Tackle Your First 5K With This Training Workout

If you want to become a runner but starting the process feels like the scariest thing ever, this workout can help you make it through.

5K Training Plan

When I was a teenager, I decided that I wanted to start running—for the first time, really. That was silly because I was a weightlifter. I had no idea where to start. I laced up my old sneakers and took off running out of my neighborhood. Needless to say, I only made it about one block. My face was beet red as the pavement emanated terrible heat. I was on fire, discouraged and out of breath.

Though running may be “hard,” there is a time and place for hard running. There are easier ways to get started than taking off at a fast, bat-out-of-hell pace.

One of the biggest misconceptions as a beginner runner is that running should be hard. In reality, when we start running, it should be easy.

The best advice I received as a beginner runner was to run easy. If running easy at the start was not, in fact, easy, then it was time to walk. The one key was to never give up. Each day, keep walking or running—and don’t quit. Fitness builds amazingly fast with one trick: consistency. Walking leads to jogging, and jogging leads to running.

The 5K is a great starting place for any aspiring new runner. I encourage athletes to get out there and tackle the 5K training run in a fun and exciting way. The workout below is an amazing confidence builder and will get those 3.1 training miles under your belt in no time.

Getting To Your First 3.1

  • Warm up: Walk 10 minutes.
  • 3x: Run 30 to 60 seconds at “speedy effort” pace, then walk four minutes easy at a purposeful pace
  • 3x: Run one minute at “steady effort” pace, then walk three minutes
  • 2x: Run one to two minutes at “easy effort” pace, then walk two minutes
  • 2x: Run one to two minutes at “easy effort” pace, then walk one minute
  • Finish with your run/walk intervals of choice until you reach 3.1 miles.

Meredith Atwood (@SwimBikeMomis a regular contributor to Women’s Running. She is a four-time IRONMAN triathlete, recovering attorney, motivational speaker and author of Triathlon for the Every Woman. She is also the host of the hit podcast The Same 24 Hours, a show which interviews interesting people who make the best of the 24 hours in each day. Meredith has two books coming out in the spring and fall of 2019. Read more at


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