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5k Training: 4 Weeks to Go

March 26, 2012


Guest Blogger Drew Slone, Girls on the Run of Atlanta Board Member and Fitness Instructor

Your daughter has finished 8 weeks of lessons and 5k training.  She’s bubbling with excitement about the upcoming Girls on the Run Atlanta 5K race.   You think to yourself, “Hey, maybe I can run this too…If only the 5K wasn’t in 4 weeks!”  Never fear!  Even if you’ve spent your winter in hibernation, you can still finish the GOTR Atlanta 5K.  What better feeling will there be than crossing the finish line with your daughter and celebrating both your victories?   We’ve got a training plan that will get you across the finish line.

The training plan is simple and designed just to get your body moving.  As Runner’s World’s John Bingham says, “The miracle isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”  Who knows?  These next 4 weeks could be the start of a healthy addiction to running.   Your workouts for the week are as follows:


Week 1:

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: Run/Walk at an easy pace for 15-20 minutes

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Run/Walk at an easy pace for 20 minutes

Friday: Run/Walk at an easy pace for 20 minutes

Saturday: Run/Walk at an easy pace for 25-30 minutes


The focus this week should be on just finishing these runs.  Try to set a plan for how many minutes you will try to run before walking.  Some programs, such as Jeff Galloway’s suggest using a 1 minute run, 1 minute walk system and increasing the run time as your fitness level increases.  Keep track of this so you can watch your progress over the next 4 weeks.  When pacing your runs, note these tips from Galloway:

  • Don’t wait to take walk breaks. By alternating walking and running from the beginning, you speed recovery without losing any of the endurance effect of the long one. Start with jogging one to two minutes and walking two to three minutes. As your training level increases you can adjust your run/walk ratio to running 5 minutes/walking one minute on your long runs.
  • Be sure to do the running portion slow enough at the beginning of every run (especially the long run) so that you’ll feel tired but strong at the end. The conservatism will allow you to recover faster.
  • Stay conversational on all of your exercise sessions. This means that you should be exerting yourself at a low enough level that you could talk. It’s okay to take deep breaths between sentences, but you don’t want to “huff and puff” between every word.

Atlanta has skipped from winter to summer, so it’s a great time to get outside and run.  The beautiful weather will make your 5k training that much more enjoyable (even if you are running through a cloud of pollen).   Remember, however, that when the temperature rises, the average runner’s pace will slow down.  Lace up those sneakers and take these next 4 weeks as time to explore Atlanta on foot—you may discover a hidden gem.

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