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Zero-to-5K in 9 Weeks!


By Tom Wilson, Fitness Coach

The Daniel Plan will be hosting the first Daniel Plan Fun Run (5K, 10K and 1K for kids) on June 11. I'm sure many of you would love to participate, but just don't know how to get started preparing for such an event. Well do not fear, your Zero-to-5K training schedule is here!

This program is designed to transform you from couch potato to 5K-ready between now and then, which provides us with nine weeks of training time. Just follow the plan as it's been laid out and you should be more than prepared to safely complete the distance and have a great time doing it.

But I Can't Run!

You may have some physical limitations that keep you from running but that's no excuse to skip the Fun Run. This training schedule can prepare you to "power walk" the course as well. Power walking is simply taking it up a notch from the walk-like-you're-late pace we encourage during your normal walking routine.

Stay Within Your Limits…Be Patient!

Rule #1: Don't do too much the first time out. Seriously, this is where we lose so many good intentioned participants. You feel great during the first workout so you figure you'll just go a little further and a little faster. Your enthusiasm and adrenalin take you past your safe training zone. The result is pain and possible injury occurring the next day. You have to gradually allow your body/muscles/joints to adjust to the new stresses your subjecting it to. Remember, it's not how good you feel during the workout, it's how well your body recovers the next day…especially for beginners. So if you're just starting out, stay with the program for the first couple weeks. After that, you should have a good feel for how your body is responding and whether or not you can push yourself a little harder (or maybe back off). Be patient and don't feel pressured to stay with the workouts if you're experiencing abnormal muscle pain. It's ok to repeat a week if necessary. Give your body the time it needs to adapt to the workout.

Time Commitment

For optimal results, schedule three workouts per week with each workout lasting 30-45 minutes. This includes your warm-up and post stretch. Remember, these are just guidelines. It may take you longer if you're just starting out. If your schedule permits, take at least one day off between workouts. This allows your body to recover between sessions and decrease the potential for injury.


The Daniel Plan Fun Run Training Schedule


WEEK 1

Workout 1-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! This warm-up should be at a brisk pace.
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Alternate 30 seconds of jogging with 1 ½ minutes walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • (If you can't run, substitute the job with a power walk)

Workout 2-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Alternate 1 minute of jogging with 1 ½ minutes walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • (If you can't run, substitute the job with a power walk)

Workout 3-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! This warm-up should be at a brisk pace.
  • 5 Minute Stretch
  • Alternate 30 seconds of jogging with 1 ½ minutes walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • (If you can't run, substitute the job with a power walk)


WEEK 2

Workout 1-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Alternate 30 seconds of jogging with 1 ½ minutes walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • (If you can't run, substitute the job with a power walk)

Workout 2-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Alternate 1 ½ minutes of jogging with 2 minutes walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • (If you can't run, substitute the job with a power walk)

Workout 3-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Alternate 1 minute of jogging with 1 ½ minutes walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • (If you can't run, substitute the job with a power walk)


WEEK 3 (begin interval training)

Workout 1-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 1 ½ minutes
  • Walk 1 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 3 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • (repeat all in bold)

Workout 2-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 2 minutes
  • Walk 1 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 3 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • (repeat all in bold)

Workout 3-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 1 ½ minutes
  • Walk 1 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 3 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • (repeat all in bold)


WEEK 4

Workout 1-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 3 minutes
  • Walk 1 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes
  • Walk 2 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 3 minutes
  • Walk 1 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes

Workout 2-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 3 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 6 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 3 minutes
  • Walk 1 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes

Workout 3-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 3 minutes
  • Walk 1 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes
  • Walk 2 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 3 minutes
  • Walk 1 ½ minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes


WEEK 5

Workout 1-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes

Workout 2-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 7 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 7 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes

Workout 3-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 10 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 8 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes


WEEK 6

Workout 1-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 10 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 5 minutes
  • Walk 2 minutes

Workout 2-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 10 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 10 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes

Workout 3-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 20 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes


WEEK 7

Workout 1-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 15 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 10 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes

Workout 2-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 10 minutes
  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog (or power walk) 10 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes

Workout 3-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 25 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes


WEEK 8

Workout 1-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 25 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes

Workout 2-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 30 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes

Workout 3-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 25 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes


WEEK 9

Workout 1-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 30 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes

Workout 2-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 30 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes

Workout 3-

  • Walk 5 minutes…as if you're late! (brisk pace warm-up)
  • 5-minute stretch
  • Jog (or power walk) 30 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes