Training for 5K Run Sept. 4th - Advice Sought

  • Our village holds an annual fair on Labor Day, including a carnival, parade, etc. and includes a series of runs and walks this year.  Don't think I'm up for the 10K run, but the 5K seems manageable.  Any advice?  Should I give up weights for a while?  Should I perhaps continue LB weights only? How much should I run daily / weekly?  I currently do a BFL-like regimen mixing weights, HIIT cardio training, and work out every day (for 2.5+ years).

    The results will be within your age group (every 5 years) although the runners will go off in two waves.



    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • I am a marathoner and running is one of my passions in life! My advice is to definitely NOT give up your strength workouts. These will help you in your runs more than you know it!

    What are you doing for HIIT training? Are you running? If you are not running, then I would suggest you start using running as your HIIT cardio workout this week and continue using it until your race. From today, you would have 7 weeks to train for the 5k race. You have a good base fitness level, so you can definitely go out there and do it!!!

    My suggestion would be to run on your HIIT days for a 20 minute cardio workout (you could do a combination of running/walking intervals), then add an extra 10-15 minutes of running/walking for endurance at a slower to moderate pace. I'm not sure of your speed, but let's say you could run/walk an 11 min/mile pace, then you would look to finish the 5k run in under 35 minutes. You will have to decide what your goal will be for the 5k race. If it is to finish the race, which would be a great goal if this is your first 5k, then you need to concentrate on endurance for running/walking for up to about 35 minutes. Believe me, there will be a lot of people walking and you definitely won't finish last (which is always a new runner's fear!)

    Let me know if I can help you in any way. Finishing a 5k is a great accomplishment....I know you can do it!!

  • Hey Jacium!

    I ran a 5K during my first BFL Challenge.  I think I was in my 10th week of the challenge.  I didn't start running until Week 7, and the prior six weeks I was doing only Elliptical machine for Cardio.  If you haven't started running for cardio, get started!  My first time running, I just went to the treadmill and walked really fast pace for couple minutes (4-4.5 mph) and then raised the speed to 5.5 mph and jogged for a few minutes.  Once I felt I was pacing my breathing okay and handling it, I raised it to about 6 mph and ran for 2 miles the very first time I tried!  I was pumped by the experience and started running for ALL my cardio from that point on, and 4 weeks later was entering my first 5K.

    There are a LOT of good sites to get pointers for beginners like "couch to 5K" and others.  Just do a google search on "running my first 5K" and soak up all the good information.  Also, google "proper running technique" for pointers on how to minimize fatigue, breathe properly, and even how long of a stride you should take and which part of the foot you should land on (not the heel).  Then climb on a treadmill or your street outside and try out the things you learn. 

    Sounds like you are in good shape and you should take adapt to it right away. 

    Personal pointers: 

    • I find it handy to run with a Sugar Free Ricola lozenge in my cheek.  It keeps me from getting "dry mouth" and the slight menthol sensation makes my throat not dry out and give me a sensation of being "easier to breathe".  It works for me anyway.
    • Run outside as much as possible, and if you know the route of the 5K you're entering, you can go now and run or run/walk it to get familiar with the hard areas (hills/slopes).  If you run on a treadmill - set it to 1% incline to simulate running outside.  If you run on 0% incline, the first time you run long distance outside will be an eye opener at how much more difficult it is.  The 1% will prevent this shocking discovery.
    • Run using smaller short strides, landing on the "outer ball" of the foot or the middle of the foot, and NOT the heel.  If you are landing on the heel, then you are taking too long of a stride.  Purposely shorten your strides  to short, quick steps.
    • Keep your arms bent about 90 degrees, hands about waist level and try to kick the elbows back as you run - letting your thumbs brush your sides to keep arms in tight.  Try not to swing hands out in front of your body unless you are sprinting to the this is more tiring.
    • Breathe in and out through the nose AND MOUTH.  You cant take in enough air through just your nostrils or just your mouth.  Use both.  Breathe in about every two steps and out every two steps.  Get a beat going in your head with your steps and breathing will come automatically this way.
    • Use HIIT to build endurance and raise your Lactate Threshold.  (When you are running and you reach a speed that you start to get uncontrolled in your breathing, and your muscles burn and fatigue, you are exceeding your Lactate Threshold - This is the body's ability to process the lactic acid build up in your muscles due to excersion)  The harder you push in HIIT and hit those "10"'s...the more your LT will raise and you will day by day run faster and longer than before.
    • Go for easy runs between HIIT days that build up to 5K and beyond.  (example: Monday HIIT, Tues: 2 miles easy, Wed: 2.5 miles easy, Thurs. HIIT, Friday: 3 miles easy, Saturday:  4 miles easy, Sunday: rest)  Once you KNOW you can run farther than 5K (3.12 miles) then mentally you won't be psyched out by the distance.  You can tell yourself "I can run this far...I do it twice a week and then some!"

