Hal Higdon: 5-K--Novice:This Novice 5-K Training Plan is designed for beginning runners or for runners who want to take a low-mileage approach to their training. Never run before? This one's for you. If you are an experienced runner, who has run several 5-K or 10-K races before, you might want to consider my Intermediate, or even Advanced, 5-K programs before clicking the Purchase button. When you do, you will receive daily email messages telling you what to run along with tips on training. For more information and details, visit my website: halhigdon.com.
This program works best if you have a goal 5-K in 8 weeks. Set that race as your end date and use it as a focus of your training. Even if you do not have a goal 5-K at the end of 8 weeks, Hal Higdon's 5-K Novice program is a great way to begin your life as a runner.
Run 1.5 miles. Over the next eight weeks, you will progressively add a quarter mile to your longest runs until you peak with 3 miles in the seventh and eighth weeks. Take this workout seriously. Use 3 to 5 minutes before you begin for some easy stretching and consider adding strength training to your routine too.
Run the same distance that you did on Tuesday: 1.5 miles. Are you experiencing any sore muscles? You may, particularly if you never have done any training before. This is natural. One way to prevent sore muscles (what scientists call DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is to not train too hard. Or at least not train too much harder than you have done before. That is one reason for following a graduated training program like this.
This is the third day of the week that you are being asked to do a 1.5-mile run. If that seems repetitious, look at the full schedule and you'll realize that mileages for different days will change as we continue to get you ready for your 5-K race. Please note that in suggesting how long it takes you to run or walk any specific distance in this program, I assume that everybody runs at the same 10:00 pace. This, of course, is not true. Adjust your pace and training goals accordingly.
Sundays are reserved for walking workouts. Some people might not call this cross-training, but I do. Any aerobic exercise qualifies as cross-training in this program. Walk between 30 and 60 minutes. If not used to long distance walking, begin with 30 minutes today. The length of time you walk will increase in succeeding weeks, although I suggest 60 minutes as a top level.
Here's a common stretch for the calf muscles popular among runners. Pick a tree, wall or solid object and brace yourself with your hands, chin high, feet positioned a foot or more back, heels on the ground. Then lean into the tree.
The Tuesday workouts will not change greatly. Running a quarter mile further today takes you up to 1.75 miles. Adding a quarter mile each Tuesday for the next half dozen weeks also doesn't seem like much, but it will allow you eventually to run 3 miles, and complete a 5-K race. See my comments on Thursday and Saturday for measuring distance.
Strength training is particularly important if you fit into one or more of three groups: 1) female, 2) skinny person, 3) old guy, like me. But even if not, I suggest you train with weights to improve your general fitness.