How to Train for 5k from Treadmill Training Runs

How to Train for 5k from Treadmill Training Runs

Thinking about running a 5K but not sure where to start? In this article, you'll find our best advice for running your first 5K. Whether you're training at home on a treadmill, running outside, or both - you can use these tips and 5K training runs to make the most of your 5K training plan.

Tips to Prepare for Your First 5K Using a Treadmill

Whether you're planning to complete your training on or off a treadmill, these helpful tips will help you get through your first 5K training plan like a pro.

1) Err on the Side of Too Easy While Training for 5K

When first starting to train for a 5K, it's easy to get over excited and start doing too much too soon.

By easing into your training, your body will not only feel better, but it will make your workouts feel more manageable, achievable, and fun. When using a treadmill, it's easy to listen to your body and make quick changes to the speed and incline of your workouts when needed.

Try not to get caught up too much in your split times, or pace, and focus on setting a pace you can maintain for a steady state workout, or a specific interval of time if performing an interval workout.

2) Set a Training Goal to Finish Your 5K

So often, as runners, we get caught up in the numbers. I've often found myself asking questions like 'well, what is a good 5K time?' and then obsessing over exactly what I need to do to get there.

Everyone is different. Your pace will likely be different than mine, and my pace will likely be different than my neighbor's. And that's okay! The running community is a place where those differences are embraced.

Especially if it's your first 5K, don't worry about your time, and make it your goal just to finish! Finishing alone is an incredible accomplishment to be celebrated. Plus, you can use your first race time as a springboard to make personalized and realistic time goals for your next 5K.

3) Use Treadmill Walking & Running as a Part of Your 5K Training

Walking is an amazing tool for new runners to get started, and even for experienced runners to increase their speed. Don't be shy to use both walking and running as a part of your workouts.

In fact, intentional periods of running, broken up by intentional periods of walking to help you build up your stamina. Workouts involving higher intensity periods of work with lower intensity periods of rest are called interval workouts.

Consider adding interval training into your regular routine. Below, I've included a few interval runs that would be perfect for adding to your weekly training.

Treadmill Interval Workout #1

Treadmill Interval Workout #2

30-Minute Endurance Interval Run

WARMUP

  • 5:00 Easy Jog

WORKOUT

  • 3:00 Run (moderate pace)
  • 1:00 Recovery Walk/Jog (easy)

 

Repeat 5 times.

COOLDOWN

  • 5:00 Easy Jog

30-Minute Fartlek Interval Run 

WARMUP

  • 5:00 Easy Jog

WORKOUT

  • 2:00 Run (moderate pace)
  • 1:00 Tempo Run (fast)
  • 1:00 Recovery Walk/Jog (easy)

Repeat 5 times.

COOLDOWN

  •  5:00 Easy Jog

Benefits:

Build up your endurance so you can run for longer periods of time!

Benefits:

Challenge your body at different speeds and intensities to build cardiovascular strength.

Make it Harder:

As you get fitter and stronger, you may want to make your workout more challenging. Choose one of the following - increase time spent running, decrease recovery time, or increase the number of intervals completed to extend the length of your workout session.

Make it Harder:

As you get fitter and stronger, you may want to make your workout more challenging. Choose one of the following - increase time spent running, decrease recovery time, or increase the number of intervals completed to extend the length of your workout session.

 

4) Consider Adding Treadmill Progression Training to Your 5K Training Schedule

Progression training is a type of training that increases in difficulty as it goes, whether that means progressing your pace, intensity, or resistance. In the world of running, progression can be applied to both your overall training schedule and during one specific workout.

Both are incredible ways to increase your overall fitness - but in this specific case, we're talking about completing runs that get harder as they go. The great thing about progression runs is they challenge you to build endurance and grit you can fall back on during tough moments of your race.

Below I've included a few progression runs for you to try out during your 5K training. Keep in mind; it's up to you to challenge your pace, whatever that means for you.

Treadmill Progression Workout #1

Treadmill Progression Workout #2

30-Minute Speed Progression Run

WARMUP

  • 5:00 Easy Jog

WORKOUT

  • 5:00 Run (relaxed pace, incline 1%) 
  • 5:00 Run (add speed 0.2-0.5 MPH)
  • 5:00 Run (add speed 0.2-0.5 MPH)
  • 5:00 Run (add speed 0.2-0.5 MPH)

COOLDOWN

  • 5:00 Easy Jog

30-Minute Hill Progression Run

WARMUP

  • 5:00 Easy Jog

WORKOUT

  • 2:00 Run (relaxed pace, incline 1%)
  • 2:00 Run (moderate pace, incline 2%)

Repeat 5 times, each time increasing the incline during your moderate run by 0.5-1.0%.

COOLDOWN

  •  5:00 Easy Jog

Benefits:

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and ending your run on a high note.

Benefits:

You'll likely see a hill during your race, and this is a great way to train for it.

Make it Harder:

As you get fitter and stronger, you may want to make your workout more challenging. Increase the number of 5:00 blocks completed to extend the length of your workout session or increase your pace.

Make it Harder:

As you get fitter and stronger, you may want to make your workout more challenging. Try increasing your time or incline during moderate running intervals.

 

5) Incorporate Strength Training into Your 5K Treadmill Training Plan

Strength training is a great practice for runners to incorporate into their routine. As trainers, we often see runners have overactive quads, hip flexors, and chest, as well as underactive glutes, core, and back.

With proper strength training, we can strengthen weak or underactive muscles to help us move better as we run - reducing the risk of injury and improving our posture and movement patterns.

Interested in incorporating strength training into your routine? Give this Beginners Total Body Strength Training for Runners Routine a shot.

6) Book Your In-Person 5K Race or Virtual Treadmill 5K Run

Just book the race. Having something on your calendar will keep you accountable for your training and give you something exciting to look forward to.

If you're having trouble finding a race near you or don't yet feel safe gathering with a large group of people in person, there are tons of virtual races you can sign up for online. Better yet, you'll be able to complete your race from the comfort of your home on your treadmill!

7) Find an Accountability Running Partner

Everything's better with a buddy! Find someone that can help keep you accountable. It could be someone you run with once a week or once a month, or just someone you can check in with a few days a week to talk about how your training is going.

Having that support there when you need it is invaluable to lift you up on days where you're just not feeling it and celebrate with you when you have a breakthrough.

Tips for Your First 5K Race Day

You've put in the work, and you've made it to race day.... now what? These three tips will help you run your best first race possible.

8) Do Not Try New Foods Before the Race

While it may sound like a no-brainer, race day is not the time to try some fancy breakfast you saw from your favorite fitness influencer, as excited as they may seem about it. Nope, trying new foods may lead to you feeling uncomfortable or sluggish during your race. Stick to the foods you know and eat daily.

9) Pretend Everyone is Cheering for You

While it might sound a little silly, let the hype of the crowd carry you through the finish line. Whether that crowd is cheering for you or not, pretend that they are. After all, this is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated. Soak it in!

10) Enjoy the Moment

Finally, pause and enjoy the moment. Races are so much fun. The running community is one of the best things about being a runner, and races are the perfect time to soak it in.

Connect with other runners, enjoy the music, stroll through the booths filled with running gear, take advantage of the free snacks and goodies, smile for all the photo ops. Don't be afraid to let yourself have fun!

You've done the 5K training with your treadmill; you've come prepared. Take a deep breath and run!

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