My 5K Workout Plan, Part I

Pictured with my 2 youngest daughters on the Fourth
By Laurie Epps

The most common question I've received is: How do you know what to do? For me, I've got quite the past with fitness. Based on what I already know, it's second nature for me. However, if you've never been much for exercise, this can be quite arduous.

I knew I'd reached a point where I need to begin to push myself, so I don't quit. But I also have the rivals of two ideals: do I want to lose weight, or do I want to prepare for my 5K? I've decided to do a hodgepodge of both, creating my own, unique, workout plan.

When I asked my family and friends that are runners, the unanimous suggestion is to get the app: Couch to 5K. However, my iPhone 4 can't download the latest version of it, but my sister in law sent me a computer link. I admit, it appears to be a good program, however, too aggressive for me from my fitness level. I'm still 130 pounds overweight, so to think I can run at all is completely unrealistic.

In My Workout Gear
But I did find a program that seemed doable from the Mayo Clinic. Using the Mayo Clinics 5KRun: Seven Week Training Guide as a model, I’m extending this out to my 12 Week Plan to get ready for a 5K Walk/Run this October and share with my readers my results.

This coming week, I plan on following this plan that starts off a little more gently than the 7 week plan, to help those of us that have a bit farther to go to catch up.

To get us started, I’m going to include my first two weeks and the remaining weeks in installments.

Weeks 1 & 2

Monday                Walk 20 minutes on the treadmill
                           (+ Yoga)

Tuesday                Walk for 20 minutes
                           (+ Weights/ Upper Body)

Wednesday           Walk for 20 minutes
                           (+ Weights/ Lower Body)

Thursday              Walk for 20 minutes on the treadmill
                           (+ Yoga)

Friday                  Rest (or Cycle)

Saturday              Walk 1 mile (Week 1)
                           & Walk 1.5 miles (Week 2)

Sunday                Complete Rest Day, gentle walking only

Note: I’m planning on walking my first 5K. I’m not an expert, but I trained extensively as a young woman. I’m applying those concepts to my workout plan. If you’d like to run your first 5K, I’d suggest adding a walk-run combo during week three and beyond.

My Eldest Daughter on her weekend hike
Some General Suggestions:

  1. Stay hydrated. No matter what workout style you choose, make sure you drink plenty of water.
  2. Start small. If you can't walk 20 minutes the first day, walk ten. Build on it. Keep at it, you'll get there.
  3. Schedule it. People are creatures of habit. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to make the commitment to workout every morning, or every evening. It should be around the same time, so you'll be able to autopilot to your workout.
  4. Be flexible. When I started, I dropped my kids off to school and went straight to the gym. Now that it's summer, that's not working anymore. My little one's with me 24/7. I've got the choice to go early in the morning, or in the early evening. I had to be willing to make that change.
  5. Know your goals. Only you can do this. Create a list of your goals, and stay true to them. Initially, I would've said weight-loss was the goal, and it is, but the 5K has me a lot more excited (see #4).
  6. Wear good shoes. I know you love a good deal on a pair of shoes, but those inexpensive choices are more for fun. When it comes to your feet, my dad always said, "Life's too short to wear cheap shoes."  If you're going to save money, buy your workout clothing at WalMart. (These days they carry Danskin as standard stock.)
  7. Enjoy your Saturdays. The longer walks are on the weekends for a reason. This is your chance to go hiking, walk down a local trail, and be out in nature. It's your time to absorb some vitamin D, improve your mood, and get away from the stresses at home or work.
  8. Be your own workout buddy. While having a good workout buddy is worth their weight in gold, a lot of people quit, or simply think they're too busy. Don't let that come in the way of your road to better health.

Laurie Epps is featured in dozens of news articles, and literary journals both on and off the web. Laurie is also included in a number of short story anthologies, and does some ghostwriting for prominent professionals nationwide. Laurie is also active in a number of writer support groups and networks with writers from all over the country.

Laurie is a single mom, and is still raising her two youngest daughters, Ellen and Chloe. Laurie’s grown daughter, Melanie resides in California. Laurie is also a proud momma of three furry-babies; Laurie has turned in more than one manuscript with cat fur on it. When not teaching or writing, Laurie gets in as much beach time as her budget will allow, loves to attend the Opera and Ballet, and she enjoys cross-stitch & knitting. Laurie’s sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and the Dallas Cowboys. 

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