Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
From late spring onwards many charitable organisations organise 5km walk/runs to raise funds. Many of them are fun runs and the aim is more participation and raising awareness than winning. With a little regular training and a positive attitude you can be up there with the best of them. If you can persuade a friend to become your training companion it will help enormously. You will have company and motivation and the training will become a social event and less like work.
Most reasonably fit people will be able to walk 5km less than an hour. If you decide to jog or run you will of course do it in less time. Start your training about six weeks before the event. Walk or jog every second day and take a rest day in between. Warm up first with a brisk five minute walk then stop and stretch as warm muscles are less prone to injury. On the day of the 5km walk or run you can warm up by walking on the spot for five minutes. At first do not worry about how fast you are going. Build up your distance and when you are doing the distance comfortably you can work on increasing your pace.
Walking briskly means to walk as if you were in a hurry to catch the bus. Donít worry if you are not able to keep the brisk walking up for the full length of time. Do it for as long as you can and next day try and increase the amount of brisk walking. There are no hard and fast rules. Do what you can comfortably accomplish. Your aim is to walk continuously for approximately an hour without discomfort.
Below is a simple training programme. If you follow it you will be strong and fit enough to jog or run 5 km. If you intend to walk the 5km you can omit the jogging and concentrate on the brisk walking. Wear suitable footwear and make sure you are properly hydrated.
Train every second day.
Week 1: Walk briskly for 20 minutes
Week 2: Walk briskly for 30 minutes
Week 3: Walk briskly for 40 minutes
Week 4: Walk briskly and jog alternately every 5 minutes for 20 minutes
Week 5: Walk briskly and jog alternately every 5 minutes for 30 minutes
Week 6: Walk briskly for 50 minutes.
Donít forget to stop and stretch after the first five minutes of walking.
Having completed this amount of training you will be able to either walk the 5km briskly or jog it completely, which ever you prefer. You can of course use a combination of jogging and walking if you wish.
Good luck and enjoy your 5km!