How to Jump-Start Your 5K or Half Marathon Training


You may have noticed that registration is now open for the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon and 5K on February 4, 2018, with Early Bird pricing available until September 18th.

While February might sound far off right now, six months is about right when you start training for your first race. What do you need to do to get your training off the ground?

The first step, experts say, is to test yourself to see where you are right now. It doesn’t matter whether you’re currently able to run a mile, or walk 3 blocks – you just want to know. So lace up your shoes, hit the pavement, and check out your stamina, strength, and cardio fitness.

How far can you walk before you feel exhausted or your muscles start to ache? Now pick up the pace – at what point do you get out of breath? The majority of your training should take place at or below 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. (To learn your target heart rate, use this calculator.) With these landmarks in your mind, and set yourself to push past them bit by tiny bit. Remember, training for a race is, well, a marathon, not a sprint.

Motivation is perhaps the biggest factor affecting your success as you introduce a new fitness goal into your routine. Help is available from numerous websites such as, Runner’s World, Hal Higdon, and, which offer training schedules geared towards complete novices, experienced runners, and everything in between.

A handy app called Couch to 5K breaks down the process into incremental steps and aids you in planning your progress along the way.

Many people also find it useful to download and print out a beginner’s training schedule and keep it handy to refer to in planning your week. Gadgets known as wearable tech can also help you track your health and fitness.

Most important of all is to take it slow and easy and give yourself at least one day of rest each week to let your body recover. And if you have any question at all about your fitness to take on a 5K or Half Marathon, get your doctor’s okay before you begin training.


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