Spark Your Way to a 5K

Running or walking a 5K (3.1-mile) race is a fun and realistic goal for exercisers of all fitness levels. If you're ready to train for your first 5K, but not sure where to start, don't worry! SparkPeople's certified trainers have created three different training programs to help walk or run a 5K based on where you are right now!

Our 5K Your Way Challenges provide daily workouts, tips to make the most of your training experience, and support from other members who are following the same plan. Choose from three training programs (walking, walk/jog intervals, running)! You can also progress from one program to the next, starting with walking and then moving to walk/jog intervals and then to running, as a safe way to slowly increase your level of fitness. Click on a plan below to get started today!

5K Your Way Walking Challenge
If you want to walk your first 5K, or are newer to fitness, this plan is for you. You should be able to walk for 15 continuous minutes before starting this training plan. If that sounds like you, then get ready to walk a 5K in less than 5 weeks by following this plan! (Need help getting there? Start with this walking challenge first.)

5K Your Way Walk/Jog Challenge
This intermediate training program uses walk/jog intervals. It's perfect for exercisers who can already walk for 25-30 continuous minutes, and want to start incorporating running into their workouts. If that sounds like you, then get ready to walk/jog a 5K in less than 5 weeks!

5K Your Way Running Challenge
Are you ready to go from walk/jog intervals to running a 5K? This program is perfect for casual runners who can already walk/jog for 30 minutes and are ready to kick things up a notch. Follow this plan to run a 5K in less than 5 weeks!
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Member Comments

Absolutely great Report
Good article. Report
Thanks Report
Thanks for the tips! Report
Thanks Report
I plan to do a 5K this summer. It will be my first even though I normally walk 4 or 5 miles per day. But not all at once. Report
perhaps one day I will.. for now just enjoy walking Report
I am putting walking a 5K on my bucket list for 2018. Just need to find a buddy to do it with me. I know I am more likely to do it with a buddy, than "i am to do it alone. Report
I'd need one where everybody used walkers. Report
Good guide if I ever go to train for a race. Report
Ready to try a 5k Report
great advice Report
Let’s do it. Report
Anything is possible Report
In the UK we have C25K NHS Choice podcasts available( see
/couch-to-5k.aspx) for a novice runner to learn how to pace the art of running. It is like having your own Personal Trainer in your ear as you venture out.

I started the program the first Sunday in July 2017 (the month of my 67th birthday) having failed attempts to run in my 30s, 40s, and 50s due to not understanding the need for pacing (the walk/run principle).

My first week, day 1 of 1 minute runs with 3 minute walks, was exhausting - I really struggled to achieve that first day. I was hooked by the end of week two! Just follow what Laura says in your ear and you cannot fail with this. At the end of the 9 weeks I could comfortable run 3k but struggled for the 5k comfort zone.

The outcome - so far - I ran my first 13.1 miles on Sunday - and I can still walk today :) and compete in my first half marathon on the 18th March. So exciting.

If I can do it, then you can do it. Happy running everyone. It will give you such a sense of achievement. Trust what Laura says in your ear - if you struggle on one week - just repeat it until your muscles and your mind adjust. YOU CAN DO IT :) It will only be your mind that stops you.



About The Author

Jen Mueller
Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist, behavior change specialist and functional training specialist. She is also a RRCA-certified running coach. See all of Jen's articles.
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