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5k race?

I have never ever been a runner, but I know people who learn to love it, and they seem to stay in great shape. I think the only way I can get myself to continually run is to have a specific goal for a specific date.

Typically, I say "I'm going to start running," and over the course of a week or so, I go to the gym 3-4 times and run on the treadmill, usually doing intervals of 6mph running and 4mph walking. I can run a mile straight, but then I am very tired. After the week, usually I get busy with something, or tired, and stop going. A month or two later, I do it again.

I'm thinking of signing up for a 5k race, so that I have a goal to work towards. There's one in my city (Chicago) on March 16th, for St. Paddy's Day. Today is Feb. 1. I am not just coming off of a week of training, but rather close to a month of pretty much nothing.

I'm not overweight or particularly out of shape.

Is 6 weeks enough to train for such a race, given that I have never run 5k in my life? The furthest I have ever run consecutively is 1.2 miles, on a treadmill. Also, given the Chicago weather, it is unlikely that I'll be doing much training outside, so most of it will be on a treadmill.

Any advice?

Fri. Feb 1, 1:21pm

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i think it might be doable. there are lots of good resources out there for new runners. I attached a link (hopefully) for a "couch to 5k" training plan from i think the key is to not overdo the training. go slowly so that you 1) dont hurt yourself and 2) dont burn out. even if you run 2 miles and walk 1 mile of the upcoming race, it is still a huge accomplishment!



Friday, February 01, 2008, 1:30 PM

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I know you said you're just coming off a month of couch potatoness, but it really does depend on your cardio fitness level at this point. If it's pretty good, then it's just a matter of getting used to the motion and impact of running, so it shouldn't be a problem.

The Couch-to-5K programs are pretty much set up for longer than 6 weeks of training, but in general, you need to do intervals of running and walking - start off easy alternating 1 minute of each for 20-30 minutes and base your next workout on how difficult you found that. After a few weeks, really work on that first running interval because once you get that to about 8 minutes, it becomes exponentially easier to get to a full 5K.

Treadmill-only is fine. If you get a lucky weather day, by all means go outside but don't let it stop you. Just bear in mind that most people are slower on the road than on a treadmill, and faster in a race than in a practice run. It's good to have an idea of your time so you know which section to put yourself in (city races tend to get greater participation and will separate you by your pace, e.g. a 10-minute mile).

Friday, February 01, 2008, 2:04 PM

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If you're already able to run a mile you'll totally be able to a 5k in two months. I think setting a goal is the BEST way to make a committment to running. I'm fairly new to running and LOVED my first 5k in November!!! It was just an amazing experience that I now call myself a runner and do my best to run 3-4 days a week (even training for a 10k and beyond). Let me suggest you check out the Marathon Mamas team here on PT. There are links on that team for varying levels of running including some 5k plans that you can tweak to meet you were you are today. And they are really supportive ladies. If nothing else check out there community section because it does have some good plan.

Sign up for the race. You'll be more likely to stick to the running! Enjoy!

Friday, February 01, 2008, 2:16 PM

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OP here -

Thanks so much for everyone's great advice!

I think what I need to do is to make up a running schedule, based on the couch-to-5k, but compressed, and stick to it. I've "run" 5k before, during my interval training, but with a bunch of walking in between (so, 3.2 miles of running, over the course of, say, 4.5 miles total). So, yes, I think I can do it. I just need to make a schedule that I can stick to.

Thanks again for the support!!

Friday, February 01, 2008, 2:43 PM

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I have run ton's of 5k's and 4 marathons. I would say DO IT, what is the worst that will happen - you will walk, you will be better than everyone who didn't even try.
Trust me you will love it and will be very inspired to see all shapes, sizes and ages. Good luck!

Friday, February 01, 2008, 3:46 PM

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I agree w/ poster above go for it...I am a runner, for 15 years 6 marathons, 13 half and countless 5 and 10ks, it is a love and passion of mine, please keep us posted. I'll tell you if nothing else you will meet amazing people, ya never no who you may inspire that day, so when are you signing up?

Friday, February 01, 2008, 6:33 PM

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RE: 5k?

I went to and got a training plan called "Beginner Training Plan: 6 weeks to 5k". I'm hoping to run one on May 24th, so I'm planning to cycle through the training twice.

Saturday, February 02, 2008, 10:08 PM

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OP here -

I did my first "run" on Feb. 4th, and since then, have done 7 "runs." I developed a plan of my own, loosely based on the Couch to 5k plan. My first run consisted of two 4-minute runs, two 3-minute runs, and two 2-minute runs (all at 10mph), with 1-2 minute "recovery" periods of walking in between.

My most recent run consisted of two 8-minute runs, three 6-minute runs, and one 4-minute run, for a total of 3 miles run, with 1-2 minute recovery periods between.

I think I am on a good track for the race, which is Sunday, March 16th. I just signed up today, and paid my money. I can't believe I'm actually getting there! I feel like I'm getting close already! And, oddly, I'm starting to like running! Something I never thought possible!!

Any advice is still appreciated!

Monday, February 18, 2008, 2:00 PM

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That's awesome! I signed up for one beginning of April. I started the beginning of January not even able to run a 1/2 mile, and now I'm up to 1.5 miles running, and running most of the last 1/2 mile of my 2 miles I do every day. I started with a version of couch to 5K - I run as far as I can, then alternate run/walk for the rest of my 2 miles. Now that I'm almost running 2 miles I'm going to up it to 3! :-)

Good luck - and stick too it! THAT is the most important part. I aim to run 5 days a week, but have learned to be happy with 3. If it's less than 3, then I really beat myself up and make me do it!

Nike+ - the little thing you attach to your ipod has really helped my motivation to see what I run each day!


Monday, February 18, 2008, 2:22 PM

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because of reading this post the last few weeks I jumped on the treadmill yesterday and "ran a 5K" just to see if I could do it. I have been running at various levels 5.3-6.0 on the treadmill for 20-30 min 1-2 times a week for about 8 weeks, until about 3 weeks weeks ago when I started doing other cardio machines at the gym - nothing gave me the feeling that running does! I think I am going to start running outside now that the weather is better and enter for a real race.

Monday, February 18, 2008, 3:22 PM

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OP here -


Just had to tell someone! Yesterday I ran my first 5k race, and I ran the whole thing (no walking). It was cold out - about 30* when the race started - so I had a great excuse to skip it, but I didn't! Times aren't posted yet, but I finished in somewhere between 31 and 32 minutes, so pretty much right on pace for 10-minute miles, or maybe a teeny bit slower.

There were time clocks at each mile, so I know that I ran mile 2 and mile 3 at a 10-minute mile pace, but I'm not sure about mile 1, b/c I don't know exactly how long it took before I crossed the starting line. Then, it was a little slow as everyone figured out where in the pack they should be running. So I know I lost any/all time in the first 1/4 mile or so.

But, I DID IT!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008, 10:50 AM

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Congrats, OP! YOU DID IT!!

Monday, March 17, 2008, 3:10 PM

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My "official" time was 31:22, or, 10:07 per mile. Not bad!

Monday, March 17, 2008, 3:48 PM

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job well done

way to set a goal and make it! I'll be trying for my first race (a 10k) in may. =)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 12:05 PM

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