How to train and prepare for your first 5k

Eric Bogy | Published on September 28, 2017

Updated on November 4, 2019

How to train and prepare for your first 5k

Today’s blog post comes from Eric Bogy, the content manager at Fit&Me, to help you get ready for the Prevent Cancer 5k Walk/Run. Fit&Me is dedicated to helping you achieve your health and fitness goals and transform your body by offering the best fitness equipment and knowledge you need.

Recreational running can be a great way to get back into shape and improve your fitness levels. However, you may have already noticed that “going for a run” can get a little, dare I say, boring.

One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to enter a 5K. This will give you a goal to shoot for and you may even decide to continue with the runner’s lifestyle.   

Running program

A great running program for novice runners consists of a combination of running, walking, cross training and plenty of rest.  It should be flexible and able to accommodate your life (work, family, social events, etc.).  The following is a good sample program for new runners:

  Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Week 1 2 mile walk 1.5 mile run Rest 2 mile run Rest 2 mile run 45 min. walk/CT
Week 2 2 mile walk 2 mile run Rest 2 mile run Rest 2 mile run 60 min. walk/CT
Week 3 2 mile walk 2.5 mile run Rest 2 mile run Rest 2.5 mile run 60 min. walk/CT
Week 4 2 mile walk 2.5 mile run Rest 2 mile run Rest 70 min. walk 3 mile run
Week 5 2 mile walk 3 mile run Rest 2 mile run Rest 3 mile run 70 min. walk/CT
Week 6 2 mile walk 3 mile run Rest 3 mile run Rest 70 min. walk Rest

CT = cross training

Cross training

Running has many benefits, but it can cause some wear and tear on your joints. Cross training is the perfect way to continue improving your conditioning and endurance while giving your knees and back a break from running.

Choose something that is low impact, like an exercise bike, to give your body well-deserved rest.

Running attire

It seems like wearing running clothing to get groceries or hang out with friends has become the norm, but it was actually designed to improve running performance and prevent injuries. Running shoes, in particular, can make the difference between walking or limping for the next week.

Running shoes should fit correctly and be replaced every 5-6 months, depending on running frequency.  You may want to visit a specialty store that can perform a gait analysis. This will help you find the perfect running shoe with a personal fit.


It’s smart to pay more attention to your diet as you work on your new fitness endeavor. The food you eat will give you the necessary energy to train and compete effectively.  Try basing your training diet around a well-balanced ratio of carbs, protein, and fats. Also, staying hydrated will be more important than ever—drink water!

On event day, eat a light breakfast. Make sure it’s a meal you have eaten before—this is not the time to try something new because you don’t know how it will sit in your stomach.

Once you finish the 5k, be sure to refuel with a proper post-race meal.  Replenish your body with a meal high in carbs and protein.

Choosing to run in your first 5K will motivate you to train hard and improve your fitness levels. It can be an incredibly rewarding experience—be safe and good luck!


Register for the Prevent Cancer 5k Walk/Run & Health Fair on Sunday, November 5 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. All kids 10 and under are FREE and dogs are welcome. Proceeds from the event benefit the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s research, education and outreach programs. We hope to see you there!

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