May 2020

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Fast Fitness
How to Go from Walking to a 5K Run

While practicing social distancing, it is still important to find ways to stay fit and healthy, and running can be one of those ways. Many people hesitate to start running for fear that they won’t be able to reach their goals, but you will be surprised at how quickly your progress builds. If you can walk consistently for a half-hour at a time, then you should be able to work your way up to a 5K run in just a couple of months.

Creating a Training Plan

Most 5K training plans last for about eight to 10 weeks. The goal is that, by the end of the plan, you will be running nonstop for a full 30 minutes (which typically equals about 5K). Make sure you build your training plan around your own goals and fitness level.

Running (3 days a week)

The most important part of your training will be to run three days a week, preferably not on consecutive days. Start by alternating between short durations of running and walking (for example, one minute of running and one and a half minutes of walking). As the weeks go on, increase the duration of the runs.

Strength training (2 days a week)

Two days of the week should be devoted to making your body stronger with strength training sessions that last about 20 minutes to half an hour. Focus on simple bodyweight exercises that can be done at home, like burpees, squats, and planks.

Rest (2 days a week)

Giving your body enough rest will help it recover and reduce the risk of injury. You may be tempted to run on consecutive days if you feel good, but holding back will be more beneficial in the long run. However, you can definitely still enjoy some light exercise like walking or yoga.

Important Tips for Success

As you start tackling your training, there are three tips to keep in mind that will help you stick to your plan and reach your goal.

1. Don’t skip the warm-up and cool-down

Warming up and cooling down is key to preventing injury. Before each run, perform a few dynamic stretches like high knees and walking lunges, followed by a brisk, 5-minute walk. End each run with a cool-down walk and some static stretches that target your lower muscle groups.

2. Eat smart and stay hydrated

Running requires a lot of energy, so you need to provide your body with high-quality fuel. Focus on eating healthy and balanced meals that include protein, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbs to help you feel more energetic. It is also crucial to drink enough water, especially on your running days.

3. Use a good pair of running shoes

Proper running shoes will help your feet stay comfortable and blister-free. They don’t have to be expensive, just make sure they are well-fitted in both length and width. If you’re ordering shoes online, then take accurate foot measurements first. Moisture-wicking socks are a must-have as well.

Progressing from walking to running 5K is a great goal for people of all fitness levels. It might seem like a lot at first, but working your way up gradually makes it doable. You’ll be able to take pride in what you’ve accomplished and to reap the rewards of getting in better shape at the same time.

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