Fitness Articles

Spark Your Way to a 5K

Train for a 5K Your Way

Running or walking a 5K (3.1-mile) race is a fun and realistic goal for exercisers of all fitness levels. If you're ready to train for your first 5K, but not sure where to start, don't worry! SparkPeople's certified trainers have created three different training programs to help walk or run a 5K based on where you are right now!

Our 5K Your Way Challenges provide daily workouts, tips to make the most of your training experience, and support from other members who are following the same plan. Choose from three training programs (walking, walk/jog intervals, running)! You can also progress from one program to the next, starting with walking and then moving to walk/jog intervals and then to running, as a safe way to slowly increase your level of fitness. Click on a plan below to get started today!

5K Your Way Walking Challenge
If you want to walk your first 5K, or are newer to fitness, this plan is for you. You should be able to walk for 15 continuous minutes before starting this training plan. If that sounds like you, then get ready to walk a 5K in less than 5 weeks by following this plan! (Need help getting there? Start with this walking challenge first.)

5K Your Way Walk/Jog Challenge
This intermediate training program uses walk/jog intervals. It's perfect for exercisers who can already walk for 25-30 continuous minutes, and want to start incorporating running into their workouts. If that sounds like you, then get ready to walk/jog a 5K in less than 5 weeks!

5K Your Way Running Challenge
Are you ready to go from walk/jog intervals to running a 5K? This program is perfect for casual runners who can already walk/jog for 30 minutes and are ready to kick things up a notch. Follow this plan to run a 5K in less than 5 weeks!

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Member Comments

  • Want to do this.
  • Today I walked my very first 5K ((5.2K -- 3.2 Miles).
    Does anybody know where I find my 5K trophy
    (the sparkpeople graphic with 5K in it)?
    I have a great Couch to 5K training podcast. It's totally free, with voice prompts that tell you when to run, and when to walk. Enjoy! www.runningintosh
  • Great stuff! I appreciate all the options & the realization that not all of us can just jump in but need to build up gradually.
  • I voted "no, but I'd like to" in 2009, but I started training on July 15, 2014, and today 9/28/2014 I finished my 5K. The program works!!! Thanks so much for the expertise, info, and support! I was never a runner, but this program got me over that and I'm so grateful. Anyone can do it!!!
    Sounds like a good plan. Motivation for after hip "revision" surgery. At 3 months now, still unstable and limping. I hope to start this week. Beginner level, after doing 10-15k steps a day, Fitbit, before surgery.
    Would LOVE to get involved, but am recovering for an Achilles tendon injury!
  • Don't think my knees will let me.
  • NEWBIE2011
    i'm really keen to get into this! i've been dabbling in running - it's great to have a schedule i could follow
  • If you don't know how fast your pace is..(I'm sure mine is slower than 3.5 walking), how do you know how many repetitions to do to ensure you get the distance? I'm assuming I will need a pedometer, but I have never had any luck with them ( I have a long waist and don't measure correctly).
  • Couch to 5K program and the 5K101 program are both much better than this. They also have podcasts you can download on itunes to make training easier.
  • I'm planning to do a 5k in December, and will start out by using the walk/jog training plan. I've never been a runner, but that is one of my goals in transforming my life.
    I'm starting this program because I'll be joining the Air Force! I'm a little bit of a couch potato right now but by week 8 hopefully I'll have shown major improvement! Can't wait to be in tip top shape!
  • im doing a 5k in october so i think i will start with the walk/jog then work my way up the run and if i walk half and run half that will be achievemnet in itself so just see how it goes :) good luck everyone

About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

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