Going for a 5k run may not have been top of the hobby list before Covid-19 lockdown kicked in, but oh how things have changed!
With outdoor exercise being one of the only times we can actually leave our homes right now, it seems that more of us than ever have caught the running bug. But if you’re a newbie, and find yourself wanting to work up to a 5k run, how do you go about it?
Starting a 5k challenge is great if you’re worried about running and don’t know where to start, because you can build up to it easily and slowly. There’s no need to panic that you’re not fit enough or that you don’t know what to do, all you need is to decide that you want to do a little exercise every day to see some real results.
We spoke to the experts to show you just how easy it is to train for a 5k, even if you can’t remember the last time you went for a run (in fact, even if you’ve never been for a run before!).
What does the 5k training plan involve?
Our 30-day to 5k challenge is a walk/run workout where you’ll have a little exercise to do for each day. Each exercise is outlined along with specific ‘prehab’ exercises that serve as an intelligent ‘muscle-activating’ warm up before you hit the road!
The 5k challenge
Getting started with your 5k plan couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is download your own 30-day to 5k challenge using the link below, print it off and stick it up somewhere that will motivate you to do your daily exercise. We’ve even included easy-to-follow exercises, so you’ll know exactly what to do. Ready, set, go!
5k training plan – and strength moves
It couldn’t be easier to master the additional moves, simply follow the images and instructions below.
1. Static bridge holds
Lie on your back with your feet close to your butt. Draw your tummy muscles in and consciously clench your bottom before pushing through your heels to lift your hips off the floor, towards the ceiling.
Once you reach the top of the movement hold there for 30 seconds while ensuring both tummy muscles and butt muscles stay activated. Lower to the floor to rest after 30 seconds before repeating for 2 more sets.
2. Static plank
Lying on your front, bring our elbows underneath your shoulders before pulling your tummy muscles in and lifting yourself up onto your toes and elbows. Hold this ‘plank’ position for 30seconds (if able to hold without losing tummy muscle activation). If this is too difficult regress to a safer position with your knees on the floor.
Running 5K – 5 tips to get started
Charlotte Arter is Saucony UK ambassador. Here she shares her tips for running your first 5k.
Charlotte explains that when training for your first 5k run, you don’t have to complete a 5k straight off: ‘I recommend new runners try and vary their training and build themselves up from there. So for instance, your first run might be built around duration looking at being out for around the 20 to 25 minutes rather than focusing on the distance you cover alone.’
She adds: ‘Into these runs, I recommend you build in intervals of running and walking to get your confidence and then go from there. Once you’ve mastered running for a minute and then walking for a minute, you can start to increase the time you spend running and look to increase your distance at the same time.’
Nutracheck Fitness Expert Kelly Marshall, agrees: ‘Starting to run can be a scary concept, but the key is following a systematic, progressive plan to support your body and get it accustomed to impact and an increasing distance.’
1) Always warm up
The key to running, regardless of your set distance or time you want to be out for is to always do a warm-up first. ‘I recommend doing a jog for five minutes and including a fun heart raiser like jumping jacks to get everything mobile,’ says Charlotte.
2) Keep it interesting
When starting out as a runner with your first 5k in mind, it’s important to keep things fresh and that includes the routes that you run. The last thing you want to do is get bored of running when you’ve only just begun!
Charlotte explains: ‘Running is a great way to get to know your area, so make sure you are making the most of it. A great way to find out the best routes would be through apps like Strava and MapMyRun where other runners share their favourite loops.’
3) Set yourself goals
Charlotte tells us: ‘This can be short term and long term – it always helps to have something tangible to work to. Once you meet your goal of running for a longer period of time without walking and then eventually running a 5k distance without stopping, your next target can be improving on your time for the 5k.
‘The main thing is not to rush to meet your goals and to always look back on what you have achieved, big or small, they are all achievements! ‘
4) Consistency is king
This is really important. ‘Everyone lives such busy lives, but if you can establish a weekly routine where you’re running regularly that makes a huge difference to your end result and meeting your personal goals,’ explains Charlotte.
‘Sometimes the last thing you might want to do is pull on your trainers, but the feeling of achievement and endorphin release after a run (of any distance) makes it all worth it.’
5) Think about your fuel
You may find that if you go out first thing, you don’t need any food beforehand. But often, eating an hour or two before exercise can help boost your performance. Charlotte reveals that she typically has a bowl of porridge. ‘Making sure you are hydrated long before going out on a run or any form of exercise is also key,’ she adds.
Fitness expert Kelly Marshall adds ‘It’s true that you can’t out-train a bad diet. To get the maximum benefit from your 5k plan, you need to make sure your nutrition is as focused as your exercise. The Nutracheck App is a must-have tool if you want to monitor your diet and track your calorie intake’.
If you are trying to lose a few pounds as well as tone up, the Nutracheck calorie counter App and website can help. Enter all the activity you do in the exercise diary and see how many calories you’ve burn. Record everything you eat in the Nutracheck food diary – the App is super-fast to use – and get the balance right to lose weight