal 5k pace. Recover for about a quarter mile. Run another half mile at the faster pace. Finish with about a half mile of cool down and stretching.

In addition to these three workouts, you can run another two to three days during the week, basically an easy to moderate paced run. Try not to run two hard workouts in a row. A sample workout week could be something like this (adapt for your own schedule):

Sunday: Long Run
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Lactate Threshold Run
Wednesday: Easy Run
Thursday: Interval Run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Moderate Run

Okay, now you have it. Get out there and get going. Next week’s workouts will increase your running time and distance (for beginners) and add a couple interesting speed workouts for current runners. Stay tuned!

This post is revised and updated from a beginner 5k program I created several years ago.

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 1

Are you ready to rock 2015? Do you want to change your life, lose weight, get fit, feel amazing? I’m here to help you do just that.

Note: While this is primarily a training program for first time 5kers, starting with Week 2 I will include a plan for runners who have completed a race or two, and now have the goal of running faster. Stay tuned!

While that might sound like a cheesy infomercial, it is not. It’s the truth. I’m going to help you commit to fit in 20-15. Not a resolution to exercise and lose weight. A commitment with a real goal. And that goal is…train and run, really run, a 5k.

Run a 5k

Oh, you say you can’t run. You say you hate running. You say you’ve got bad (fill in the blank) knees, hips, back, etc. I say to you, nonsense! You can learn, if not to love running, at least to enjoy the fresh air, the accomplishment you feel after a run, the way running can help with weight loss and management.

Just ask my friend over at It’s All About Me! Deal With It! If I may quote from her Winter Running post of several years ago, “I still wouldn’t classify myself as one of those people who enjoys running, or experiences the elusive “runner’s high.” But I do enjoy the peace, the calorie burn, the way it makes my body look, and how I feel when I am done doing something only 20% of the population is willing to do.”

Run a 5k 2

So just toss those negative feelings in the trash and head out of the door. DO NOT run. Yes, you heard me right. Do not run. If you are one of those naysayers, reading and saying, “No way, Deb, I tried running, hated it, hurt myself, bored me to death, etc., chances are, if left to your own devices, you would step out that door and run for two or three miles and either hurt your knees, back, or whatever, or simply have such sore muscles the next day you cannot walk, whereupon you say, “I hate running.”

We’re not going to do it that way this time. Now, of course, some of this depends on your level fitness before you start your training. For this first post, we will assume that you are a very beginner. You could probably walk one mile, maybe two, somewhat briskly, at least at the beginning. We’re going to get you started on a 12 week plan that will have you ready to run a 5k at the end. So, the first thing to do is pick up a race schedule, check online, and find a race that is scheduled about three months from now. (If you already run, but would like to run stronger and faster, don’t despair, my next 5k Friday post will have some tips just for you.)

Run a 5k 5

Day One: So, we’re walking out the door. A brisk walk, to be sure, but a walk. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Fresh air, nice sights. I do realize that this is winter, and some of you may need to do this on a treadmill, which is kind of sad, but the workouts are the same. Walk and dream of spring, it will be here before you know it. Now that you’ve walked about eight to 10 minutes, let’s try a little run. Fast, slow, it doesn’t matter. See if you can do it for a minute. Then, stop and walk again. Wasn’t that easy?

Keep walking for about two minutes, then try that minute run again. Do this three more times, finishing with at least five minutes of walking. Do not give in to that type A exerciser, the one who has injured you in the past, and try to run the whole time. Follow my instructions. Oh, and just call me Coach.

Run a 5k 3

This first workout will take about 30 minutes. When you’re done, spend some time stretching, particularly your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hips. Check out this post for a great stretching program for runners. It is also helpful to ice your knees and shins.

Day Two: Repeat day one workout. Seriously. You don’t need to increase right away. You need to start slowly, stay healthy and uninjured. Repeat. Day. One.

Day Three: Rest. You can do some strength training if you want, or Yoga, but if you are really out of shape, keep the work out light. You’re easing into that, too.

Run a 5k 6

Day Four: Repeat the day one workout with one change. The running interval can be raised to 90 seconds, while the walking interval in between is lowered to 90 seconds. Don’t forget the stretching and ice.

Day Five: Rest. Totally (no this isn’t an excuse not to mow the lawn or cook dinner).

Day Six: Repeat day four.

Day Seven: You know that day seven is supposed to be. Rest (although again, strength training, yoga, Pilates, extra stretching, are all acceptable rest day activities).

Run a 5k 4

So now you’ve completed your first week of training. While it is true that you aren’t running very much (yet), you’re not injured either. Take a little inventory after week one. How are you feeling? Have you been stretching and icing? While I’m not covering it in this post, healthful eating is important too.

Next week we will continue to slowly add running time and reduce walking. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to invest in a good pair of running shoes. Visit your local running shoe store, where you can be fitted, allowed to actually run a little in your shoes, and someone can help guide you to the best shoe for you.

Check in next Friday for 5k Friday: Week Two of 5k Training. Beginners will receive their next week of training, while more advanced runners will get some advice on running stronger, longer, and faster. Stay tuned!

This post is revised and updated from a beginner 5k program I created several years ago.