5-K Training
by Hal Higdon

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Training Programs

The Most Popular Racing Distance

FOR MANY INDIVIDUALS, five kilometers (5,000 meters, or 3.1 miles) is the first competitive distance they try. It's their first race T-shirt, their introduction to the world of road racing. But experienced runners like 5-K's too. Five-K races are fun to run and easy to race. Unlike marathons, you don't need to spend 18 weeks training specifically for them, and recovery time is measured in days, not weeks.

For that reason, the 5-K is the most popular racing distance in the United States. "Forty percent of all the events we receive results for are 5-K races," says Linda Honikman of the USATF Road Running Information Center.

If you are a beginner, you can be standing at the starting line of your first 5-K after only a few months training. It will take some effort on your part, but not a lot. For those who have never run or walked before, you will find information on how to get started in my Beginning Runner's Guide. (The Novice program below appears in that booklet.)

For those who would like to train a bit harder, here also are training programs for Intermediate and Advanced runners. And for those who don't intend to become runners, here is a walking program to help you train for your first 5-K.

Click on one of the links below to access my 8-week schedules for 5-K runners, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Walkers. On these screens, you will also find instructions on how to do the different workouts, but for more detailed instructions plus extra training advice and tips, consider signing up for one of my InterActive programs, available through TrainingPeaks. Click here to access the menu listing all of my Virtual Training programs. For eight weeks leading up to the 5-K race of your choice, I will send you daily emails telling you how to train. Plus you can use my computer diary and ask me questions on my Virtual Forums (also known as my V-Boards, V for Virtual).

* Novice: Training for your first 5-K

* Intermediate: If you want to improve your times

* Advanced: How to train for maximum performance

* Walkers: Who says you have to run to finish a 5-K?

Good luck participating in your next, 5-K.

--Hal Higdon

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