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Start Running: 6-Week Training Plan to Build Up to 5K (3.1 Miles)
We all know that cardio activities, like running, are good for your health. Participating in exercise can improve your quality of life on many levels, both physically and mentally. If you’re new to running or thinking of starting, knowing where and how to start can be the hardest part of getting up and running. The best thing to do is set a goal and then put together an action plan.
The first goal for runners is a 5K race, which is about 3.1 miles. Even if you don’t run at the moment, you’ll need at least 6 weeks to train for one of these races. Most cities have regular 5K races, and they usually support good causes. Or, just set your goal to run 3.1 miles in 6 weeks. So, set your sights on a goal and follow this simple, 6-week training plan.
During this first week you just need to get ready to get out of bed and move around. Just start by choosing four days to walk or walk 0.5 miles. If you choose to walk, go as fast as you like.
You should also plan to do two days of light strength building. Strength building is very important when training for a race because it builds the muscles necessary for continuous running. You don’t need to lift heavy weights and go up. Your own body weight, basically, free weight, will increase. You can do this in the comfort of your own home with free weights or a yoga mat, or if you join a gym, use their machines.
During this first week it is good to start to include healthy foods in your diet, and this will give you energy during your run. Avoid greasy and heavy foods that make you tired and sap your energy. Foods, such as nuts, fruits, and vegetables are good for energy consumption.
Now that you’ve hit your first week, increase your mileage to 1 mile, three or four times this week. Try to run all the way if you can, even if it’s very slow. Be sure to stretch before and after, so as not to pull the muscles.
Do two strength training sessions this week. Yoga is a great strength-building exercise because it’s a total body workout that many people overlook. It’s also a great exercise for runners, as it stretches the muscles that are straining as you build up your running distance.
Continue to add healthy foods to your diet. You may notice an increase in hunger as you work out. Eat when you’re hungry, but remember that running one mile burns about 100 calories, so it’s a good snack.
Add a half mile to your run. You have now reached 1.5 miles!
Continue strength-building twice a week. You may want to add core activities, such as planning or sit-ups. Make a plan for 30 seconds.
Continue to add healthy foods to your diet. Be sure to drink water before and after your workout.
You’re halfway through the six weeks! Just three weeks ago you couldn’t run. Now you can increase your mileage to two miles, three times a week.
Continue strength-building twice a week. Try to plan for 45 seconds.
Consider making post-workout smoothies. All you need is dried fruit, a liquid, such as fruit juice or milk, and your willingness to go. Also consider adding greens to your smoothie, like spinach or kale – they’re packed with greens and vitamins.
Almost there! Increase your mileage to 2.5 miles this week. Now that you are running long distances you need to make sure to stretch before and after each workout.
Continue strength-building twice a week. Try to plan for 60 seconds. Squats are great for strengthening the leg muscles.
As you run, you may begin to lose electrolytes. Try replacing it by drinking all-natural coconut water, which is high in potassium. Magnesium is an essential electrolyte for runners.
Now you are ready for the last part of your training. You’ve hit 3 miles this week! Try to run 3 times this week, giving yourself a rest day and two strength building days. The day before you run a 5K, it’s a good idea to do a short run, say 1 mile, just to warm up the muscles.
You can continue strength training this week. Make sure you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be sore on race day.
Always eat healthy foods. Once or twice, before the competition, make sure you don’t eat anything too heavy or out of the ordinary. You don’t want to be dealing with a dark stomach on race day.
Hopefully, after completing six weeks of training, you will feel good, inside and out. Running can make a big difference. Don’t stop at the 5K. From here you can continue your running routine by maintaining a distance of 3 miles. Or, if you’re more ambitious, you can set your goals higher and start training for a 10K (6.2 miles) or maybe a Half Marathon (13.1 miles). Continue to increase your mileage and focus on your runner’s diet and you will reach your goal in no time!
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