This post has been a long time coming!
Believe it or not, content regarding my half marathon training gets some of the most continuous hits on this blog every single day. I love that, but I also know that there are a lot of people out there who are intimidated by the 13.1 mile distance. I was too!
Some of you might be looking to start your running journey towards something smaller first, and I think that having a goal of running a 5K is awesome! As a personal trainer and running enthusiast (not expert), I would recommend going for and feeling good about a 5K (3.1 miles) before attempting any longer distance.
From what I have heard, read, and experienced for myself, you know that you are ready to start training for a half marathon when you can run a 5K or 30 minutes without stopping. I’m sure most runners and racers would agree.
So, how do we get to those 30 continuous minutes?
After searching around online and piecing together what makes the most sense to me, I formulated a 9 week plan specifically for runners at the introductory level. The only things you need* before starting this program is proper running shoes, a phone or fitness watch to track your time, and a GPS app like RunKeeper or MapMyRun to keep track of your distance.
*See my 10 Things You Need to Train For a Half Marathon post for more ideas!
5K Training Plan For Beginners
Loosely based off of the famous Couch to 5K training plan proven to be successful many times over, I shortened the length a week and followed a jog and walking pattern throughout the first seven weeks.
By Week 8, you are aiming to run without stopping, even if it’s at a jogging pace. The plan includes a “jog” and “walk”, but feel free to adjust the intensity of your walk, jog, or even run as you see fit.
This program incorporates two full rest days on the weekends. If you want to change up your training days, simply print the plan out and change the days at the top! (Change Monday to Wednesday, Tuesday to Thursday, etc.)
Please listen to your body and modify this plan as needed. Also, I always recommend that you consult with a health professional before embarking on any new type of fitness training. Even running. Just do it! <3
Now that we’ve got all of that technical mumbo jumbo out of the way… let’s train for a 5K!
*Download, save, and print this plan here!
• Warm Up & Cool Down by walking quickly for 5 minutes before and after each workout.
• Strength Training can be anything that involves lifting weights to circuit workouts like HIIT. Listen to your body if you feel like you need extra rest, just remember that it is important to keep your muscles strong while you are training!
• Rest & Stretch days are meant for muscle recovery and are important to prevent injuries. On rest days, make sure to complete an extra long stretch or even take a yoga class to help loosen up your muscles and prevent soreness.
I can’t recommend foam rolling after every run and workout enough!
Running Tips and Related Posts
We’re digging deep into the archives, y’all. The posts you see below are most likely going to be embarrassing on my end, but still informative enough to include for tips. Enjoy the flashbacks!
• Running for Beginners Q&A (video throwback from 2012, ha!)
• Warm Up Stretching Before Running
If you decide to try this training plan, please let me know how you like it. I put it together for a couple of friends of mine, and I would love to receive any type of feedback from readers as well.
Stacy @ Sweating Tulipz
Great idea to make this training program for people that aren’t runners! I agree, foam rolling is so crucial for everyone!
Thanks! The idea of running a long distance seems scary to a lot of people. It’s mostly mental! I’m hoping to post more beginner and intermediate plans as time goes on 🙂
Jenn - a traveling Wife
I have really enjoyed running but can yet run consistently for a length of time. It’s a mind game for me.
I really is. Some days I feel like I can run for miles and miles… and I do. Others, I can barely get through one before wanting to stop. I swear it all has to do with what’s going on in my brain and how nice the weather is. Crazy but true!
I just read your WIAW and hopped over to see the beautiful 5k guide! Looks great 🙂 And happy late St. Patty’s Day!
This is an awesome guide, Heather. I’m running my very first race (a 5k) this coming Sunday in San Diego, so unfortunately the training plan is a little too late for me to utilize this time around, but hopefully I’m pretty well prepared and ready… Fingers crossed (we’ll find out)! Haha 🙂
Thanks, Amy! And best of luck this weekend! I know you’ll do great. Just remember that a lot of getting through it is mental. You got this!
hey! I just found this and I’ve been looking to start runninf some weeks ago but wasn’t sure where to start. Thank you and I’ll get back to you in 9 weeks!
I just wanted to let you know that I found this plan and followed it to a T as someone who has never run before. I enjoyed it so much, and found it to be exactly within my capabilities. Thanks for inspiring and encouraging a new runner. I love it!