Preparing for a 5K Walk
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Preparing for a 5K Walk

If walking has been your number-one workout, this 8-week program will take you to the next level.


More and more amateurs (like you and me) are toeing up to the starting line all over the country. Here's a quick prep course from Mindy Solkin, running coach and owner of The Running Center in New York City on getting ready to run or walk a 5K race.


  • Pick your event and start training 2 to 3 months before race day.
  • Scout out a place to walk or run. A local park, track, or path near your home is perfect. Just make sure it's safe (choose a place that's well lit) and convenient.
  • Get the right shoes: Shop for your running shoes at a specialty store where a knowledgeable salesperson can help determine what style is best for your stride.
  • If you're planning to run, adopt this training program: Start with a simple run-walk program. Go out every other day for a total of 15 minutes, alternating three minutes of walking with one minute of running. As you gain endurance (by about the third week), switch to equal amounts of running and walking. By week five or six, try running more than walking (alternate three-minute runs with one-minute walks). Slowly build on your 15-minute routine by gradually adding minutes to your total exercise time. By a week before the race, you should be up to 30 minutes.
  • If you're planning to walk, start with 20 minutes three days a week. Each week, add 10 minutes to one of your walks until you build up to a 60-minute walk.
  • What to wear: If the temperature is above 40 to 50 degrees, shorts and a T-shirt are your best bet. If it's below 50 degrees, bring gloves. If it's below 40 degrees, wear running tights and long sleeves. Pick breathable fabrics that wick sweat away from your skin. Avoid cotton because it gets wet and stays wet.

Race Day

  • Gearing up on race day: Your clothes and shoes shouldn't be brand spanking new on the day of the event. Be sure to give them a whirl before heading to the starting line. This will help you avoid painful blisters
  • Stay hydrated: Get water at each station. As you approach the station, slow down to a walk so you can get enough fluids. Also, don't forget to up your fluid intake in the days preceding the race so you're fully hydrated come race day.
  • Line up: For your first race, head to the middle or back of the pack to avoid getting trampled by the speedsters at the start. Take in the race atmosphere -- and get excited. Before you know it, the finish line will be in sight.