A winning 5k workout plan

I got the idea for my 5K training plan almost twenty years ago in St. Moritz, Switzerland. I was there for a summer month with my husband who was training a group of elite marathon runners. I sat on the grass and watched as they ran a loop around the track and then stepped onto the center oval area. They continued moving by alternately hopping on one foot and then sprinting with their knees really high, almost touching their chests. A lightbulb went off in my head.

Some of the elite runners that inspired Julia's killer 5K training plan
Watching elite runners train inspired Julia’s killer 5K training plan, nearly 20 years ago.

Most wannabe runners I’d known would go from years of sitting on the couch to deciding to get in shape by running. And running and running and running. Injuries would swiftly follow as those new running muscles had no foundation to work from.

So I created a beginners plan to safely build a strong, fit runner from day one, a foundation for a lifetime of running.

There were running drills inspired by the elite runners and designed to wake up and strengthen dormant muscles and tendons. I planned weekly workouts, introducing simple running techniques. Each week built on the last, keeping it interesting while bringing progressive improvement. I wanted a solid, basic plan to prime my runners for long-term success, rather than have them burn out after a week or two.

It worked. I’ve used that same eight week program on and offline to get thousands of neophytes up and running.

One of the unique features of the 5K plan is what I call Free Form Running. You’re given a short distance and you cover it anyway you can. Whatever way you do it is the right way, there is no wrong! So many beginner plans require you to jump up to long intervals of running very quickly, which can lead to frustration, injury and/or a sense of failure. In contrast, Free Form Running meets you at your current fitness level. If you cover the distance with a good amount of fast walking and some running sprinkled in, you’re doing great. If you’re able to run the entire distance at a fast clip you’re still on program, too. Wherever you are, you will make progress.

Okay, so you may be thinking… Why should I buy for an online course when I can download an free app or training plan?

Great question! I’ll ask one back to you: how many times have you “started” running? If it is just once and it was a success you probably wouldn’t be reading this. But if your answer is, Too many times to count, I would also bet it it was around the Day 10 mark you stopped. That’s when the initial enthusiasm can wane and the couch looks tempting again. Without support and accountability it can be hard to keep going when the intensity of the workouts ramps up.

Quite simply, Up & Running works.

As well as my easy-does-it training plan, you’ll be part of a private online group of women, all doing the same workouts with the same goal: finishing a 5K race. You’ll have a coach (that would be me!) available to answer any of your questions and help you through any problems.

Care to join us?

Registration is now open and Warm Up Week starts on Monday. You can find out more about the 5K Course and check out the Week 1 training plan, right here…

[testimonials slug=”lemonia”]