Walking to Running: An 8-Week 5K Training Plan

8 week 5k training plan

Train to Run Your First 5K in 8 Weeks

Running your first 5K can be incredibly daunting… but we brought in the expert to help you run your first 5K in 8 simple weeks! It’s time to get started towards running that first 5K and improving your health!

From walker to runner starting today

Want to go from walker to runner and run your first 5K?

If you’re just getting started into running, you are making the first step to a healthier, happier you. Running has so many benefits including helping you lose weight, improve cardiovascular health, help reduce stress, and increase your energy levels.

From Walker to Runner Run Your First 5K in 8 WeeksPresuming you just signed up for your first 5K and have found a training plan that fits your situation, below are five helpful tips to get you prepared for the 5K.

Proper Stretching

Before you begin any run, following a routine of stretching that warms up your muscles and joints through a full range of motion, improves circulation, and helps prevent injuries.

Some of the most common stretches before you begin running are the following:

  • Quad Stretch
  • Hamstring Stretch
  • Calf Stretch
  • Groin Stretch

The folks from Healthline have a really great tutorial on these four stretches and a few others. The importance of a stretching routine can really help you perform your best and stay injury-free.

Practice Good Running Form

I can remember when I was a kid my mother would always say, “Sit up straight!” as I slouched at the table. I never understood why until I started to have back pain in my thirties. As I started running, the pain would come back. Until I realized that my running form was really bad…

So what is a good running form?

In addition to stretching, it is one of the great ways to avoid joint pain, remove over-striding, and make you a better runner. Here is a very simple-to-follow graphic (see attached) that gives you guidance on what a good running form should look like.

Courtesy Racingstripespapish.blogspot.com

The good running form also helps with your speed work as it helps you become a more consistent runner.

As race day approaches, stick to your routine.

This has been one of the best pieces of advice that I have ever received as it keeps you comfortable and confident on race day. As you go through your training plan (like the 8-week plan pictured) you begin to develop a certain rhythm to how you do things.

For example, before I run I like to eat a piece of peanut butter toast and I always listen to Eye of the Tiger before I run (don’t judge, it’s a great song!).

From Walker to Runner: Run Your First 5K in 8 WeeksThat type of ritual or routine gives you one less thing to think about when you get started on race day.

Carrots’NCake has a really good routine that she shares on her blog.

Get Some Sleep

The night before the race it is perfectly normal to have some pre-race jitters. The best way to manage the nervous/excited feeling is to make sure you get quality sleep at least two days before your race.

By resting the entire day before the race and doing your best to get a quality night of sleep, you have put your body into a relaxed state.

Pace Yourself

Most racers dart out of the starting line for the first mile leaving two miles left, on an empty tank.

Starting out too fast forces your body to work harder than it should, making your 5K time slower, not faster.

Try your best to achieve a negative split on race day—that means completing the second half of the race faster than you ran the first. Start with a slower pace and then build up throughout the run.

Once the finish line is in sight, step up your pace to finish the race strong.

The Perfect First 5K

So are you ready to run your first 5K?

One great way to get started is with a virtual 5K… Yes, a virtual one!

The author has put together one of the first global 5Ks of its kind that is ideal for beginners. As the race states, “This race can be run at any location of your choosing. You can walk, run, use a treadmill, participate in another race and run the race at your pace wherever you choose. You complete your race on your own. Then we ship your medal directly to you two days after the race.”

Basically, it’s the ideal way to start and stay on your path towards a new you this year!

No pressure. No crowds. No intimidation. Just run!

Just you running where and how you want and garnering your first 5K medal… No more excuses. It’s the perfect first 5K for beginners!

Be on the lookout for virtual 5Ks as they come around, they are a great way to run your first 5K!


So there you have it, a simple way to fun your first 5K in 8 weeks! Get started, start slow, pace yourself, and you will be on your way!

Good luck and let us know your times in the upcoming Spring Forward 5K!

Jeremy Neisser blogs at Trainfora5K.com, where he helps runners of all levels train for their first or fastest 5K by sharing tips on injury prevention and proper training. He is a self-proclaimed running junkie who started in 2009 and has completed over 100 5Ks, 75 10Ks, 25 half-marathons and 1 full marathon.
Jeremy Neisser
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Walking to Running: An 8-Week 5K Training Plan