Your 5K Running Plan – Week 1


I don’t profess to be an expert at running. And one thing I’ve never been is a long-distance runner. When I say long-distance, I’m being a bit generous to myself. In truth, I’m not even a medium distance runner. I did a 10K back in April (yay for the Vancouver Sun Run!) and that was the longest I have ever run. 10Ks are my marathons :). I’m happy to do one every now and again but prefer to stick to 5Ks if I have the choice.

I haven’t been running much lately, as I injured my knee earlier this year and I have been advised by many doctors to avoid running and pursue other forms of exercise which are gentler on the body, so I tend to get my cardio from intense flow yoga classes or from incline walks on the treadmill or intervals on the gym’s cardio machines rather than running.

My knee, however, is starting to feel better, so I’m hoping to start running again. Of course, having been out of action for so long now, my running stamina will no doubt be terrible when I get back into it. Well, when I first started training for my very first 5K I used a training guide that I will no doubt be turning to again now that I am thinking of getting back into it – and I wanted to share it with you all!

The great thing about running is that it’s more natural to us than any other sport. It just involves moving our body, no gimmicks, no gadgets (though I will talk about gadgets as this series goes on as they are important!).

I believe that running is 90% mental and 10% physical, this plan is going to take things reallllllly slow, and ease you into it carefully. This is because if you push yourself too hard and then feel sick after your first run, it’ll be so hard to get yourself to go out again. The best thing is to make each run a pleasant experience that you remember fondly, so that you’ll be really excited to go out there again! You HAVE to listen to this quote:

I’m going to post my five-step training program over the next five weeks, one post a week, each Thursday. If you want to keep doing Step 1 or Step 2 for more than a week, DO SO. These posts will always be here for you to come back to when you’re ready to progress to the next step! Take it slowly, trust me…you’ll feel the difference. There’s no hurry to get there – everyone can run a 5K, no matter what your fitness level, so if it takes you 5 weeks or 20 weeks – or more – to get there, it’s all good!

Also, you will notice that it’s not just running in these plans. I incorporate gym workouts, yoga and other activities. You will get sick of it really fast if all you do is run every day, and these other workouts complement running – you need to build up muscle strength (which the weight training regimes will help with) and stretch out your muscles (with yoga) as running can get you really tight if you don’t stretch well, and you’ll be more prone to injuries.

Each week, after the week’s training plan I will include a “Spotlight on”, which will focus on providing information on something that can help out with your training progress.

DISCLAIMER: Before we get started, please note I am NOT a doctor or an expert of any sort in this field so you will need to consult a doctor before trying a new exercise plan. Please just be smart and listen to your body – rest when you need to! This is simply my training plan when I started running again, and I found it really beneficial so thought I would share :).

DAY 1: Get outside and do a 20-minute walk/run workout. Aim for a 60/40 split with walking/running – walk for 12 minutes of the 20 and run for 8. You can walk for 12 straight and run the last 8 or split it up like so:

Walk 2 mins (warm-up)
Run 1 min
Walk 2 mins
Run 1 min
Walk 4 mins
Run 2 mins
Walk 2 mins
Run 2 mins
Walk 2 mins (cooldown)

STRETCH (so important!)

I’m telling you, start slow!

DAY 2: Hit the gym. You want to work out your upper body a bit as you really use this when running, even if you don’t think you do. So do this circuit and then stretch really well afterwards!

15 bicep curls
15 bench tricep dips
15 bench press
15 reverse flyes
15 hammer curls
15 push-ups
15 lat pulldowns
15 assisted pull-ups
25 crunches
25 bicycle twists
25 reverse crunches


DAY 3: REST! This is your complete rest day – so try to rest as completely as possible.

DAY 4: Do a yoga class or yoga at home using a DVD or a routine from the Internet. Try to do a class such as a flow class or an energetic hatha, but nothing too draining – you’re running tomorrow!

DAY 5: Go for a run where you maintain the same pace the whole time (if this is brisk walking for you at this stage, that’s totally fine). You are aiming to run for 20 minutes straight. If you are able, try to work out how far you are managing to run in 20 minutes. We want to eventually work to get you to doing 2 miles in 20 minutes but this may take some time. If you’re just going one mile at the moment, that’s fine.

If you need help on working out how far you’re running, try MapMyRun – it’s genius!

And remember – afterwards, STRETCH!

DAY 6: Go to the gym for a 30-minute cardio circuit. This means doing 10 minutes on three different machines of your choice, at a level that challenges you. Spend the first 5 minutes at a slightly easier level to warm up, and return to this level in the final 5 minutes to cool down. STRETCH!

DAY 7: This is your active rest day. You can do a yin yoga class (intense stretching, but no real calorie burn) or go for a light walk around your neighbourhood. Whatever relaxes you but still gets you moving your body a little bit.

Remember, if you need to do this week’s plan for 2 or 3 weeks before moving on, do so! But if you are determined to get to that 5K in 5 weeks, meet me next Thursday for your Week 2 plan!


