You probably already know that running is good for you. It’s one of the best types of cardio exercises you can do to promote good health and longevity. Running regularly reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and can improve back health, memory, and mood. Doing aerobic exercises like running at least 5 days a week also lowers chances of contracting an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) by 43%.
Running is also great because it doesn’t require much equipment — just comfortable athletic clothing and a supportive pair of sneakers. Plus you can do it pretty much anywhere or any time it’s convenient for you!
Even though it’s a low-cost hobby, it can be intimidating to try to become “a runner.” The Firefly 5K training plan will take you from running novice to racing in your first 5K (3.1 miles) in just seven weeks!
Not quite ready to tackle running yet? That’s totally OK! Walking is just as good as running when it comes to lowering your risk of heart disease — it just burns fewer calories. You can still use this plan to train to walk your 5K and then build up to running when you feel ready!
Looking for a 5K race to sign up for? Check out RunGuides to find a race near you or a virtual race you can participate in from anywhere!
1. Make sure you have supportive sneakers that fit well.
2. Drink plenty of water both before and after your run/walk.
3. Get plenty of rest and listen to your body if you’re not feeling well.
4. Stay motivated by setting small yet achievable goals along the way.
5. Always warm up and stretch before and after running/walking.
You can do anything for 15 seconds, we promise. For the first week, you’ll blend walking and running to start building your endurance. On “run/walk” days, you’ll run for 15 seconds, followed by 45 seconds of walking. However, if you’re planning to walk your 5K race, just walk on days labeled “run/walk.”
Your goal in Week 1 is to build up to running/walking 3 miles over the weekend. Be sure to take at least one rest day to allow your body to recover!
Keep up the hard work! Continue running for 15 seconds, followed by 45 seconds of walking on “run/walk” days. This week you’ll be building up to run/walk 3.5 miles!
You’re almost halfway there! This week you’ll change your run/walk cadence to 20 seconds of running, followed by 40 seconds of walking. You’re building up to run/walk 2 miles over the weekend at the adjusted pace.
Continue the same cadence of 20 seconds of running followed by 40 seconds of walking. This week you’ll build up to be able to run/walk 4 miles — double the distance from Week 3. But don’t worry! If you stick to this plan, it’ll be a breeze!
You’re getting closer to the goal! This week you’ll adjust your cadence to 25 seconds of running followed by 35 seconds of running. (Remember, if you’re planning to walk your 5K, just stick to walking). Your distance goal will be 2 miles over the weekend since you’re increasing the time you spend running.
Almost there! Continue the run/walk cadence from last week, but you’ll be building up to run/walk 4.5 miles over the weekend.
Race week is here! This week you’ll change your training cadence to 30 seconds of walking followed by 30 seconds of walking, with the end goal of being able to run your whole 5K over the weekend!
Make sure you cool down with an easy jog or walk to bring your heart rate down gradually, drink plenty of water to rehydrate, and grab a snack containing both carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes (plus a proper meal within 2 hours). Later on you should treat yourself to a sports massage — you deserve it! And always remember to get adequate sleep to help your body recover.
You did it! You’re a runner! Now you can build on the work you’ve put in and incorporate running into your weekly fitness routine.
The CDC recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or a combination of both moderate and vigorous activity. Being active 30 minutes a day on most days of the week can help you meet these guidelines. And remember: always consult with your physician before starting any new fitness program.
At Firefly, we're all about helping people find sustainable ways to stay active and live their healthiest lives. If you'd like help creating a fitness plan that fits your unique lifestyle and needs, consult with your care team today through the Firefly app. Not a member yet? Get started by signing up on our website or giving us a call at (855) 869-9284.