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Beginner to 5km training plan

Having a goal at the start of any exercise programme can be a great motivator and, in many cases, can make the difference between sticking with it or giving up.


For someone starting an exercise programme for the first time or just getting back into exercise after a long break it can be a difficult and daunting experience. How much should I do? How far should I run? What pace should I run at? What rest should I have between runs? These are all common questions, so if you have asked yourself any of them, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
The good thing about starting a beginner’s programme is that the terms ‘walk’ and ‘rest’ are used quite a lot! Once you have decided on the event you want to take part in, you should work backwards to create a programme based on the lead-in time.
This sample programme lasts eight weeks and is aimed at getting you to the 5km finish line. It assumes that you have no major health problems, are in reasonable shape, and have, perhaps, done some jogging or walking beforehand. This programme is only a suggestion and should be adapted to suit your work and home life and the days of the week that are most convenient for you to exercise. As with all exercise programmes, you should always do some gentle warm-up exercises beforehand and some stretching exercises to cool-down afterwards. If you have read this far then you have taken the first steps towards getting fit for the 5km run! Happy running!

  • Walk: Brisk walking pace (faster than walking to the newsagents).
  • Jog: Gentle running (able to chat easily throughout).
  • Walk/Jog: Periods of walking followed by periods of jogging (vary the times and number of walks and jogs depending on total target time/distance).
  • Run: Faster pace than jogging but still able to chat (not continuously though).
  • Rest: Either a day off exercise completely or other exercise such as swimming, aerobics or cycling.

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