Running with music is a totally different ballgame than running without.

A playlist of your favourite songs can provide that much-needed motivational push when your body is starting to tire. I also find music distracting, so allow yourself to get lost in it so you are not paying so much attention to how far you’ve run or how tired you’re feeling.

Be careful though! One word of warning, particularly as we are trying to pace ourselves with this training plan: really uptempo songs can make you run faster than you should be, particularly if you’ve just set out on your run. I recommend using song’s bpm (beats per minute) measurement to select a playlist carefully. Choose slower songs to start and build up to quicker songs towards the end of your playlist, when you might be starting to tire.

(If you have some favourite songs in mind and want to know their bpm, just Google their name and ‘bpm’ and you should find it out pretty quickly!)

The best website? – tons of free running playlists available. Some do cost money but there’s tons of free ones that have been tried and tested by other runners!

Good luck and keep me posted! (By email, comments below, on Twitter or Facebook!)


  1. I don’t think I ever knew you were a runner, or it slipped my mind ; )

    I am not a runner, but have always thought to maybe try a race one day, who knows!

    Happy Thursday love! xoxo ❤

    • Happy Thursday! You should do a 5K – they’re a lot of fun because they feel less ‘competitive’ than longer races because you get lots of amateur runners out there so it’s so much fun! I wouldn’t call myself a runner either lol, as I’ve never been comfortable doing distances longer than 10K. But I used to train a bit more intensively, which is when I had this plan, and it does help! xx

  2. hey there! you asked on my blog (can’t figure out how to reply to comment on there) about my almond butter…so i thought i’d respond here! i buy Trader Joes Almond Butter – creamy with sea salt. And I store it in the fridge. I loooove this brand and I agree, it is super spreadable! Have a happy Thursday!

    • Oh great, thanks for letting me know Sara! We don’t have Trader Joe’s in Canada 😦 but I’ll do my best to remember to pick one up next time I cross the border and am in WA!

  3. I am not a runner at all, except occasionally on a nice day, which is usually followed with knee pain for days. So I try to stick to exercise that doesn’t hurt my knees, which is usually the elliptical or yoga. However, I really want to run a 5k, just to be a part of an event like that! What do you recommend is a good amount of time to sign up before a 5k if you only run 2 miles once a month? I’m hoping to sign up for something in the spring!

    • You’re still a runner! Any running makes you a runner, that’s what I say ;). But I too get knee pain, it’s so important to look after our knees. I’m not a doctor or at all qualified to make any recommendations but from my personal experience my knee really needed strengthening – my physio gave me some basic at-home exercises to do to strengthen the muscles surrounding it (clamshells was a major one – my side with the bad knee was so weak!) and that really helped.

      But mainly taking it really slow and easy, so yes, I think spring is great! You could probably do one even sooner but a) who wants to run in cold weather? and b) giving yourself more time is even better to all you to do it properly and slowly. Best of luck and keep me posted!

  4. Wow, this is impressive! I’m working on my running, I need to do better! Thanks for the plan, it so helps to have a schedule to keep you motivated and working towards something!

    • Good luck! I hope this plan helps some way, it’s good to set ourselves small, achievable goals, I find, and yes – a schedule helps for sure! Thanks Annie x

  5. i am starting to train for my first half marathon soon.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog recently. Are you interested in my Wasa giveaway? Would love to be able to include you.

    • Congrats to you – that’s awesome, a half marathon, wow! Thanks for letting me know, I’ll take a look at your giveaway!

  6. this is really helpful!

    i also love that quote about ‘it doesn’t matter how fast you go, you’re lapping the people on the couch’ (not correct haha) but its true. thats enough motivation

    • I’m glad you found it helpful! Yeah, those are just some cute Pinterest quotes I found but they definitely help with the motivation factor!

  7. Looks like a great plan you have!! I feel ya on the 10ks being my marathon. 😉 I also have knee issues, so I feel your pain! I hope it fully recovers soon.

    • Thanks Ashley! It’s slowly getting better but at the same time I’m trying not to run as much so as not to trigger it again – I love it but there are gentler exercises I like to mix in! Thanks for coming by!

  8. This is awesome! Love the pinterest quotes. I have just started running again after a break of a few years, and found that going reaaally slowly helps. If I feel embarassed about running so slowly when I see people I know drive(or sprint) past I tell myself that at least I am out there doing it while others are sitting at home on teir couch doing nothing.

  9. This is awesome. I’m hoping to start 5k’s after my injury is healed! I may have to try this!


  1. […] So we pick up our running plan (5 weeks to a 5K!) for Week 2. Click here for Week 1. […]

  2. […] So we pick up our running plan (5 weeks to a 5K!) for Week 2. Click here for Week 1. […]

  3. […] you with any preamble. You’ve been doing this for three weeks now, you know the drill – click here for Week 1, here for Week 2 and here for Week 3 plans. Let’s get to it for Week […]

  4. […] for Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4‘s training […]

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