How to Run Your Best 5k Ever!

Whether it's your first 5k or your 15th, you'll want to make the most out of training for (and actually running) those 3.1 miles. Regardless of whether your goal is to run faster, lose weight, raise money for charity or just have fun, LIVESTRONG has a program for you and a challenge to motivate you!

A 5k is the perfect race distance for both newbies and experience runners. (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/GettyImages)

Starting March 4, 2019, we're hosting a 5k challenge in the LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Facebook group. You'll pick a program below based on your goal, and then train for five weeks before running the race. On race day you have two options — run a virtual 5k on your own and report back to the group or register for an official race near you!

Let's get running!

How to Train for Your 5k Goal

Each of the training programs below are based on the five most common goals people have when running a 5k — to run their first 5k, PR their 5k time, get fit or lose weight while training for a 5k, having a good time at a fun run or running a 5k to raise money for charity. So pick your goal, print out your training calendar and follow one of the programs outlined below.

Lace up your running shoes and get ready to run! (Image: Emilija Manevska/Moment/GettyImages)

1. Your First 5k Ever

If you've never run a 5k before or you're just getting back into running after an injury or inactivity, you'll want to follow our Couch to 5k Program. You'll start out slowly and build from there. It doesn't matter if you can barely run a block without getting winded, this programs is tailor-made for newbies!

Here's your training calendar:

If this is your first 5k (or first 5k in a while), this training plan is for you! (Image: Tong Li / LIVESTRONG.COM)

And here are some additional resources to help you along the way:

2. Your Fastest 5k Ever

Once you have a few 5k races under your belt, you may wonder what's next? How about training to set a personal record (PR)? With the right mix of interval training and tempo runs, you'll be crossing that finish line in record time. To help, we've put together the Run Your Fastest 5k program.

Here's your training calendar:

Looking to PR your 5k time? This is the plan for you. (Image: Tong Li / LIVESTRONG.COM)

And here are some additional resources to help you along the way:

3. Your Fittest 5k Ever

Want to either lose weight or build muscle while training for a 5k? We have all the resources you'll need to Run Your Fittest 5k — regardless of what that looks like for you. This program combines both running, strength training and proper nutrition to help you reach your goal in five weeks.

Here's your training calendar:

If you want to run a 5k while losing weight, getting stronger or just being fitter overall, check out this training plan. (Image: Tong Li / LIVESTRONG.COM)

And here are some additional resources to help you along the way:

Make running fun again! (Image: Caiaimage/Chris Ryan/Caiaimage/GettyImages)

4. Your Funnest 5k Ever

So many people dread running because it's something they think they should do. But it doesn't have to be that way — running can be fun! Especially if you sign up for an obstacle run, costume run, mud run, color run or any number of other fun runs popping up all over.

Since your main goal is to have fun, there's no set training program for this. Pick one of the three programs above if you want something to hold yourself accountable and stay active through the next five weeks. And be sure to check out these additional resources that can help you prepare for your funnest 5k yet!

5. Your Kindest 5k Ever

Usually, running is something good you do for yourself. But with the increase in popularity of charity runs, running can be good for others, too!

Since your main goal is to raise money for a charity that means something to you, there's no set training program for this, either. But you can pick one of the three programs above to help hold yourself accountable to staying active the next five weeks. And be sure to read through these additional resources that can help you make the most of your next charity run.

How to Join the 5k Challenge

Want to get in on the challenge? Here's what you need to know to get started in four easy steps:

1. Print Out Your Training Calendar

Pick a goal (and accompanying 5k training program) and print out your calendar. Make sure you keep it somewhere you'll see it every day to keep yourself on schedule.

2. Join Our Facebook Challenge Group

You're not alone in this! We have a community of more than 30,000 members who can help support and encourage you throughout the next five week (and beyond). So join the LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Facebook Group for tips, motivation and answers to your questions.

3. Follow the Plan and Share Your Progress

Each day starting on Monday, March 4, 2019, follow your training program and do the run or workout outlined for that day. Then, post your progress, small victories, minor setbacks and any questions you have along the way in our Facebook group and on social media with the hashtag #Best5kEver.

4. Run Your Race!

At the end of the five weeks — the weekend of April 6 and 7 — it's time to put your training to the test. If you've signed up for a race that weekend, rest up and enjoy your race amongst the crowd of fellow runners!

Or if there aren't any races near you that weekend, run your own 5k. Download an app like MapMyRun or Strava or use a running watch to track your mileage. Then, on your mark, get set, go! Run 3.1 miles and screenshot your app or take a photo of your final time to share in the Facebook group so we can all celebrate with you.

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