This 12 Week Training Plan provides the beginner runner a surefire way to get across the finish line of his or her first 5K! The program is specifically geared toward those runners who have never run competitively before, but a second or third time runner who has had difficulty completing 5K races can also benefit from the schedule set out in the Training Plan.
This multi-faceted Training Plan includes some Speed Work and Long Runs. Because the Speed Work and Long Runs will no doubt tire you out, ample Rest Days are built into the Plan.
Here are a few more notes regarding the type of runs that form the foundation of this program.
Speed Work/Interval Runs
Speed Work aims to improve your high end fitness. By augmenting your high end fitness, you will ultimately be able to run harder for a longer distance. Thus, these workouts are integral to achieving your goal on Race Day.
Here are a few quick notes regarding the different types of runs that you will complete under this Training Plan.
The distance for Fartlek Runs includes a mile of warm up, the Fartlek session, and then a mile of warm down.
"Fartlek" is Swedish for "speed play" and consists of bursts of speed in the middle of a training run. Essentially, it's an unstructured interval session, the track without the rules. Fartlek gets your legs used to a variety of paces and in the process gives you an enhanced awareness of your ability to keep up those paces at various distances.
A typical Fartlek Run would consist of warming up, bridging into your Regular Run pace, and then throwing in bursts of speed for various distances throughout the run. This Training Plan suggests that you vary the speed and times of the speed sections, from as short as 15 seconds to as long as two or three minutes. Between these bursts, recover with a dialed back pace for an interval just a bit shorter than your work interval. Your pace during the recovery phase should be faster than an Easy Run or jog pace (see definition of Easy Runs below).
Always try to pick out a landmark --a tree, street sign, parked car, etc. -- or a fire hydrant or a bend in the path -- where the work interval will end before you start picking up the pace. Simply stated, you need to know how far you are running for each work interval. And, lastly, pace yourself over the work interval. You do not want to blow up before the end of the effort.
This Training Plan requires that you complete certain workouts at a 5K pace. When completing these workouts make sure that you maintain the pace that you aim to maintain in a 5K race.
Where a workout requires you to complete 4-5 hills, you should complete 4-5 repeats up a 150 to 200 meter hill at your 5K pace. Some workouts call for Long Hill repeats. Long hills should cover 400-600 meters.
Where the Training Plan sets forth a workout in a format like "4 x 800s," you are to complete 4 separate 800 meter intervals. 800 meter is two laps around a conventional track. After completing an 800 meter repeat, recover for two minutes with an easy jog. Where a workout calls for 400 meter repeats, recover for 60-90 seconds. When you do these repeats, make them hurt, but do not blow up before the finish. If you find yourself cooked with 100 meters or 200 meters to go, dial it back.
Long Runs provide you the base fitness required for achieving your goal of finishing a 5K strong. If most of your runs are on the road and you're not sure how far you run, you can figure out the mileage by using www.MapMyRun.com
. For Long Runs, complete your designated mileage at an Easy pace where you can talk to your running partner without laboring through your breaths.
Determining and maintaining an Easy pace often proves difficult for beginner runners. Note that your Easy Runs should not be run at a race pace. When you start this program, time yourself over the course of one of your normal training runs, and determine your per mile pace. Later in the week, perform the same task over a Long Run. You should find that your Long Run pace is at least a full minute slower than the pace that you maintain over your Regular Runs; if not, DIAL it back!
All other workouts are termed Regular Runs, and they should be run at your Long Run pace. Keep that pace Easy!
Here is format your Training Weeks will follow:
Mondays and Fridays: Most Mondays and Fridays are Rest Days. Never underestimate the value of a Rest Day. Proper rest is integral to you overall recovery, and it guards against injury.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays: On these days, you will complete a Regular Run of varying distances. Warm up with some light jogging or dynamic stretching and then bridge into your run. Make sure that you cool down and stretch after your run.
Wednesdays: On most Wednesdays, you will complete your Speed Work.
Sundays: On Sundays, you will do your Long Run.