Walking a 5K
November 9, 2011 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I just signed up for a 5K on Dec. 3. I'm certainly not ready to RUN 3.1 miles, so I'm going to walk it (and the event is called a run/walk, so it is a walker-friendly race, at least). What kind of training can I do before then to do my best that day, since there's barely any time left? I'm at a healthy weight and in OK shape but usually only exercise one or two times a week. I'd like my time to be under one hour, if possible. Tips? (Bonus question: are most 5Ks walker-friendly?)
posted by trillian to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have to be honest, if you are in "OK shape" and exercise a couple of times a week, I think you could totally run a 5K. Just get yourself started on a jogging/running routine today. Running a 5K is totally doable when you are already in shape.
posted by AlliKat75 at 1:01 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

You could certainly start a couch to 5k running plan. It is only 3x a week.
posted by quodlibet at 1:01 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

Most 5Ks are walker-friendly, in my experience, because most serious runners run either longer or shorter distances.
posted by speedgraphic at 1:02 PM on November 9, 2011

Oh, gosh, you have tons of time. Just go outside and start walking 3 miles a day. My husband and I walk 3 miles most days and our average easy pace tends to be about 17 minutes per mile, and that's without pushing ourselves in the least. You will have absolutely zero problem finishing in less than an hour.
posted by something something at 1:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

You should easily be able to walk a 5k in under an hour. In any case i rec couch to 5k program to get you on the right track. A quick google search will turn up the program itself plus there are forums on facebook, active.com, livejournal.com and many other sites devoted to the popular training program. Good luck!
posted by TestamentToGrace at 1:02 PM on November 9, 2011

Average walking speed is something like 4.5 miles per hour, so finishing in under an hour, just walking the whole time, shouldn't be a problem.

If you're not used to walking long distances, though, you should start doing that. Is there something roughly a mile and a half from where you live? Like the library or a coffee shop? Try to make a commitment to walk there and back a few times a week. You'll be able to take a break once you get there (have a sit, go to the bathroom, refill your water bottle), so you won't have to do it all in one shot.

Make sure your shoes are comfortable and you have good socks.

For what it's worth, I walk a lot but don't exercise ever. I hit the "blehhh, too tired to walk any more, can't go on" after about 6 miles, so this should definitely be doable for you. Have fun!
posted by phunniemee at 1:03 PM on November 9, 2011

I wouldn't worry about going over an hour. If you maintained a 20 minute mile pace you'd basically finish in an hour and that's a really, really slow pace. As far as what you can to to train: do interval training. Jog for as long as you can and then walk until you catch your breath. Rinse repeat. Most 5ks are walker friendly.
posted by bananafish at 1:06 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

First: congratulations! 5Ks tend to be incredibly fun, friendly events, with lots of happy people cheering you on regardless of your speed.

As others have said, you can definitely walk it—somewhat slowly—in less than an hour. Since you're in ok shape and already exercising a couple of times a week, though, how do you feel about jog/walking? Couch to 5K, mentioned upthread, will have you jog/walking a total of 2 miles by the beginning of week 4 (which is where you'll be if you start this week), and then you can see how you feel and either keep jog/walking until the end, or walk the last mile and change.

Tips that have helped me: start toward the back of the line so you don't caught up in the faster-moving pack of runners near the front. To avoid blisters/chafing, don't wear anything (new shoes, socks, clothes) that you haven't already jogged or walked in before. If it's nearby, try walking the course a few times before the actual race so you know exactly what to expect on race day. Most importantly: plan a celebratory brunch with friends after it's over.
posted by rebekah at 1:17 PM on November 9, 2011

I have to be honest, if you are in "OK shape" and exercise a couple of times a week, I think you could totally run a 5K.

I was in awesome shape when I started running, and could not run a 5k for two months.

If I were you, OP, I would start Couch to 5k. You don't have a ton of time, but whatever intervals you're using by December 3, you could use for the 5k.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:18 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

If I were you, I'd focus on stamina. Being able to run at a pace and keeping that pace, even if it feels glacial. The first 5k I did there was a woman who was running slower than your grandmother doing searches online but she kept it moving and finished in front of a good number of people that way.

If you try to run faster than you're accustomed to, you get winded and then if you try to rest and then start up running again, it's too late, you're shot. It is the same thing for marathons - I know of people who went to run together and the fast one shot out but the slow and steady one passed them after the fast one got tired and had to walk.

Do a slow jog. It might take you time to pass people who are walking. But somehow it adds up, and you'll finish faster. That tortoise and the hare story aint just shits and giggles.
posted by cashman at 1:50 PM on November 9, 2011

Average walking speed is something like 4.5 miles per hour...
Actually, average walking speed is more like 3 miles per hour (20 minute pace). If you can maintain a slightly brisk walking pace (18 minutes per mile), you'll do 5 km in under an hour.

If you want to do it faster, I'd suggest run/walk intervals. Jeff Galloway, who was an Olympic marathoner, suggests run/walk combos as the best way for most people to go (up to and including marathons). They're faster and better for cardiovascular health than walking by itself, but much easier on your joints than running by itself. Google Jeff Galloway for his website, which has lots more advice. Some serious runners will say that it's "cheating" to walk (and back when I was young and my joints were a lot more supple, I might have joined the chorus), but really, it's no different than coasting when you're riding a bike--and when I do long bike rides, you can bet there's a lot of coasting involved, especially downhill!
posted by brianogilvie at 2:28 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm incredibly unfit these days, doing no exercise at all for weeks at a time. Every so often I walk into work - 3.5 miles. Takes me an hour. I'd be confident you'll have no problem! Why not go for a leisurely 3 mile walk each evening until then? Good luck and enjoy!
posted by twistedonion at 2:37 PM on November 9, 2011

I started couch to 5k October 1st and did a 5k Oct 22nd. Since I really wasn't ready for it I just followed the plan for Couch to 5k, going out like it was a normal day (which for me was run 3 walk 1:30 run 5 walk 2:30, run 3, walk 1:30 run 5) and after those 20 minutes were up I just ran/walked the rest (usually a minute or 2 running, a minute walking). I did that because then I was proud of what I finished and I was keeping with my real goal of being able to do a 5k eventually (got one coming up Dec 19). This also gave me a bench mark so I can compare the two 5ks later.

Good luck and have a good time!
posted by raccoon409 at 3:00 PM on November 9, 2011

If you're worried about the distance, just go to Map My Run and figure out a 5K route. Walk it now before the event.
posted by raisingsand at 4:18 PM on November 9, 2011

Side advice to boost your oomph on the day of: Get enough iron in your diet starting now, sleep plenty the night before, and have something caffeinated before the race.
posted by lakeroon at 7:26 PM on November 9, 2011

I started running to work one day a week a few months ago, which is a little under 5 km. Because I've got a fixed distance, I can't ease up to it, so I've been run-walk-run as I get fitter, making each walk cycle shorter. Prior to that, my only cardio was Judo, and between injuries and lack of time I hadn't been in a year or so.

So I'm not fit, and my first run-walk effort was something like 35 minutes. I would be surprised, if you cycle jogging and walking, if you couldn't make it in well under 60 minutes.

In terms of getting in better shape, by the way, one run-walk per week is working really well for me. I've pulled my time down to about 25 minutes over the last 4-5 months. And I haven't had to add anything into my day/week, I've simply changed how I make one commute a week.
posted by rodgerd at 12:42 AM on November 10, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, all!
posted by trillian at 4:26 PM on November 10, 2011

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