When you spend a lot of time on your couch, running may seem like the last activity you'd want to pick up. And to be fair, it's not easy to see past the immediate gratification of watching a Netflix marathon. But running is also a great way to release endorphins without having to coordinate your schedule too much. Unlike team sports or gym routines, all you have to do is grab your shoes and head outside or jump on a single machine to get it done. Here's a gentle way for you to switch gears to run your very first 5k.
Weeks 1 – 4
Start with three 20-minute outings the first four weeks. All of the runs start with a 5-minute walk and then alternate running and walking. For example, the first week, you'll run for a minute, then walk for 1.5 minutes. On the second week, you'll up your intervals to 1.5 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking. In the third week, you'll do 2 rounds of 1.5 minutes of running and 1.5 minutes of walking before stepping it up to 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking. The idea is to give your body a break so that you have the energy to keep running — both the day of and the rest of the week.
Weeks 5– 9
As you keep going on your path, you'll start increasing your running to 5 minutes, then 8 minutes, then 20 minutes of straight running. The runs are varied so you can continue to give your body a rest so you don't burn out. By week 9, you'll start with a walk and then do 30 minutes of running, or about the length of a 5k. Once you're at this point, you may want to set your goals a little higher for when the race date rolls around. Running a race is exhilarating, making it easier to hit those faster speeds than you might think.
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