Start running: 6 week training plan to accumulate up to 5000 (3.1 miles)

We all know that cardiovascular activities, like running, are great for your health. Adopting a running routine will improve your well-being on numerous levels, both physically and mentally. If you’re new to the race, or thinking about getting started, knowing where and how to start can be the most challenging aspects of getting up and starting. The best thing to do is set a goal and then put together an execution plan.

A great starting goal for beginning runners is a 5K run, which equates to 3.1 miles. Even if you don’t currently run, it can take as little as 6 weeks to train for one of these races. Most cities have 5K races on a regular basis and generally support good causes. However, just set a goal of running 3.1 miles in 6 weeks. So, set a goal on your sites and then follow this easy 6-week training plan.

Week 1

Exercise

This first week, you simply want to set up your sites to get off the couch and into motion. Start by simply selecting four days to jog or walk 0.5 miles. If you choose to walk, do so at as fast a pace as is comfortable.

Strengthening

You should also plan to do two days of light strengthening. Strength development is extremely important when training for a race, as it develops the muscles necessary for continuous running. You don’t need to lift a lot of weight and add volume. The weight of your own body or, light, free weights, will be more than enough. You can do it in the comfort of your own home with free weights or a yoga mat, or, if you have access to a gym, use its machinery.

Diet

During this first week it is a good idea to start adding healthy foods to your diet as well, and this will give you energy as you run. Avoid greasy and heavy foods that can make you tired and drain your energy. Foods like nuts, fruits, and vegetables are great for high nutritional energy.

Week 2

Exercise

Now that your first week has passed, increase your mileage to 1 mile three or four times this week. Try to run all the way if you can, even at a very slow pace. Make sure to stretch before and after, so you don’t pull any muscles.

Strengthening

Keep strengthening twice this week. Yoga is a great strength building activity as it is a total body workout that many overlook. It’s also a great exercise for runners as it stretches muscles that tend to tense up as running distance increases.

Diet

Keep adding healthy foods to your diet. You may also notice an increase in hunger as you exercise more. Definitely eat when you’re hungry, but keep in mind that running a mile only burns 100 calories, so eat wisely.

Week 3

Exercise

Add another half mile to your run. You have reached 1.5 miles now!

Strengthening

Continue to strengthen twice a week. You may want to add basic exercises, like planks or sit-ups. Make it a goal to plank for 30 seconds.

Diet

Keep adding healthy foods to your diet. Make sure you drink plenty of water before and after exercising.

Week 4

Exercise

You have reached the middle of six weeks! Just three weeks ago you couldn’t run at all. Now you can increase your mileage to two miles, three times a week.

Strengthening

Continue to strengthen twice a week. Try to iron for 45 seconds.

Diet

Consider making great tasting post-workout shakes. All you need is frozen fruit, a liquid, such as fruit juice or milk, and voila. Also consider adding vegetables to your smoothie, like spinach or kale, they are packed with antioxidants.

Week 5

Exercise

Almost there! Increase your mileage up to 2.5 miles this week. Now that you’re running longer distances, be sure to stretch really well before and after every workout.

Strengthening

Continue to strengthen twice a week. Try to iron for 60 seconds. Squats are great for building leg muscles for running.

Diet

As you run more, you may start to deplete your electrolytes. Try to replace them by drinking all-natural coconut water, which is high in potassium. Potassium is an essential electrolyte for runners.

Week 6

Exercise

Now you are ready for the final leg of your training. You’re up to 3 miles this week! Try running 3 times this week, giving yourself one day of rest and two days of strengthening. The day before running the 5K, it’s a good idea to do a short run, say 1 mile, just to keep your muscles warm.

Strengthening

You can continue to strengthen this week. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be sore on race day.

Diet

Keep eating healthy foods. One or two days before the race, make sure you don’t eat anything too heavy or out of the ordinary. You don’t want to have to deal with an upset stomach on race day.

Week 6+

Hopefully, after completing your 6 weeks of training, you feel great, both inside and out. Running can be truly transformative. Don’t stop at 5K. From here you can continue your running routine by maintaining a distance of 3 miles. Or, if you’re feeling more ambitious, you can set higher goals and start training for 10K (6.2 miles) and maybe even a Half Marathon (13.1 miles). Just keep increasing your mileage and pay attention to your runner’s diet and you’ll hit your next goal in no time!