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Hal Higdon's 5K Training Guide - A Training Plan for Beginning Runners

By Hal Higdon
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The most popular racing distance is the 5K: 5,000 meters, just over three miles. "Thirty-nine percent of all the events we receive results for are 5K races," says Linda Honikman of the USTAF Road Running Information Center.

For most beginners, the 5K is their first race distance, their first race T-shirt. But experienced runners like the event too, because 5Ks are fun to run and easy to race.

If you are a beginner, you can be standing at the starting line of your first 5K after only a few months training.Here's one plan that can help get you started:

5K Training Plan for Novices:
Once you've run your first 5K, there's no reason why you can't continue to compete at this race distance. If you're not used to running hard, your muscles may be sore for one to three days after the race. That's normal. World-class runners suffer sore muscles too when they push themselves to the limit.

Allow yourself some time to recover, either by taking a few days off or running easy on those days, then get back into your training program. Here is a six-week training program to get you ready for your next 5-K. Run at whatever pace you feel comfortable most days of the week. If you're feeling good during your Tuesday or Thursday runs, pick up the pace in the middle of the workout. On the weekends, one day run for a longer period of time (distance doesn't matter), and do some cross-training (biking, swimming, walking or another sport) the other day. Two days of the week are for rest.

Week MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
1 rest 2 rest or easy run 2 rest cross train 30 min
2 rest 2 rest or easy run 2 rest cross train 35 min
3 rest 2.5 rest or easy run 2.5 rest cross train 40 min
4 rest 2.5 rest or easy run 2.5 rest cross train 45 min
5 rest 3 rest or easy run 3 rest cross train 45 min
6 rest 3 rest or easy run 3 rest or easy run rest 5-K Race

To continue racing at 5K distances, simply repeat your training for the fourth and fifth weeks, making sure to get a day or two rest before your next race. Or, you may want to move up in distance and try The 10K.

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