Training for a 5K If You're Already a Competitive Athlete

Training for a 5K doesn't have to be hard if you are not a competitive runner. In fact, most in-season athletes are probably conditioned enough to finish a 5K, and training for the race is a great way for athletes to stay committed to their off-season fitness goals.

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Five kilometers is a little over three miles. For those participating in their first 5K, it is advisable not to worry about the time, or pace, you want to complete the race in. Those are admirable goals, but rookie runners should simply aim to complete their first race without any breaks.

The training plan for runners breaks down as follows: four days of running with three days off per week. Tempo runs are included. When running a tempo run, athletes should strive to run at a quicker than normal pace. This will challenge the body and prepare you for the pace of the race. Off days can be used in a variety of ways—they can be "active" rest days, when you do light weight training, play another sport or anything else that isn't strictly running. Or, they can be used as recovery days, when you do nothing other than rest and recover. You should take at least two full recovery days per week. The sample workout plan is as follows:

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Week 1

  • Monday - Run 1.5 miles
  • Tuesday - Off
  • Wednesday - Run 1 mile (Tempo)
  • Thursday - Off
  • Friday - Run 1.75 miles
  • Saturday - Run for 20 continuous minutes
  • Sunday - Off

Week 2

  • Monday - Run 1.5 miles (Tempo)
  • Tuesday - Off
  • Wednesday - Run 1.75 miles
  • Thursday - Off
  • Friday - Run 1.75 miles
  • Saturday - Run for 30 continuous minutes
  • Sunday - Off

Week 3

  • Monday - Run 2 miles
  • Tuesday - Run 2 miles
  • Wednesday - Off
  • Thursday - Off
  • Friday - Run 2.25 miles
  • Saturday - Off
  • Sunday - Off

After the third week, you should be ready to run a 5K. You never exceed the actual distance in training. Instead, you build toward it and complete it on race day. Training for a 5K is a great way for athletes to stay in shape and run with teammates.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: 5K | RUNNING | RECOVERY | RUNNER | RECOVER