I'm ready to progress from walking to running. How do I prepare for my first 5k race?"
From Tony Estes, certified personal trainer and coach for Fitness in Training of Topeka
If you’re an adult, over 30, and in fairly good physical condition, I’d suggest waiting to begin running until you can walk at least 45 minutes to one hour at a steady, energetic pace. Once you can do that, start by running for a specific amount of time (like one minute) and follow up with walking for a specific amount of time (like four or five minutes). Repeat this cycle multiple times for a total of 15 to 20 minutes at first. Gradually increase the total amount of cycles and time in the duration of your run/walk as you also gradually increase the amount of time that you run, while gradually deceasing the amount of time that you walk.
You can certainly do a run/walk in your 5K so find a race that interests you and set it as your goal. Once you complete it, find another 5K next month or the following month and see if you can improve your finish time as you continue to train in a pattern that allows you to reduce or eliminate your walking time as you increase your amount of running time. For the first few months, run on alternating days so that your body has time to recover well before you run again. Begin by running two to maybe three days per week and then gradually increase your run days if you so desire to a level that’s manageable for you and your schedule.
Most importantly, keep your running fun and make it a part of your lifestyle, think of it as a journey and not a destination.
Additionally, if you’re in doubt as to what to do, consult a professional who can design a training plan specifically for you or if you’re on a tight budget, look for training plans online or at the library.