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Sofa to 5K Training Tips

In two to three months, you can go from slug to star with this 5K training plan.

Getting Into Shape continued...

You can walk-run the event or even walk the entire event. Galloway says he and his wife, who are both veteran marathoners, take walk breaks throughout running the 26.2 miles of a marathon.

Here is Galloway's ''crash course'' version of his training plan. (For more specifics, see his training chart at the end of this article.)

First, pick the date for your 5K. It should be two or three months away.

If you plan to walk the entire 5K, you can get by with much less training time than if you plan to jog or run all or part of it, he says.

Galloway's training plan works for busy 9-to-5'ers.  He suggests keeping Tuesday and Thursday runs to 30 minutes or less -- even briefer in the beginning, starting at 10 minutes -- and doing the long run (actually a run-walk) on the weekend. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are devoted to walking or cross training (XT), and Saturday is a day off. Cross training involves alternating your walking/jogging routines with other forms of exercise to increase your performance and overall fitness without stressing your body to the max.

"Back up from the date of the race," he says. ''One week before, do the last long run, which could be a 4-miler. The weekend before that, say 3.5 miles. Count back a half mile each week."

Start slow. That's crucial, Galloway says. "My advice for beginners is they not go longer than about 15 minutes on the Tuesday and Thursday runs the first week," he says. Increase the time very gradually, such as three minutes at a time, until you are up to 30 minutes.

"Pacing must be slow enough so that there is no huffing and puffing," Galloway says. "I recommend insertion of a one-minute walk break after one to three minutes of running (beginners should run a minute/walk a minute) as the maximum."

Don't try to play catch-up if you miss a workout, Galloway says. "If you miss one of your walks, you don't suddenly go from 2 miles to 4 miles."

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