by Jeff Galloway @ Runner’s World
Nearly every weekend you’re bound to find a local 5-K event. Put one—or two or three!—on your schedule this season, and you’ll gain far more than an impressive collection of finisher’s medals. That’s because training for an event is a great way to stoke your motivation to run, hone your mental focus, and improve your running form and fitness. The following plans will help you reach any race-day goal.
GOAL: JUST FINISH
An ideal target for beginner runners, those who have been running very sporadically, or those coming off a long layoff
TRAIN FOR IT: Do two 30-minute easy runs during the week. On weekends, increase your long run by a half-mile each week until it’s a half-mile longer than the race distance (so 3.6 miles for a 5-K). Do your long runs about three minutes per mile slower than your weekday runs.
GOAL: FINISH STRONG
A good objective for runners who have completed at least one race
TRAIN FOR IT: On one of your two 30-minute weekday runs, pick up the pace for the last mile, then walk for five minutes to cool down. Increase your weekend long run to two miles farther than race distance.
GOAL: IMPROVE YOUR TIME
Ideal for runners who have finished a few races and are ready for the next level
TRAIN FOR IT: Take your average pace per mile from your last race, and divide it by four. That’s your race pace per quarter-mile. Once a week, warm up, then run once around a track (400 meters) at a pace 10 seconds faster than race pace per quarter-mile. Walk half a lap. Repeat the sequence four times. Each week, add two 400s until you can run 12. Increase your long run to four miles farther than race distance.
No matter what your experience level, everything you need to run your first or fastest 5-K, 10-K, half-marathon, or marathon is inside the Runner’s World Guide to Road Racing. Order today.