Training for a 5k- Preparation Stage

March 5, 2015

If you’re here, it’s because you are looking for some running advice and perhaps a training schedule. You’re in luck, because I am going to share a plan to get you training for a 5k in the next 8 weeks.

I will start posting a weekly schedule on Sunday, along with some tips for increasing strength and flexibility, reducing your propensity for injuries, improving your form and pace, and some gear tips and reviews.

But before we begin, I want to welcome you. I hope that you find this useful and informative and it changes your entire life. By the end of this program, you will not recognize yourself. You will be a version of yourself that you have never met. But you will respect this new version and wish you had taken this journey earlier in your life.

OK, that’s a little dramatic. But you will be healthier and hopefully happier after doing this.

So, who am I and why would you take my advice on anything, especially running? After all, I am an unprepared father who knows very little about being a dad. What good advice could I possibly have to share?

Something you may not know about me is that I used to be a pretty decent runner. Here are some of my career highlights:

  • I ran one day of cross country for the University of Oregon. My freshman year I walked onto the team and quickly walked off, knowing that I was way out of my league. I figured this out when I went to one of their trial practices where I was one of the worst runners with the best hangover. Look, I was a good runner, but I was an even better partier, so I decided to focus on what I was best at.
  • I transfered to Portland State University and completed an entire season with that team. I finished the year 127th out of 160 at the NCAA West Regional Meet, covering 10,000 meters in 35 minutes, 36 seconds. That’s 5:47 pace for 6.2 miles, which sounds fast until I mention that the winner, Oregon’s Steve Fein, ran the same race in 30:30 (4:54 pace). I left the team to return to Eugene and resume my partying career.
  • Speaking of 4:54, I could at one time run exactly one mile in 4:54, which I did at the Elden Kellar Invitational in Hillsboro, OR. I would have been close to last place if I had been in high school at that time. Fortunately for me I was 32 years old so I ran in the Alumni Mile. My goal was to run under 5:00, so leading up to the event I did the same workouts that I assigned my athletes who were trying to go under 5. I ran 5:01 at our Twilight Invite, but then came back two weeks later in the true mile in well under 5:00. I celebrated by eating a hot dog with my good friend, Kim Bliss.
  • I qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2009 by running 3:07:46 at the hilly Portland Marathon. Afterwards my then-girlfriend Meghaan and I went out for beers and I did not have dry shoes, so I changed my socks and put bags over them to keep my feet dry in my wet shoes. I wooshed around the Cheerful Tortoise, drinking away my soreness. Nobody noticed me, except for everyone.
  • I placed 7th overall in the 2012 Vancouver Half Marathon, in 1:25. That was the same year I ran the 4:54 mile, and is around the time that my Achilles tendon started to act up. It has still not fully healed and I struggle to run pain free.
  • I have been a track and cross country coach at my high school for the past 8 years, and during each of my 5 years as head cross country coach we took the boys’ team to the state meet. In 2010 I was named 3A GSHL Coach of the Year over Camas’ Mike Hickey, who has since coached teenage phenom Alexa Efraimson to a professional career although she is still in high school. I only bring that up in the same way that someone could say they beat Michael Jordan in 1-on-1 when they were 10; it means very little but it’s great for bragging rights. He’s clearly one of the best coaches around, but one year I took him down. So I will always bring that up. Always.

Why am I telling you all these things? Because I need to convince myself that I am still a runner. I have run 8 miles in 2015, 6 of which happened this week over the past 3 days. I am not in shape right now, but I am working on making a comeback. S L O W L Y.

Also, I think those add credibility to who I am and why you should listen to me.

In addition, some of my students have been reading my blog, so I want them to be clear that I was an absolute bad-ass in my day.


So let’s get to work. Here’s what we need:

Footwear: You need running shoes, not “athletic” shoes. Get to your nearest running store and have them give you a proper fitting. If you try to order shoes online, you will probably get the wrong shoes unless you already know what works for you. And avoid gimmicky shoes. Get fitted and avoid the hype. I wear the Asics GT-1000, which I picked up on Amazon. But I have been fitted for these and have gone through dozens of pairs of this exact model. Do me a solid and support your local independently-owned running store if you have the money. I do when I can afford it.

