Understand Your Running Condition Before Running a 5K

This time of year is a great time of year to sign up for a 5K race.  if you have decided to run in a 5K, then you will need to incorporate a training plan.  One of the first things that I suggest to do is assess your running condition.  Answer the following questions in order to find out where you are as a runner.

Assessment to Determine Running Condition for 5K Training

5K Assessment Question 1)

Can you run 10 minutes without having to catch your breath? (Yes or No)

Is Your Answer Yes?
If you answered yes to this question, then go on to question 2.

Is Your Answer No?
If you answered ‘No’, then I would consider you a ‘newbie’ runner, or a beginner runner. Don’t sweat the title. We all have to start somewhere, right?   And, you are making a decision to do work hard and get better.  But now you know your condition, and we can give you a running schedule.

I have written a running schedule for beginners that will help you get started as a runner as well as your 5K training.  You can view the running schedule at the llnk provided.

Given that running 10 minutes gives you trouble, you will be somewhere on this newbie running schedule.  If you can hardly run at all, then you will be on week one, and if you can run a couple minutes you need to start a few weeks ahead.

At the end of the newbie running schedule, you will be able to run and walk intermittently for twenty minutes, or about two miles.  If you complete this schedule, you would be in reasonable shape to finish a 5k, but you would just need to run and walk intermittently as you have been in your training.

After you complete the running schedule for beginners, you may want to come back here to reassess your condition.  But, most likely after you finish this schedule you will move onto the transition running schedule.  The transition running plan is a 5 week plan will take you from being able to run and walk two miles intermittently to be able to complete a 5k run (3.1 miles)without walking.

5K Assessment Question 2)

If you answered yes to question number 1;  Can you also run 3 miles (about 30 minutes) without stopping?  (Yes or No).

Is Your Answer Yes?
If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, then you already are able to finish a 5K race. Go on to  Question 3.

Is Your Answer No?
If you answered ‘No’ to this question, but yes to question 1, then you are in the ‘transition’ zone.  In other words, you are in better shape than a beginner, but you still are not able to finish a 5k race without walking.

5K Assessment Question 3) 

Do you want to improve your 5k time?

Is Your Answer Yes?

If your answer is yes to question 3, then you can run a 5k, but you now just want to improve your time.  If you are in this category, then your goal is to be a competitor.

You are on the right track to doing well in the 5k, and we will be providing you with some competitive training advice including running workouts, competitive 5k training plan here.

For now, I suggest that you have a regular running routine similar to week 13 in the transition running plan. Run 3 mile runs 3 days a week, and a couple of days of walking or cross training as well.  You may want to consider adding some running workouts, and longer distance runs to mix it up a little.

Is Your Answer No?  
If you answered no to Question 3, then it could mean a variety of things.  Here are some possibilities:

* You do not care about race times.

Maybe you just want to be able to run a 5k race socially, and enjoy it.  I would consider you a recreational runner in this case.  That is no problem. I would recommend to maintain a regular running routine similar to week 13 in the transition running plan. 3 mile runs 3 days a week, and a couple of days of walking or cross training as well.  You may want to consider adding some running workouts, and longer distance runs to mix it up a little.

*  You want to increase your distance.

Maybe you do not want to run a 5k at all.  Instead, do you want to move up to the 10K race?  Or perhaps you want to move up to a marathon distance. If so, then I would encourage you to chase those goals. For now, you will need to find another resource to help with those training goals such as marathon training academy.

Start Your 5k Training 

Knowing your running condition is an important part of training for a 5k race or any race. Now that you have assessed your running condition you should understand whether you are a newbie runner, a transition runner, or a competitive runner.  In addition, you were able to select a running schedule to match your running condition.

Now you just have to get motivated and go train for the 5k race.

Need to modify our running schedule?  
Note that It will be important to adjust your running plan to meet your unique needs.  You can download the spreadsheet version of the schedule which will allow you to do just that.  If you want to download this spreadsheet version of the running schedules, just sign up to the Start Running newsletter here.
What do you think? 

What is your running condition?  Do you know what you need to do to train for your 5k race? 

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