No running experience? No problem. With this training schedule, beginners can ease into 5K training carefully and comfortably, building stamina (and maybe even a love for running!) at a steady, sane pace.

By: Anna D'Anna

Training Tips

  • This plan calls for 3 days of running/walking, 2 days of cross-training, and 2 days of strength training. You can move the days around as needed to fit your own schedule. Try to separate your run/walks with a rest or cross training day in between. You can also put your strength training on the same day as your run/walk or cross-training.
  • Always complete a 5-7 minute active warm up before training. This can include moves like pulling knees to chest, side lunges, straight leg kicks, etc.
  • Take a second day off per week, if necessary, depending on your fitness ability coming into the training. Don’t over-exert yourself—you’ll regret it later. And don’t skip those cross training days: cross training will help you to build your cardio ability, without using the same muscles as you do on a run/walk. 
  • Cross training means a 35-45 minute workout engaging different muscles. This can include swimming, cycling, a boot camp class, etc.
  • Strength training is a whole-body work out, with an emphasis on core/glute work. Strength train at least twice a week. This will help keep your ligaments strong and prevent injury. There are lots of good strength training guides available online or through your gym. 
  • Build up your running rate in baby steps. As you begin your training, find a running-to-walking ratio that works for you. Start with 1 minute of running followed by 1 minute of walking, then increase it to 2 minutes of running followed by 1 minute of walking. Your perceived effort on the run should be a 5 or 6 out of 10. You do not want to be breathing heavy. Keep a pace that’s between comfortable and slightly winded. Your walks should be easy enough so you can recover, but brisk enough that you are still walking with a purpose. As you do your run/walk intervals for 10-15 minutes on day 1, keep thinking about your perceived effort so you do not run too hard. Increase or decrease your run portion as needed, but try to keep the walk portion to no more than 1 minute.
  • After the first week, add in 5 minutes of additional walking time after you finish your run/walk intervals. This will help increase your distance.
  • Remember, running is hard on your body, so be kind to it. Build in time to stretch after runs, and do yoga-type classes to help with any tightness or discomfort. Here are some of my favorite stretches. Follow the plan and build your mileage gradually to keep your body safe and injury free.
  • As you get stronger, you can decrease your walk time if you want. 
  • Everyone’s feet are not the same. Invest in a good pair of sneakers and a few pairs of socks. For your first pair, go to a running store to be fitted for sneakers. Don’t just buy off the shelf!

 

Training Schedule

Week

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

Test
run/walk
10-15 minutes

Cross Train
20-30 minutes

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
1 mile

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
10-15 minutes

REST

2

Run/Walk
15 minutes
Walk 5 minutes

Cross Train
20-30 minutes

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
1 mile

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
15 minutes
Walk 5

REST

3

Run/Walk
15 minutes
Walk 5 minutes

Cross Train
20-30 minutes

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
1.5 miles

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
15 minutes
Walk 5

REST

4

Run/Walk
20 minutes
Walk 5 minutes

Cross Train
30 minutes

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
1.5 miles

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
20 minutes
Walk 5

REST

5

Run/Walk
20 minutes
Walk 5 minutes

Cross Train
30 minutes

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
2 miles

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
20 minutes
Walk 5

REST

6

Run/Walk
25 minutes
Walk 5 minutes

Cross Train
30 minutes

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
2 miles

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
25 minutes
Walk 5

REST

7

Run/Walk
25 minutes
Walk 5 minutes

Cross Train
30 minutes

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
2.5 miles

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
25 minutes
Walk 5

REST

8

Run/Walk
30 minutes
Walk 5 minutes

Cross Train
30 minutes

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
2.5 miles

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
30 minutes
Walk 5

REST

9

Run/Walk
30 minutes
Walk 5 minutes

Cross Train
30 minutes

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
3 miles

Strength Train
30 minutes

Run/Walk
30 minutes
Walk 5

REST

10

Run/Walk
35 minutes
Walk 5 minutes

Cross Train
30 minutes

REST

Run/Walk
2 miles

Cross Train
30 minutes

REST

REST

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Medical Disclaimer:
Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program. The contents in this guide are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to diagnose any medical condition, replace the advice of a healthcare professional, or provide any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Anna D'Anna photo & logo
Anna D’Anna is a personal trainer who takes a personal interest in the success others pursue toward athletic goals. Twenty-four years ago she left a successful career on Wall Street to pursue her true passion – and she’s never looked back. She readily shares her knowledge and experience to inspire others – whether they are seeking a more active lifestyle, or training competitively.
She began teaching Spin classes (and quickly gained a following of cyclists) nearly 20 years ago after being certified by Johnny G’s premier Master Presenter Josh Taylor.  As a personal trainer and group fitness professional, she is certified by ACE and AFAA – nationally accredited certifying agencies committed to delivering science-based health and fitness instruction. Anna is also certified Heart Zones Level III instructor. Beneficial to both those who seek her out in fitness classes and those she trains individually, Anna is also certified in Watts training, TRX, and CPR. Additionally, Anna is a USAT certified triathlon coach and race director.  Anna has been quoted in Runner's World magazine and referenced in “Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Health and Exercise.”  In 2007 Anna co-founded a regional women’s training community that emphasizes shared experiences and fosters a culture of camaraderie and support.
In her personal time, Anna is an avid road cyclist and has recently challenged herself to mountain biking. Anna has completed five marathons (three in NYC, her hometown) and hopes to qualify to run the Boston Marathon one day. She volunteers her time and energy for numerous community organizations and enjoys cheering others on at races, rides, and triathlons. She resides in NJ with husband, Todd, and their rescue-lab, Jax.