4 Easy Steps to Get Ready for Your First 5K

Running your first 5K is easier than you think. What’s a 5K, you ask? It’s a road-running competition over a distance of five kilometers or 3.1 miles. Don’t panic – with HAP’s 5K Challenge, you’ll learn to walk before you run.

The key to our 5K training is a very gradual progression from walking to running, so your body has time to adjust and run pain-free. Millions of runners have had success with this type of plan, and you can too.


Step 1: Get ready

The great thing about the HAP 5K Challenge is that you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. To start, all you need are:

  • Your doctor’s OK
  • A good pair of running shoes to help prevent injury

Step 2: Commit to 60 seconds

The HAP 5K Challenge plan begins with just 60 seconds of running, followed by a 90-second walking break and repeated for 20 minutes. Use these tips to help you stick with it:

  • Sign up for a race so you have a target to work toward.  View upcoming 5K races in your area
  • Shout it to the world! Post it on Facebook! Tell everyone you know about your goal. Once the word is out, you’re more likely to stick with it.  
  • Ask friends and family to join you so you’ll have training buddies to keep you going.

Step 3: Set your schedule

Get out your calendar and schedule three 30-minute workouts each week for the next nine weeks. You’ll be amazed at the amount of progress you’ll make by adding just a few seconds to your runs over two months.

Step 4: Stay the course.

If your workouts begin to feel too hard at any time – we have a fix. Just repeat your last week of training until you feel strong enough to progress to the next level. Some runners complete the program in nine weeks, but others take longer. The key is to stick with it and soon you’ll be crossing a 5K finish line!

Learn more

This series of short videos will guide you every step of the way to your first 5K: making a plan, choosing the right shoes, training, nutrition, strategies for race day and after and more.

Check out our 5K Challenge training schedule for the full nine-week training plan. HAP 5K Challenge members receive a discount on the entry fee.

Categories: Get Moving

woman and child reading orange callout

Sign up for our eNewsletter

Get HAP’s Balanced Living blog delivered right to your inbox. You’ll get the latest health and wellness news, tips, advice from HAP experts, and helpful ideas to improve your well-being.