Don’t think you can run a 5 km? Try this easy 6-week program

For something as simple as running, it’s surprisingly hard to put one foot in front of the other. When we start out, it feels like countless barriers stand in our way. The other runners seem so well-seasoned and professional, it can be intimidating. Staying motivated is difficult while giving up is easy.

Sometimes it pays to be organized. This six-week program is designed to take you all the way from a sedentary or inactive lifestyle to your first 5 km race – and the journey isn’t as difficult as you might think. The program is easy to follow, adaptable to every fitness level and, above all else, fun.

Walk before you run

The program eases you in gradually – you quite literally walk before you run. The idea is that you shouldn’t strain yourself – substitute a slow, steady jog for a faster pace run, and only add incremental speed when you feel comfortable. Jogging at a manageable pace is not only more enjoyable; it also makes your next session less intimidating. Push yourself to go further, but don’t overextend. Listen to your body.

Plan your work, work your plan

Goal-oriented fitness plans work. Building towards a goal makes each incremental bit of progress feel more significant and satisfying. And it’s easy to stay motivated if you share your goals with family and friends; tell everyone you’re committed, and you’ll find yourself working harder to prove yourself right.

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Since you’ve set yourself a goal, you may as well do it right. Get cleared by your doctor first; share your plan and goals, and have him or her assess for any potential health problems. This is doubly important if you don’t currently exercise or have any pre-existing medical conditions. And take care to find a good pair of well-fitting running shoes.

Get up to speed in no time

A 5 km race only sounds daunting. With time and a refocused mindset, you’ll find yourself hitting your stride before you realize it. On top of the multitude of obvious physical benefits, you’ll reduce your stress levels, build confidence, and just feel better. A few thirty-minute sessions each week, and you’ll see that your neighborhood runners aren’t so different from you.

All that’s left to do is start. Let those feet hit the pavement, keep hydrated and enjoy the scenery; the fullness of the world might surprise you!