The 4-Week 5K Challenge Anyone Can Master

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If you're not a runner, the prospect of signing up for a 5K can be really scary. It can feel like committing to climb Mount Everest. But, training for a race doesn't have to be uncomfortable or unpleasant. To prove it, we enlisted training consultant and creator of the Run Walk Run method, Jeff Galloway, to teach us how to get physically and mentally 5K-ready in just four weeks.

On each of the next four Fridays, we'll be sharing a calendar with action items for the week — including three essential rest days — plus insight from Galloway on how to stay motivated and keep injuries at bay.

Got the finish line in sight? Good. It’s time to lace up your sneaks and get out there.

How To Master A 5K In 28 Days: Week 2

Now that you've spent a week getting accustomed to the low-impact, low-time-commitment Run Walk Run method, you deserve a pat on the back. You've stuck with the program, worked through your "I don't think I can do it today" moments, and are ready to take things to the next level.

During week two of your training, commit to understanding — and practicing — the right kind of workouts on non-run days. 

"Any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle is safe and recommended on Mondays, even though they're technically listed as rest days," says Galloway. "Walking, aqua-jogging, swimming, cycling, using the elliptical, and rowing are all good bets, but stair machines, leg-weight work, and step aerobics are not." But, you really must take it easy (hey, it’s the perfect time to catch up on The Bachelor) on Wednesdays and Fridays, since these fall before and after your long run.

Why do anything besides couch potato it up on days you could technically take off? Because light cardio continues to condition your body without exhausting it to the point of injury — or over-using the calf muscle. Light exercise on Mondays will leave you better prepared come race day. Although, replaying the drama from the last rose ceremony right around mile three could be a solid way to distract yourself from the intense burn.