Couch to 5K Workout Plan || How to Train for a 5K Even if You Can’t Run a Mile Yet

Are you looking to tackle a 5K race – but it’s only a few months away? Get prepared to cross that finish line with this 8 week couch to 5K training plan!

As you know I like to stay active. Have I ever told you the main reason why I run and stay active? In my 20’s, I competed in one of my first ever 5k. I saw a women in her 70s at the starting line. At first I didn’t think much about it. Half way through the race this women ran pasted me and finished like a champ. I was so blown away with how strong she was. At that moment, I knew I wanted to be like her. So here I am now in my 30’s exercising and trying to eat as healthy as I can so one day someone will say the same thing about me.

So when Danny and I first got married I decided it was time to figure out how to stay active. I didn’t like taking classes at the gym. I liked doing exercises and weights by myself. Running seemed like the natural choice. The problem was I couldn’t even run 1 lap around the track without sucking wind. I’m a competitive person and like to be the best at everything. This probably why I don’t like taking gym classes.

Anyways, it took a lot of swallowing my pride to run around the track red faced while huffing and puffing. I’m sure I turned a lot of heads, but I’m so glad I did. It wasn’t until 4-5 years later that I actually got enough courage to enter in my first 5k race. At the time it seemed like a huge deal. Now I run that and further everyday. Let’s get to it. Let me just say I am not a doctor. So, please consult your doctor before trying new routines. This is a routine that worked for me and has helped me get back into running when I take a break.

How to Train for a 5K as a Beginner

Run: You will want to do a run-walk combo, alternating between running and walking three days a week. This will help you build up your endurance. If you have a timer or a stopwatch function on your phone use it to mark your intervals. At this point you aren’t worried about the distance or speed. It is all about keeping your time. The rest will come later. Aim for an exertion rate of about 5 or 6 on a scale of 10. IF you’re having trouble breathing slowing it down.

Strength train: Twice a week you’ll want to strength train. Strength training helps build muscle and will help keep you injuring free. You can start with a simple routine, doing each exercise for 45 seconds to 1 minute, transitioning between movements without a break. Once your completed a round you can take a 1-2 minute rest . Two days a week, you’ll strength train, which will help keep you injury-free. Try this curcuit.

  • Bicycle crunches
  • Plank
  • Side Plans
  • Glute Bridges
  • Bird-dog left lift

You can also try a free workout website like fitnessblender.com They have some great strength training, hitt workouts, yoga, etc

Rest: You’ll also take off two days a week completely to give your body time to rest and recover for your next workouts. (

Tips for How to Train for a 5K

Please feel free to rearrange this schedule around your lifestyle. If you’d like run with a friend or group of friends. Focus on perfecting your stride if they are slower than you. If they’re faster, push yourself beyond your comfort day for one or two days of the running portion.

There is a great book called Chi Running that helps you focus on how to run faster and farther with less effort, and to prevent and heal injuries for runners of any age or fitness level. It was a great read for me when I first started running.

Get a good pair of running shoes. Your feet will thank you later. There are running stores that can help you find the best shoes. I personally love Asics or Brooks Running Shoes.

Pump yourself up and stay motivated with a good playlist. I love to listen to music while I have friends who sweat by podcasts and audiobooks. Find something that will keep you moving and push through the hard parts.

Running is physical, but it is also a mental game. You can do more than you think. Be sure to listen to your body, but don’t be afraid to push through the hard parts. Still to this day Mile 1.5 – 2.5 is the hardest for me. Once I get past that point I can go what feels like forever.

Training Schedule

Are you looking to tackle a 5K race – but it’s only a few months away? Get prepared to cross that finish line with this 8 week couch to 5K training plan!

*This schedule was adapted from Couch to 5K and my person training schedule

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