Running your first 5k race

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Use this eight-week programme and train yourself to run 5km non-stop, with increased stamina, for improved fitness and general good health

Running has slowly, but surely, caught on as a mainstream sport, thanks to the multiple marathons happening across Indian cities, all year round. Go for a stroll in any metro city in India, early morning or late evening, and you are bound to come across people running or jogging—either in groups or by themselves. Most of them will be running in the proper gear—running shoes, dry-fit T-shirts, phones or iPods strapped across their arms, the works. Not only does completing a marathon give you lifelong bragging rights, but it can take care of a lot of health issues.

Including running in your daily routine should really be a no-brainer right? Especially for the couch potatoes among you who keep procrastinating. Alright, what if we told you that you can actually run non-stop for 30 minutes or a distance of 5km in the next two months? Sounds interesting right? Let’s add another incentive—the first half of the training duration will involve more walking than running. Looks like we have your attention! So let’s see how you can go about achieving that.

Things you will need
Good running shoes, a watch to keep track of time and complete commitment for the next eight weeks. Taking one and a half hours out of a week should really not be an issue, right?

Increase stamina, not speed
Since you are just a beginner, your main aim should be increasing your stamina first. Speed will naturally follow. Even though the programme may seem too simplistic for some, do not try and overdo it, even if you think that you can.

The weekly training programme
Practise for three days a week—Monday, Wed and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday—whatever works for you. Resting every alternate day is mandatory, even if you don’t feel particularly tired. Also post every session, you need to cool down with a slow five-minute walk.

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WEEK 1
Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Then jog for one minute, followed by a 90-second walk. Repeat this eight times.

WEEK 2
Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Then jog for 90 seconds, followed by a two-minute walk. Repeat this eight times.

WEEK 3
Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Then jog for 90 seconds, followed by a 90-second walk. Then jog for three minutes,
followed by a three-minute walk. Repeat this twice.

WEEK 4
Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Then jog for three minutes, followed by a 90-second walk. Then jog for five minutes, followed by a two-minute walk. Jog for three minutes, followed by a 90-second walk. Finally jog for five minutes.

WEEK 5

  • Day 1: Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Jog for five minutes, followed by a three-minute walk. Repeat this once. Then finally jog for five minutes.
  • Day 2: Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Jog for eight minutes, walk for five minutes, jog for eight minutes.
  • Day 3: Start with a five-minute, brisk warm-up walk. Jog for 20 minutes, without stopping to walk. (Don’t worry, if you’ve been good with the routine, you’ll easily be able to do this by week 5.)

Congratulations! You can now run about 3.2km without stopping.

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WEEK 6:
Day 1: Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Jog for five minutes, walk for three minutes. Jog for eight minutes, walk for three minutes. Finally jog for five minutes.
Day 2: Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Jog for 10 minutes, walk for five minutes, jog for 10 minutes.
Day 3: Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Jog non-stop for 22 minutes.

Congratulations! You can now run 3.6km without stopping.

WEEK 7:
Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Jog for 25 minutes without pausing to walk. (By week 7 you will have gradually built your stamina. Running continuously for 25 minutes shouldn’t be an issue.) Congratulations! You can now run 4.2km without stopping.

WEEK 8
Start with a five-minute, brisk, warm-up walk. Jog for 30 minutes without stopping. (Yes, you have reached the final week and you can run for 30 minutes without a halt.)

Pat yourself on the back, you can now run 5km without stopping.

So find a running partner, or make a running playlist on your smartphone and head out to run. After two months of training, you are now ready to run in any 5km event. So register for the next 5K run in your city—it’s time to put the training to test!

This article originally appeared in The Label – Running your first 5k race

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