5K in October: Four Weeks to Train

This is what happens when you decide to run a “small” race — like a 5K. You say, “I think I’ll run this. Hmmm. It’s two months away. I’ve got plenty of time.” And then you kind of forget about it. It’s in the back of your mind, of course, and you’re definitely planning to run it, but it isn’t so soon and it isn’t such a long distance that you need to start training right away. It isn’t a marathon or anything. You could run a 5K any day of the week. Maybe. Wait when is it scheduled for again? Next month? Like, three weeks from now? Good golly, better get moving.
Yes, this is what happens. And then you realize that you hardly have any time to train and you say, “Well, it’s just for fun. I’ll just run it to finish. I don’t need to actually do any training for it.” But maybe you’re tired of that approach. True, you’ve got less than a month before the race, but that doesn’t mean you can’t at least try to increase your fitness level so that when you go out on race day it’s not just another run. And when I say “you” I mean “me.” I’m less than a month from race day and although I’ve been running, I haven’t been training. Runner’s World knew I would be in this position and so they ran a training schedule for procrastinators in this month’s issue. “Go from maintenance fitness to race-ready shape — without hurting yourself,” they say. And do it in 4 weeks. Okay. I’m game.

Here’s how to train for a 5K in 4 weeks:

Week 1: 2 to 4 easy runs and a hill workout — find a moderate slope that takes 1 to 2 minutes to ascend. Run up and jog down. Repeat 4 to 6 times.

Week 2: 2 easy runs and a fartlek workout — warm up and run five minutes at 5K race pace. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Week 3: 2 easy runs and the hill workout from week 1.

Race week: Two easy runs and the fartlek workout from week 2.

An easy run, I believe, is what you would do on your normal maintenance run. Same distance, same speed, nothing fancy. I kind of wonder if they didn’t mean to do 2 to 4 easy runs each week, and not just the first week. That makes more sense to me, but what do I know?

I did the hill workout today. Five repeats with the stroller. I don’t think I was going any faster running up than I was jogging down, but whatever. It kicked my trash in a good way. I’m looking forward to that fartlek workout next week.

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  1. You’re going to smoke that race Lizzie! Are you running with the Manchildren/SUV stroller during the race? Any idea if they allow running strollers?


    lizzie Reply:

    I’m not sure what we’re going to do with the menchildren. I do know they allow strollers because I ran with ours last year while Micah ran as fast as he could. Maybe it’s his turn to push while I run as fast as I can . . . 🙂


  2. About the 2 easy runs (instead of 2-4) maybe they’re having you peak/taper off your training?

    Though I’m skeptical that this is really necessary for a 5K.

    See here about doing it for a marathon:


    lizzie Reply:

    Maybe that’s it. Or maybe they just made a mistake? It’s happened before . . . Thanks for posting that link. I always forget about those useful things. I’ll add it to this week’s 5K training post as well.


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