Training for Your First 5K – Week 2

Training for Your First 5k - Week 2 video

Ready? Set! Get Running and add cross training to your running program!

The time is now to get motivated and set your race day goals. By registering for a specific race, you will be accountable with a goal to achieve… running a race to completion!


Choosing a race to run is exciting and will get you in the right frame of mind for training! Take some time this week to figure out what race you want to enter and where it is occurring. There may be a local run in your area, a fun night run, or perhaps you want to travel to another city to race! This is the fun behind the run. So choose the race, commit by registering, and get serious by focusing on the training ahead!


Before we get into the continuation of the 5K training program, it’s important to go over some important running terms you should know and understand. Whether you are prepping for your first run or you have been running for years, it’s always good to know what terms are what when discussing the task at hand.

Here’s a long list of running terms that will have you sounding like a pro when talking the ‘run’ with other runners.

  • EASY RUN – a low paced run where you are comfortable and able to talk without getting breathless.
  • HARD RUN – a high volume, intense paced run where you have an elevated heart rate. This can be performed for greater distances, interval sprints, or a combination of specific methods to work at a high intensity.
  • HILL WORK/ TRAINING – Running up and down hills repeatedly to build overall strength, speed, and power.
  • INTERVALS – Periods of intense running bouts followed by easier running recovery. Walking can be substituted for recovery as well.
  • LSD – Stands for ‘long, slow distance’ or a long slow day. It’s usually a slower pace since this is longest run of the week to achieve extra miles. 
  • FARTLEK – Funny word right?! Well, it’s a Swedish word for ‘speed play’. A type of training that incorporates a fast run followed by an easy run for recovery.
  • CROSS TRAINING – Workouts that every runner should incorporate into their training! Includes lower impact strength movements and flexibility training to work other areas of the body that running does not. This is what this whole 5K training program is all about!
  • BAREFOOT TRAINING/ RUNNING – This term can apply to literally running barefoot or to a minimalist movement in which you wear a shoe with minimal support. This has its benefits as well as cons depending on the person. Foot strength and flexibility is extremely important to obtain, and it needs to always be trained. Barefoot training would benefit those most for shorter distances and for cross training purposes to develop the intricate muscles of the feet and ankles.
  • PACE – Pertains to how fast you run per mile. (i.e., someone who runs 1 mile for 30 minutes will have a 10 min mile pace.)
  • CADENCE – The number of steps you take per minute while running. The most efficient cadence is about 180 steps per minute.
  • PICKUPS – Mini accelerations during a run to randomly increase the intensity.
  • SPLITS – The time it takes per mile in a multi-mile run. For instance, the first mile may be slower than the 2nd or 4th or perhaps during a long run mile 7 may be a struggle at a slower pace. Tracking the splits can allow you to see where you need the most energy or may want to pick up the pace.
  • STRIDES – Lengthening your legs to achieve short bursts of speed. Typically done at the end of a workout or race to push to the end.
  • TEMPO RUNS – A run conducted at a moderate pace for the running duration.
  • RECOVERY RUN – Short and slow runs usually done after a hard workout or after a race to get circulation into your body. It’s nothing strenuous.
  • REST DAYS – A day of rest from running! Your body needs a break to ensure recovery.
  • FOOT STRIKE – How your foot hits the ground. The ideal strike is to land in the middle of the foot to prevent injuries and run more efficiently.
  • FORM – The mechanics of how you run is important for efficiency. Ideally, shoulders are back, arms are at 90, and short strides are taken while staying relaxed. Notice how people run and the form they use. It’s all different.
  • FUEL – What you consume on your runs, especially for distance training, that give your muscles sustained energy. (ie: gels, sports drinks, energy products)
  • HYDRATION – What you drink prior, during, post run to avoid dehydration.
  • HITTING THE WALL/ BONKING – The point in a race/run where you want to stop or feel you cant go any further due to being physically exhausted, injured or have a mental thought take over. Check out this blog post to learn more.
  • LACTIC ACID – A compound produced in your body when glucose is broken down and oxidized. During intense exercise when oxygen levels are lower, more is produced which causes a burning sensation in muscles when they’re active. This can result in fatigue, feeling heavy, and slow. Be sure to recover, stretch, and rest post run.
  • COMPRESSION SOCKS – Tight socks or sleeves you wear on your lower leg to increase blood flow and reduce lactic acid buildup. 
  • CHAFING – This is a super painful experience when parts of the body rub together or your clothing rubs your skin during running causing redness, soreness and possible bleeding. (ie: inner thighs, nipples, armpits) If this happens to you, try using Vaseline on the affected areas to prevent this from occurring.


