If you’re like me, you used to hate running. Everything about it. The panting, the cramps, the sniffly nose when it’s cold. But somehow, by some miracle, I’ve come to like running now that I’m older. And by some even BIGGER miracle, I’ve decided to start training for my first 5K. See? Even people who hate running can like running.
I’ve been following Hal Higdon‘s training program that I found through a simple Google search. There are different levels you can start at (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Walk) and I chose Novice, which is for people who have run before but not long distances. No matter which level you are, Higdon provides an 8-week program that has you walking/running about every other day, with rest days thrown in as well.
The Novice level begins with a 1.5 mile run during week one. You run 1.5 miles three days out of your first week. The next week you run 1.75 miles three days a week, the next week 2 miles, etc. Each week you increase your distance by .25 miles and you don’t worry about your speed. As long as you get your distance in, you should be set to run a 5K by week eight!
The Intermediate and Advanced levels allows experienced distance runners to increase their speed and score a better time in their race. Maybe one day I’ll be at one of these levels, but certainly not yet.
I’m currently in my second week of training and it’s been great so far. Not as hard as I imagined it would be, but also not easy. You really have to make sure you stay on top of your runs otherwise you’ll have to drag out your program for more than eight weeks. And that is perfectly fine if you aren’t pressed for time, but I’d rather stick to the program and make progress faster. 🙂
If you’re looking to get into better shape, or condition yourself as a runner, I recommend this program, or any of Higdon’s other training programs. He also offers 8K, 10K, 15K, half marathon and marathon training programs. If you’re willing to kick your own ass for 8 weeks or so, I think you’ll be proud of your results.