    Good luck to you, and let us know how it went!



    Blessings <><


  • Hey Stephon and Runnermom,

    Thanks for getting back to me with your advice.  I will continue to lift on the LB weights as well as run.  I usually do elliptical for HIIT training, and it's fairly intense.  I usually run twice a week as well, usually 2.4 miles in the 20 minutes, on either treadmill or with this warmer weather outdoors.  I've only run 3 miles a few times, and my times were under 30  minutes, but not under 25. I'll let you know how it goes.


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • When I ran my first 5K I was in week 11 of a challenge. I had only run outdoors 4 times with a distance of 2-3 miles. The rest of my cardio was 20 mins of HIIT on the treadmill. I finished in 30:50 in the pouring rain soaking wet. That was 10 months ago and I love running 3-6 miles outdoors.

    “"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out..." - Robert J. Collier”

  • Hi Jacium,

    Wow! You are well on your way to finishing your first 5k! If you are running 2.4 miles in 20 minutes, then a 5k will be a piece of cake for you! Just think, you only have a little over a half mile and you will be at a 5k distance. For your first 5k, don't worry about your time. Whatever time you reach will be a PR (that's Personal Record in runner's jargon)!!! Once you get your first 5k time, if you decide you want to continue to pursue running, then you will have a baseline and try to improve your times from there. My advice would be to go out, don't look at your watch, have fun, and finish your first 5k with pride!

    Keep us posted!

  • Jacium-

    I haven't read all of the responses, but here's my 2-cents...I ran my first 5K a little over a year ago; decided to run it 3 wks prior to it and was scared to death I would need an ambulance or something!

    I set out with two goals, finish under 40 minutes and run the whole way...I did both, finished in 34:54 all on just running the 20 min HIIT sessions 3x a week.

    I'm totally hooked on 5K's now as I see every one I run as a challenge against myself to beat my time...I've now done 20 races since that first one in May 2010! =)

    You can do this!! Good luck!! =)

    DebMO :0)           Blessed to be a Blessing...

  • Jacium -

    DebbieMO is right on about just getting through the first 5K and using it as a baseline.  Nobody (that I know of) ever entered their first 5K and placed in the top 10 or anything (unless it was a really small field, and no serious runners showed up).

    My first 5K was in late March 2011.  I had been mainly just doing my HIIT per BFL program like DebbieMO said, and then on Saturdays I would run at least 3.5 miles and keep track of how many minutes I took to hit 3.12 miles.  On a treadmill, I wasn't doing faster than a 30 minutes 5K.  On actual race day, even with the hills and varying terrain, you just get so psyched and jazzed up from being "in the event" with all these people that you'll actually have to make yourself settle down and not try to run too fast!  Even though I had to make myself consciously slow down and breathe correctly a few times, I STILL finished with a time of 28:18!  Faster than I had ever ran on a treadmill in my temperature controlled 1% inclined gym environment.  And I finished 78th out of a field of I think about 165 and 10th overall in my age group!  I was elated, even though no trophy, ribbon or pat on the back.  I felt like a million bucks!  So just enjoy the experience and run the race.


    Blessings <><


  • I want to thank you all for your encouragement this week - I checked back and read all your posts, and you've convinced me I should try it.  I'm an excitable type, so I can understand the need to settle myself down and not try to sprint at the outset.  It sounds like time is not something I should worry about.  The best part is there will be a pancake breadfast at the finish line (good thing I'm not in a challenge right now - I'm sure they don't use the BFL recipe for protein pancakes!)

    Yours in BFL,


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • I just jumped in and read all the posts.  I have been thinking of doing a 5k myself so I will steal some advice from all of you.  Best of luck to you Jacium in your race - let us know how you do!

  • Thank you all for the great advice!  I just signed up yesterday for my first is in 7 weeks and this advice is really going to come in handy!

    Good luck to you Jacium!  And thanks again to everyone who posted advice!!

  • I finished in 27:45 - average mile split times were 8:57.  It was an experience I'll never forget, so please, go ahead and try a 5K as soon as you're able to!  I was really challenged by the extra time and distance beyond the "20 minute aerobic solution".  It stretched me both physically and mentally, taking a lot of willpower.  Still, my goal was to finish under 30:00 and I broke 28:00, so I'll consider it a goal reached and exceeded.  Best part was seeing others who were a lot faster than me - it gives me something to reach up for....

    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • so happy that you did your first one!!!  I had my first a couple weeks ago (with obstacles and it wasn't timed) but it was one of the most fun and unforgettable things I ever did!!  I was so stoked that I got online and signed up for 2 more!!  I now have the Warrior Dash later this Sept and an 8k/21 obstacle in Oct.!!