Now that you have an understanding about specific running terms, it’s also important to go over some running words you need to know for race day. Here’s some helpful ‘lingo’ that can get you up to speed to speak about your 5K training the right way.


5K =3.1 miles

10K = 6.2 miles

Half-marathon = 13.1 miles

Marathon = 26.2 miles


  • AID STATION – Specific locations where volunteers hand out water, sports drinks or other types of hydration and fuel during a race. Typically there are 1-2 stations during a shorter race (5K) and more on longer racers.
  • AGE GROUP – It’s a way to categorize people in races. Typically they’re grouped in 4-9 year increments (30-34 years or 30-39 years). Awards are often given to the top three runners in each age group.
  • CHIP/CHIP TIME – A chip that’s attached to your shoelaces or embedded into your bib that measures when you cross the start/ finish line. It doesn’t refer to the overall clock, just the time it took you to actually complete the race.
  • BIB – A paper containing your race number that’s pinned to your shirt on race day.
  • BQ – Stand for Boston Qualifiers. It’s a special time to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
  • CORRAL – Ways to group people based on their expected finish time. Faster runners start at the front, while slower runners start in the back. If the race contains walkers, they would be the last to start.
  • DNF – Stands for ‘Did not finish’. Sometimes people drop out or get an injury, which causes them to not finish the course.
  • ELITE RUNNER – A fast, experienced professional runner.
  • ULTRA RUNNER – Someone who runs and keeps running! They run any distance beyond a regular marathon. (50K=31 miles, 100K= 62.1 miles, or 100 miles!)
  • PR or PB – Stands for ‘Personal Record’ or ‘Personal Best’ at any distance.
  • RACE DIRECTOR – A race or event coordinator.
  • TAPER – Reducing the mileage prior to a race to feel fresh, recovered, and ready for race day.
  • BANDIT – Someone who runs a race without paying or registering to run. You can spot these guys if they don’t have a bib on.

Now you are ready to talk the talk… and run this race, super star style!


Running is an amazing cardio workout that fuels your mind and body with energy. There’s nothing quite like getting a few miles in to get your blood pumping. It’s not for everyone, but if you train and condition your body the right way, it may be your new fitness hobby and energizing drug! If you are already an avid runner, there are so many ways to improve upon to make your runs more efficient as well.

Incorporating cross training workouts into a running program is essential to provide balanced workouts for the body and to be the best runner you can be. It helps to strengthen any muscular or joint weaknesses, it develops stability in the ligaments and joints, and it helps maintain flexibility to run stronger.


Cross training is an important part of the program. It will boost your fitness level and benefit your running ability. Try to perform no more than 2-3 strength days per week in conjunction to the running schedule when training for a race. 

Since the goal is to run a 5K, you need to run a heavy dosage of miles to build your stamina and add short bursts of speed intervals to develop running strength and power. Don’t worry! You do not need to be doing full-powered sprints. Just by picking up the speed for a short burst, you can develop fast twitch muscle fibers that build speed.

There are many ways to incorporate cross training into your training routine. In this program, I have designed an efficient workout that utilizes your Total Gym.  However, if you feel you want to add another method along with it, here are some great activities to include in your program that offer excellent benefits as well.

  • Yoga: develops the mind-body connection, lengthens muscles, prevents injury
  • Pilates: strengthens while lengthening muscles to perform at optimal ranges of motion
  • Pool workouts: builds strength, flexibility, speed, and power without risking injury.
  • Other sources of cardio: spinning, elliptical, rollerblading, power walking, etc. all develop cardiovascular strengths and contribute to a great cross training option
  • Sports: every sport contains an element of strength, speed, power, functional ability. Playing a sport trains your body in other ways running does not. 


This is the 2rd week of the program, so if you’re just joining in now, please refer back to Week 1 to get the full program details.

The program progresses over a 4-8 week training cycle that builds upon the previous weeks. You can choose how many weeks you need to train for a given race and a set goal.


If you are already running regularly and want to add more speed to your runs, you can choose to train for 4 week and focus on that aspect. 


If you are new to running, you may consider to condition and train for 8 weeks prior to the race to develop the strength and endurance needed to accomplish this goal. 

