Becoming a runner doesn't have to mean spending a ton of time doing grueling or hardcore workouts. In fact, if you have a decent plan, all it takes is committing to a few workouts per week! That's why we asked Jason Fitzgerald, USATF-certified running coach, 2:39 marathoner, and founder of Strength Running, to put together a four-week plan that will get you ready for a 5K — even if you're really not a runner (like, at all).
A couple of things to do before you get started:
1. Consider investing in a decent pair of running sneakers. Go to a specialty store and get fitted for sneakers that will support the way you run. You can do this on the cheap(er) by getting fitted and then shopping online for last year's model of whatever is recommended for you. And if you're not sure what shoes are right for you, that's OK! We worked with running experts to put together this guide to finding your perfect running shoe.
2. Take a look at the challenge schedule for the next week. At the start of every week, we'll send you the next week's workout schedule so you can plan ahead. Figure out exactly when you're going to be able to do each workout and what might need to shift around in your schedule to fit them in. They're not too time-consuming — most will take less than 30 minutes — but you're less likely to bail on a workout if you've legit planned for it. Plan to take one rest day between workout days (in other words, don't do your three workout days all in a row).
3. Take a few minutes to read through these tips for new runners. It'll help you set some expectations and mentally prepare yourself.
4. Trust your training and the programming that Coach Jason put together. Each workout was created to help you cross a 5K finish line when it's all said and done. If you're new to running, a 5K may sound intimidating, and like something you need way more mileage and experience under your belt to do. But as long as you train smart, you'll be fine. As Coach Jason explains: "Just like you only run about 20 miles before a marathon and can still finish 26.2, you can run for 25 to 30 minutes and still be able to finish a 5K, even if you're doing it in 35-40 minutes."
And with that, here are some introductory words from your coach:
"I'm thrilled you've taken the first step to start running! I can't promise that running will always be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. As you begin this journey, keep that in mind. Your success depends on consistency over time (not one hard workout or long run), so be patient, enjoy the process, and think in terms of weeks rather than days. You'll barely recognize yourself in a few months if you stick to a consistent running program!"
We'll get started tomorrow with an awesome warm-up routine and a 10-minute run/walk! You're going to do great!