Anna Wootton


Your 5K Running Plan – Week 2


Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

I hope you’re relaxing and enjoying your holiday.

When you come back, you might be in more need of this running plan than ever – just saying…I know how those Thanksgiving meals can get ;).

So we pick up our running plan (5 weeks to a 5K!) for Week 2. Click here for Week 1.

As I said before, you can take longer than a week to stay at each level before progressing. Don’t stress! Take it at your own pace.

DISCLAIMER: Before we get started, please note I am NOT a doctor or an expert of any sort in this field so you will need to consult a doctor before trying a new exercise plan. Please just be smart and listen to your body – rest when you need to! This is simply my training plan when I started running again, and I found it really beneficial so thought I would share :) .


DAY 1: Get outside (or on a treadmill at 3% incline if you can’t go out) and do a 25-minute walk/run workout. Aim for a 50/50 split with walking/running – walk for 10 minutes of the 20 and run for 10. You can walk for 10 straight and run the last 10 or split it up like so:

  • Walk 2 mins (warm-up)
  • Run 2 min
  • Walk 2 mins
  • Run 2 min
  • Walk 2 mins
  • Run 2 mins
  • Walk 2 mins
  • Run 2 mins
  • Walk 2 mins
  • Run 2 mins
  • Walk 3 mins (cooldown)


DAY 2: Hit the gym for a weights circuit. This time we’ll add some small cardio bursts in between.

  • 10 push-ups from plank (if you can do them on a Bosu balance ball even better)
  • 15 squats with bicep curls (use whichever dumbbell weight works best for you, from 5-15lbs)
  • 15 bench tricep dips
  • 20 stability ball crunches
  • 20 Russian twists
  • 30 jumping jacks

Repeat the circuit twice for a total of three circuits.


DAY 3: REST! This is your complete rest day – so try to rest as completely as possible.

DAY 4: Do a yoga class or yoga at home using a DVD or a routine from the Internet. Try to do a class such as a flow class or an energetic hatha, but nothing too draining – you’re working out tomorrow!

DAY 5: Go to the gym and get on an elliptical. I have put the workout below – you’ll be changing resistance levels and that’s all, but the important thing for this workout is to do the full 30 minutes. If you need to set the resistances lower, or max out at a lower resistance and stay there longer, that’s totally fine, so long as you are able to sustain 30 minutes of working out!

If your elliptical has an incline setting, set it at 10% for the whole workout.

  • 1-3 mins – warm-up at 6 resistance
  • 3-5 mins – increase to 7 resistance
  • 5-6 mins – go fast at 7 resistance
  • 6-8 mins – increase to 8 resistance
  • 8-9 mins – go fast at 8 resistance
  • 9-11 mins – increase to 9 resistance
  • 11-12 mins – go fast at 9 resistance
  • 12-14 mins – increase to 10 resistance
  • 14-15 mins – go fast at 10 resistance
  • 15-17 mins – decrease to 9 resistance
  • 17-18 mins – go in reverse at 9 resistance
  • 18-20 mins – decrease to 8 resistance
  • 20-21 mins – go in reverse at 8 resistance
  • 21-23 mins – decrease to 7 resistance
  • 23-24 mins – go in reverse at 7 resistance
  • 24-26 mins – decrease to 6 resistance
  • 26-27 mins – go in reverse at 6 resistance
  • 27-30 mins – decrease and go steady at 5 resistance
  • 30-33 mins – give yourself a few minutes to cool down, taking the pace easy and with no resistance

And remember – afterwards, stretch!

DAY 6: This is your active rest day. You can do a yin yoga class (intense stretching, but no real calorie burn) or go for a light walk around your neighbourhood. Whatever relaxes you but still gets you moving your body a little bit.

DAY 7: Go outside (if you can) for a long walk. 45 minutes minimum, up to 1 hour. Try to walk briskly, or do intervals where you power walk for 1 minute and relax your pace for 2 minutes.

Remember, if you need to do this week’s plan for 2 or 3 weeks before moving on, do so! But if you are determined to get to that 5K in 5 weeks, meet me next Thursday for your Week 3 plan!

SPOTLIGHT ON: Stretching

It’s been said that regular stretching, and maintaining flexibility in the body, can help to increase range of motion and prevent injuries.

Studies will always be all over the place with this, but one thing is for sure: there’s no harm to be done by stretching your body (so long as you’re honouring your body’s limits and not pushing yourself too far too soon!). The key is to hold stretches for longer than the average 10 seconds. If I’m stretching after a regular workout, I hold mine for 30 seconds minimum. This really allows the muscle to open up.

Also, “breathe into” your stretch – I know, I know, such yoga speak but it’s true! What it means is that we often hold our breath when things get uncomfortable, but if we actually take a deep breath and try to imagine that breath going to the tight area, it can gradually relax. It might be a really small change at first, but as you keep stretching it will eventually open up.

I know some people believe everyone can do the splits with enough stretching, while others believe that some people will just never be able to get into splits because of the way their bodies are built. I cannot do the splits, but through regular yoga practice I have noticed a huge difference in my hamstring flexibility – always my tightest spot.

In fact, hamstrings are the tightest spot for a lot of us, particularly those of us in desk jobs. Why? Think about it. When you’re sitting at a desk, in a chair, you’re knees are bent. This shortens your hamstring, and over time they maintain that tightness and shortness, so we need to elongate them through regular stretching.

And remember: keep me posted! (By email, comments below, on Twitter or Facebook!)