Couch to 5K in only 10 weeks!

Flanked by daughter Alex and husband Jeff, Michaela Conrad, a Cape math teacher, finished her first 5K at the 2014 Race into the New Year. BY DAVE FREDERICK
January 3, 2014

Most would-be runners make the same mistake youth runners make when it comes to getting started - they go too fast too early. The following is a program that my friend Bob Porter and I designed years ago that has been very successful for many locals making the transition from walkers to runners.

This program is designed to take the walker or non-jogger to a slow, continuous 30-minute jog (equal to a 5K) in just 10 weeks. Call it a trot, call it a jog, even a run! Bottom line is that you are able to complete the 3.1-mile distance without stopping. The program is designed in minutes, not miles, which most runners seem to enjoy. The program has you working out four days per week with plenty of rest between sessions.

Before you begin, get a complete physical and make sure your body is cleared for this challenge. Get your legs ready with six days of walking followed by a day off before you begin. For each week of the program, try to keep your four workout days consistent, for example, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday.

Following your preconditioning/walking week, you are ready for week one. Good luck - 10 weeks from now will place you on the starting line at a local Seashore Striders March event. See you there!

Week 1: Walk 4 minutes and jog 2 minutes, repeat 5 times; Week 2: Walk 3 minutes and jog 3 minutes, repeat 5 times; Week 3: Walk 3 minutes and jog 5 minutes, repeat 4 times; Week 4: Walk 3 minutes and jog 7 minutes; repeat 3 times; Week 5: Walk 2 minutes and jog 8 minutes, repeat 3 times; Week 6: Walk 2 minutes and jog 12 minutes; repeat 2 times; Week 7: Walk 1 minute and jog 16 minutes, repeat 2 times; Week 8: Walk 2 minutes and jog 18 minutes, repeat 2 times; Week 9: Walk 1 minute and jog 20 minutes, repeat 2 times; Week 10: jog 30 minutes and congratulations, you are no longer a walker.

Note: After completion of Week 9, if you feel tired and not ready for your last week, repeat Week 9 of the training and move on when comfortable.

Ten Golden Rules: 1. Begin at the doctor’s office with a complete checkup before you start the program. 2. Get proper equipment, most importantly a new pair of correct running shoes. 3. Keep a log that will track your progress and condition, and direct your future. 4. Never push too early. Going too fast is the most common mistake. 5. Know and listen to your body with common sense. 6. Four feet are better than two. Train with a partner or group of runners. 7. Develop your training routine with times and locations that are best for you. 8. Eliminate aches and pains with proper warm-up/cool-down stretching. 9. Avoid a quick injury with three basic rules: avoid worn shoes, uneven surfaces, and training too far, too fast, too soon. 10. Set no limitation for yourself, and don’t underestimate your potential ability.

Following this 10-week program to a 5K race will take you to March 14 and ready for four Seashore Striders events: The St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Denton, Md.; the Shamrock Shuffle 5K in Rehoboth Beach; The CFE Rescue 5K in Laurel; and the IRXC 5K in Dagsboro. Good luck!

Upcoming races

10 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 12, Third Run with the Hawks 5K, St. Georges High School,

10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, Ninth Valentine's Chase 5K & 1M Walk, Fishing Pier, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes.