Your First 5K

When beginning your physical fitness regimen, it is important to develop a base level of fitness. For those who are interested in joining the military or the police, you will need to be able to run at least 5K – even if you are only tested, as in the US Army, on a 2 mile distance.

It can seem inconceivable to someone who is a “couch potato” or who doesn’t run at all, to be able to run for 30 minutes or more. A stepped progression can help you work up to this.

Importance of Nutrition and Hydration

Eating well is important, which is one reason why military basic training programs strictly control your diet. If you’re interested in learning more about building a diet to best improve your physical fitness see our article on that subject.

Hydration is one component of nutrition. If you weigh yourself before and after the running exercises we discuss below, you should aim to replace 500mL of water (1 plastic water bottle’s worth) for every 1 pound that you have sweat out.

Equipment

It’s best to wear a high quality pair of running shoes. One of the causes of shin splints or other leg pain, beyond increasing one’s workout too quickly, is poor quality shoes. Additionally, a stopwatch or app will be helpful to time your workouts.

Finally, a nice pair of sweatpants or shorts will help you to run in comfort.

5K Running Plan

There are a variety of running plans available online. The key element is that they start gradually and build up. In this running plan, the days not indicated are rest days. For instance, if you decide to run Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you will rest Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

This plan focuses on building up to jogging for 30 minutes. You may or may not be jogging a full 5K by the end of this plan – but time is more important than distance and you will build up that speed.

Week 1

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 15 seconds of running and 45 seconds of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 15 seconds of running and 45 seconds of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 15 seconds of running and 45 seconds of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Week 2

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 30 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 30 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 30 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Week 3

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Week 4

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Week 5

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 7 minutes
  • Jog for 3 minutes then walk for 3 minutes for 6 minutes
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 7 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 7 minutes
  • Jog for 3 minutes then walk for 3 minutes for 6 minutes
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 7 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 7 minutes
  • Jog for 3 minutes then walk for 3 minutes for 6 minutes
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 7 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Week 6

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 3 minutes then walk for 3 minutes for 12 minutes
  • Jog for 3 minutes then walk for 90 seconds for 18 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 3 minutes then walk for 3 minutes for 12 minutes
  • Jog for 3 minutes then walk for 90 seconds for 18 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 3 minutes then walk for 3 minutes for 12 minutes
  • Jog for 3 minutes then walk for 90 seconds for 18 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Week 7

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 5 minutes then walk for 3 minutes for 32 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 5 minutes then walk for 3 minutes for 32 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 5 minutes then walk for 3 minutes for 32 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Week 8

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 8 minutes then walk for 5 minutes for 26 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 8 minutes then walk for 5 minutes for 26 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 8 minutes then walk for 5 minutes for 26 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Week 9

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 14 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, jog for 14 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 15 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, jog for 12 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Week 10

Day 1

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 20 minutes, walk for 10 minutes, jog for 10 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 2

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 20 minutes, walk for 10 minutes, jog for 10 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Day 3

  • Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk
  • Jog for 30 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk

Community

Have you done a 5K? Do you have suggestions for the running plan? Comment below.

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