Get in shape for a 5K

You’ve never walked more than from the couch to the fridge — but even you can run a 5K, says Colleen Ketchum, founder of the BeyondBarre Method, a cardio ballet barre workout. You simply need to know how to train properly so that you don’t burn out.

If you take it slowly, building muscle and endurance, you’ll feel like the race is a breeze. Perhaps you’ll even be running a marathon by the end of the year. But, try not to push it by going too fast or by skipping steps.

First, you’ll need to grab the right gear.

“There’s nothing more important than comfortable running shoes,” says Ketchum, who recommended getting new sneakers if your current pair is less than comfortable. “If they don’t make you feel like you’re walking on little clouds from heaven, then keep looking.”

A good pair of wicking socks is important, too, and they should feel great with your sneakers.

Next, you’ll need to invest in a few good running outfits.

“Proper-fitting running shorts and sports tops won’t just feel comfortable – they also help prevent chafe,” Ketchum says. “Plus, they won’t shift around as much, so you won’t have to constantly readjust your clothing.”

Once you’re set with your gear, it’s time to hit the road.

If you haven’t run in the past, you’ll need about eight weeks to prep for your first 5K (3.1 miles), Ketchum says.

Plan to run three days a week with a non-running day in between each running day. Alternate a training workout on a non-running day, with one day of complete rest each week.

“It’s important to keep your muscles strong and limber, so my alternate workout day involves a barre, yoga or Pilates workout,” Ketchum says. “If you can’t get into a studio for a workout, home workout DVDs are a great option.”

On days when you’re too exhausted to train, skip the running and take a nice walk instead.

Here’s Ketchum’s guide to your typical week of training:

Day 1 Walk or run 1 1/2 miles. Begin walking and graduate into a jog. When you feel you need to walk, you can slow down to a walk. Alternate running and walking.

Day 2 Alternate workout day. Barre/yoga/Pilates/strength train

Day 3 Walk/run 1 1/2 miles

Day 4 Barre/yoga/Pilates/strength train

Day 5 Walk/run 1 1/2 miles

Day 6 Rest day

Day 7 Walk/run 1 1/2 miles

Add ¼ of a mile to your distance weekly starting on week 2. As you move to week 3, try to jog the majority of the distance.

Written by Danielle Braff. Photo by 123RF.

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