Clothing: A shirt and shorts are good. Make them as neon as possible if you want to be “hip”. I wear blacks and greys. In fact, my shoes are black. I don’t want anyone to notice me more than they already do.

Hydration: Drink water. I drink 150-200 ounces a day but that’s what works for me. If your pee is light yellow, you’re good. If it’s clear, you’re overhydrated. If it’s bright yellow, you’re made of Mountain Dew.

Watch: I love my Garmin 110, which I got on Amazon for $70 as a refurbished model. It is sleek and looks good on your wrist even when you aren’t running. And the price is amazing. But if you want to save some money, I love the Ironman series from Timex, which you can get at Target. If that’s too much, mount a sundial to your arm.

Plan: I will provide the weekly schedule on Sunday and you will do your best to follow it. We all have things going on, so don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day. Just know that it may affect your training very slightly. Nothing to worry about though.

Race: Find a local race that’s 2-3 months away and if you have guts, sign up today. Then you have to train or you’ll be hurting during the run, and after.

Begin: If you have not been running, I want you to go on a walk for at least 20 minutes at least every other day until Monday, when we will begin training. If you have been running, keep running as you have. No workouts necessary for now.


That’s it. You now know something about me, a little about our plan, and some things you’ll need.


So now I need to know if there’s anything particular about you or your training. Comment below if you are looking for some customization to the plan and I will see what I can do.

Now, get walking. I will see you on Sunday.

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  • Reply Sara March 5, 2015 at 7:25 am

    This is awesome Dave, Matt has been talking about starting to run again, and I think this will get him out on the pavement!

    • Reply David March 5, 2015 at 7:26 am

      Alright Sara, let Matt know his transformation starts Monday!

  • Reply Aunt Mae Mae! March 6, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    I think I might actually try this! Ive been needing to get back iinto running and this just might be the push that i need!!

    • Reply David March 6, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      You can do it Mae Mae! The plan will come out Sunday. Get ready to rock!

  • Reply Todd March 7, 2015 at 12:25 am

    I’m going to be following this and will give it a try. I’ve had problems with my knees before when I’ve tried running, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to handle it, but I really want to do a 5K this year with my daughter.

    • Reply David March 7, 2015 at 7:57 am

      Great! I’m going to try and accommodate everyone with the levels of training so please chime in if you want some specific advice.

      I don’t know what state your knees are in, so make sure you listen to your body and take care of any issues that may arise.



    • Reply David March 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      How’s the training going, Todd?

  • Reply Tim @ Families Again March 15, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    EEK! Should I really try this? My mind says to go for it because I really need to get in shape, but my 54 year old body says “who are you kidding?” I was a runner in highschool. I lost every race I was in! I’m talking dead last. My career lasted all of two years and then the rest of the team begged me to not try out again. But, I loved to run! I’ve always wanted to try running a 5K. I’ll let you know what happens. Now to go out and walk for 20 minutes.

    • Reply David March 15, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Tim, you absolutely should try it, but be cautious. Ease into it and start with more walking than running. Commit to the schedule before you commit to mileage. You can do it! Let me know if you have questions.

    • Reply David March 22, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      Have you given it a shot, Tim? I think you can do it!

      • Reply Tim @ Families Again March 22, 2015 at 8:09 pm

        I’ve been working at it. Last Sunday I began walking 20 minutes a day. We were visiting my mother-in-law and she lives on a loop road that is about 1/5 of a mile around the loop. On Tuesday after one lap I just felt like jogging so I did. Jogged a lap and then walked a lap. I did that for the rest of the week. I used to run a lot when I was in high school so I knew somewhat how to pace myself, breathing, etc. and I really felt good. Couldn’t go out yesterday. Today I was only able to walk about 20 minutes but tomorrow I can get back into it again. I’ll let you know what happens with week two. My only problem is running shoes. We are on a tight budget so I’m not sure when I can get some. Thanks for the encouragement!

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