Either way, there are many good things to accomplish over the upcoming weeks prior to race day!

The program listed provides a running schedule as well as specific cross training workouts to follow each week. The cross training workouts utilize your Total Gym equipment to get functionally fit faster. Feel free to modify the exercise sequences to suit your schedule and your fitness level. 

Lastly, plan to accomplish the recommended miles each week. If you are training to increase your speed, perform the speed and endurance runs on non-consecutive days. Now let’s review the training program and go over the new exercises for week 2 of the training.





NOTE: Although this is the 2nd week of your training, you are following ‘week 3’ of the program. Remember, you are performing the ’ODD’ weeks of the plan.

By now, you have committed to yourself and to achieving a faster race time. Job well done! You are on your way to developing what it takes to run with speed and precision.

Take this time to focus on your speed, power, and strength development by adding plyometrics to your training schedule. Plyometric exercises should only be performed 2 days maximum during the week. Therefore, I suggest performing them on the 2 cross training strength days.


Directions: After every TG strength move, immediately perform a plyometric exercise. Perform 10 reps, 2 sets with good form.

  • Lunge drop (right/left legs, SS)
  • Side-Side (SS) Squat Hops
  • Jump lunges 
  • 1 Burpie, 4 high knee runs


You may have a goal in mind, but perhaps you haven’t set it in stone yet. So, now is the time to find your race, register, and commit to the training. This is a perfect time to develop new habits that will contribute to your lifestyle and training program. 

Focus the workouts on properly pacing your runs and developing stamina. The training schedule can be modified to suit your week(s). However, try to stick to the plan and accomplish all the recommended workouts along with the suggested running distances. 

This is a beginner-intermediate training program that prepares you to gain strength, speed, and the courage to test your skills to run a 5K race! 

The cross training routines incorporate a strength training routine that should be performed in conjunction with the weekly running schedule. It’s a perfect plan for beginners as well as experienced runners who want to focus on a low mileage approach.

The following schedule is only a guide. Feel free to make modifications or add to what is listed here to accommodate your work and family schedule.







  • – The 3rd and 4th week focuses on light-moderate running to develop stamina and contains 2 cross training days utilizing your Total Gym. 
  • – Follow the plan as listed.
  • – Incorporate flexibility daily to ensure proper recover and to prevent injury.
  • – If you are on the 4-week plan, continue the training schedule with the new set of exercises for this week (your 2nd week) and incorporate plyometric exercises on the cross training days. 

NOTE: The workouts are listed in 2 week increments to accommodate those on the 8 week plan. As a reminder, you will follow the “odd” weeks: 1, 3, 5, & 7.

  • If you are on the 8-week plan, perform each week as listed. You will perform the same strength workouts two weeks in a row. You will also have the whole program by week four, but just stay focused on each weekly schedule until you have reached the full 8 weeks.
  • – All strength workouts will be performed in Circuit format. 
  • – Include your own core exercises on the ‘Core’ day listed. (ie: forearm planks, bicycles, v-ups, etc.)

I know there’s a lot of information contained here, but I want to educate you properly and provide you with an effective program that will meet your desired goals. So don’t get overwhelmed, just take each week as it comes and make it work for you.


Week 2 for 4 week training

Weeks 3-4 for 8 week training

Dynamic Warm-Up

  • Perform a dynamic warm-up prior to ALL your workout session.  This will prepare your muscles for the workout ahead.  Refer to this post for an efficient dynamic warm-up routine. 

Cross Training Strength Circuit

  • Perform the exercises in circuit format with no rest between exercises. 
  • 10 reps, 2 sets
  • 1. Step up – Knee Up
  • 2. Plié Squat Pulses
  • 3. Hamstring curls +crunch twist
  • 4. Reverse lunges
  • 5. Bicycle crunch
  • 6. Pushups, Dips and Hips

Core Exercises

  • Perform a series of core exercises of your choice on the ‘Core’ day
  • 10 reps, 2 sets.

Stretch/ Recover

  • Perform post workout stretches and/or foam rolling.  Refer to this post for post workout stretches and foam rolling techniques.

Check out the video to see how to perform the strength exercises.

Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ with your friends.

Good luck with the second part of this training. Keep your mind on the goal and your body in motion. Enjoy the process of bettering yourself as the weeks go by. Stay tuned for week 3 of the 5K program!

Best to you!

Run Strong!


Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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