If you’ve signed up for a 5km race and find yourself wondering “What have I done?” – trust us, we’ve been there many times – check out this easy 5K training plan to get prepped in the most painless, enjoyable way possible.
Running used to be a ritual for me in my late teens and early 20s. I made sure to run twice or thrice a week, on the treadmill or outdoors, in the hope of maintaining my cardio fitness which I had painstakingly built up during my JC years of NAPFA training. And of course, who can deny that shiok feeling of burning calories from running?
Here’s a bit of my running background.
I failed my standing broad jump during NAPFA in JC (we had to score Silver in all categories to “pass”) and was made to attend makeup PE lessons during June holidays. Every lesson, while my fitter peers were watching TV and playing games at home, I was tasked to run 10 rounds around the school track (that’s 4km, by the way) and do a myriad of plyometric exercises such as tuck jumps, star jumps and high knees – aimed at improving my standing broad jump – before I was allowed to slink back home. Eventually and thank goodness, I passed my standing broad jump, and did even better at my 2.4km run. (At least the track running didn’t go to waste.)
It’s been more than a decade since I put that slightly traumatic experience behind me. But one thing has stayed: all that training – and being singled out for makeup PE – has made me bent on keeping fit for the rest of my life.
Of course, life happens.
Sometime in my mid-20s, after taking part in countless races (with my first race being Shape Run 2006), a couple of half marathons, and two full marathons without proper training (that’s a story for another time), I got increasingly tired of running, or experienced what some people call “running fatigue”. Since I was a fitness writer for Shape, I took the chance to dive into the wonderful world of group exercise classes: yoga, pilates, dance, trampolining, HIIT… you name it. I learnt that fitness should always (or most of the time) be enjoyable for it to be sustainable, and that there’s no best exercise for weight loss, aerobic fitness or muscle toning, because the “best” workout or workout plan depends on your own inclinations, your receptivity to different training styles, and your fitness status and goals at a given point of time.
Fast forward a few more years, my doctor advised me against running when I was pregnant in 2015 and 2018, so I turned to other forms of workouts, like brisk walking, swimming, yoga, pilates, suspension training and barre.
As I filled my workout calendar with all sorts of novel fitness classes, I back-burnered running (because hey, we all need to prioritise)… until now. After several years of being a passive runner who only ran at Shape Run, I’m ready to start running more again. Those running feelings – wind against cheeks, utter liberation, therapeutically moving forward, and head-clearing effect – are frankly, in a league of their own.
To ease myself into running, I’ve signed up for Shape Run 2019 5km, and enlisted the help of Andrew Cheong, founder and head coach of SSTAR.Fitness, an endurance coaching service, to come up with a beginner-friendly and time-efficient 5K training plan. SSTAR.Fitness is the official training partner for Shape Run 2019.
Here’s my criteria for the training plan.
As a working mum of two, I’m constantly prioritising and looking to get work done in the shortest, smartest way possible, so that I can head home to spend time with and look after my kids, a 4-year-old and a 9-month-old. My workouts these days consist of any work-related fitness events, bodyweight or HIIT exercises that I can do very conveniently and quietly at home while my 9-month-old is napping, and the occasional boxing, barre or yoga class I schedule with friends as part of our catch-up time. As running can be quite time-consuming (jogging 5km at an easy pace takes about 40 minutes for me, not to mention the warm-up and cool-down) and troublesome (in terms of having to plan the route and track my distance), I’m hoping to keep my runs to the bare minimum required, and do workouts that are more time-efficient. Ideally, I’d like to spend less than 3 hours a week, and no more than 3 days a week training.
Since work demands and family commitments can get unpredictable, I want a plan that has various workout options to suit my needs.
As I’m getting into the swing of things, I want to anticipate my training sessions and enjoy them as much as possible, to keep my attitude positive, and motivation strong. To make things fun, I hope to do a mix of workouts instead of full-on running for my training.
Here’s my easy 5K training plan in a nutshell.
Watch my training video above for the deets. Remember to sign up for Shape Run 2019, if you haven’t already done so. Register at shape.com.sg/shaperun.
Need more push? These exciting reasons should convince you to join Shape Run 2019.
(Also read: How to Run 5km in 30 Minutes Or Less)