I worked this summer with my wife as she was training for a 5k race this summer with a group of friends.
We started with her current fitness level. As a self-described non-athlete, she?s been running more at the gym and outside just to gain fitness.
She usually goes to one or two fitness classes at the Wisconsin Athletic Club, and she?s been putting in two to three miles about twice a week for the last three months.
So she has a decent base of fitness, and since the 5k is not going to be a race for time but just for completion, we?re not going to worry about too much speed work. She wants to finish the race and not die out on the roads!
Go Long, Go Short, Strength Train
Here were my recommendations to her in training for a 5k race:
1. One day a week, try to build up to a longer run at a slow pace. The goal would be to get up to four miles at a very comfortable pace. This run is to build her endurance fitness level so the race distance feels relatively easy.
2. A second day a week, do a shorter, maybe two mile run. Warm up for eight to 10 minutes, then do three-minute intervals at a slightly higher pace. The first run would include just one interval, and we would add more as the weeks go by, building her adaption to a higher pace. She typically runs around 5.5 mph on the treadmill, and a slight increase would be no more than 6.0 mph.
3. Continue with the one day of fitness class.
4. Build in at least one day of strength training with a focus on large muscle groups. For example, she could do some kettlebell swings, dumbbell clean and press, rotations, and core work using a TRX and exercise ball. This day is to build general strength to support the running miles, which can be tough on the body. One day of the strength work can be done at home doing squats, pistol squats, core work. Again, the focus is not aerobic work but strength.
Taper for the 5K
We would use this routine until the week before the event when we?d cut out the interval work and the strength training to make sure she?s properly recovered and rested.
The best part was bringing my daughter to meet my wife at the finish line with giant hugs!!!