Train for a 5K without doing much running

Published by Jason Narog on

Back in February I outlined a plan for training for a 5K that involved sprinting and running a few times a week. The one thing I didn’t anticipate was shin splints in one of the people in my test. So I pivoted the idea. My understanding of the human movement system is that things like weak ankles, shin splints, and knee issues start further up the body, predominately in the hips / glutes area.

Hence the 11 minute glute program that popped up (with more variations coming soon.) I mean, if you can’t run without your shins hurting then you can’t really work the program right?

So here’s the modifications I created that I put myself through.

Time I claimed I wanted to be around based on original outlined running program that I myself didn’t follow? 21 minutes.

Time I actually finished in following the real plan outlined below (and having only done 2 sprints since my last 4K / 5k back in October) ? – 27:24 (distance 3.2 miles)

Time my phone says I finished a “true” 5K in – 26:15

Time my phone says I did the first 1/2 mile and 1K in – 3:13 / 4:03

Week 1 (weeks start on Saturdays for sake of ease in keeping track of what happened)

Saturday – 10 x 100 sprints. Learn that shin splints are a thing. This protocol was sprint roughly 100 yards (I think it was more like 120ish) then walk back to the starting line as a break, then sprint again. This was part of the original training plan outline.

Monday Morning – Foam rolling recovery program, 11 minute abs. This is something I would have been doing regardless of the outlined training plan.

Monday and Friday mornings are group classes led by me under the title “Morning Wellness.” If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see pictures of notes / routines. Some of the weekly challenges and routines posted on this website are tried out during Morning Wellness.

Monday Night – 1 hour of muay thai

Professor Jeff Patterson of Northwest Fighting Arts puts together these routines for me. He heads both the Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai programs that I’ll be referencing throughout this article.

Muay Thai typically consists of 20-30 minutes of learning specific movement patterns and the other 30 minutes consists of partner drilling with pads for endurance / cardio.

Jiu Jitsu is ~40 minutes of drilling a specific position that includes a starting point, then an offensive maneuver followed by a counter. The rest of the class is partner drilling starting in the position we drilled, trying to land either a position change or a submission. The defending partner tries to apply the defense learned that night (or any other known defense) or goes for a submission / position change.

Tuesday Afternoon – 1 hour of flexibility / mobility single leg balance style exercises

The Tuesday 1 hour flexibility / mobility routine is taught by a group fitness trainer and typically opens with either a 2 minute plank or 2 minute wall sit then uses the work to rest tabata routine of 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest, but uses 6 rounds instead of 8. Exercises typically include some variation of push up and side plank as well as variations of squats that involve some sort of dynamic movement that involves a weight transfer to strengthen the ankle / improve the foot’s “grip” on the ground.

Tuesday Evening – Tango routine practice for dance event

Arthur Murray Portland and dance instructor Anais put together the routines and dances to be performed during a session.

Wednesday Morning – 1 hour of kettlebell training / start the ab roller challenge

Kettlebell training involves swings (either double arm or single arm), Turkish Git Ups, Snatches, Cleans, Kettlebell Squats, Presses, and Farmers Walks. Ab exercises or single leg exercises (split or pistol squats) may also be included in these routines. My trainer Brian Worthy of Practically Fit PDX puts the routines together for me.

Thursday Night – More of the ab roller challenge

Friday Morning – Flexibility, mobility, yoga, and the ab roller challenge

Week 2 – Starts with more sprinting

Saturday – 10 x 100 sprints. This was technically sprint 50 yards, touch down, run back. Rest for a bit. Do it again. Timing rest is slightly more difficult this way than going 100 yards and walking back.

Sunday – Bust out the small resistance bands to do some of the movements from 11 minute glutes.

Monday Morning – Resistance band strength training plus the ab roller challenge

Tuesday afternoon – 1 hour of flexibility / mobility single leg balance style exercises

Tuesday Evening – Tango routine practice for dance event

Friday Morning – Tabata glutes & 11 minute abs

Week 3 – Let’s Dance + It Snows

Saturday Morning – Tango routine practice for dance event

Sunday – Dance event

Monday morning – Flexibility and mobility routine

Thursday – 1 hour of Jiu Jitsu and 1 hour of Muay Thai

Friday – Agility ladder routine

Week 4 – Business Conference

Sunday – Walk 2 mile, do 11 minute abs part 33 and 1/3 at 10:30 at night in hotel room

Monday – Walk 3+ miles

Tuesday – Walk 3+ miles

Wednesday – Walk 3+ miles

Thursday – 1 hour of Jiu Jitsu and 1 hour of Muay Thai

Friday Morning – “Spartan” circuit training

Week 5 – Heavy Training

Saturday – Ballroom dancing

Sunday – Racquetball, 11 minute glutes

Monday AM – Boxing head movement drills, resistance band training, 11 minute glutes, parts of 11 minute abs

Monday Night – 1 hour of Jiu Jitsu and 1 hour of Muay Thai

Tuesday – 1 hour of flexibility / mobility single leg balance style exercises

Wednesday – 1 hour of swinging around kettlebells

Thursday – 1 hour of Jiu Jitsu and 1 hour of Muay Thai

Friday Morning – “Spartan” style warm up, 11 minute cardio glutes, 11 minute cardio abs

Friday Evening – 1.5 hours of No Gi Jiu Jitsu

Week 6 – The Week Before The Run

Saturday – Ballroom dancing

Sunday – Racquetball, swinging around kettlebells

Monday AM – The resistance band portion of 11 minute glutes, free weights training, medicine ball abs

Tuesday – 1 hour of flexibility / mobility single leg balance style exercises

Wednesday – 1 hour of swinging around kettlebells. Ended the routine with a 10,10,5,5 single arm snatch routine.

Thursday – 1 hour of Jiu Jitsu and 1 hour of Muay Thai

Friday AM – The resistance band portion of 11 minute glutes, shoulder and squat weight training, medicine ball abs

Friday Evening – 1.5 hours of No Gi Jiu Jitsu

Week 7 – Oh Wait, There Is No Week 7

Saturday – Ballroom Dancing

Sunday – Race Day

Don’t forget about recovery time

Recovery is critical for the success of any exercise program. Take time to go see a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, stretch, foam roll, practice yoga, meditation, etc. The time you take to recover is just as important as the time you spend training.

Takeaways

The outlined plan above will help improve your anaerobic system but not so much your aerobic system. Doing things like 3 minutes of heavy padwork followed by a period of rest won’t teach you how to run for 20+ minutes straight. As you can see from my first 1K / 0.5 mile time I was running a 6 minute mile pace. These systems outlined above teach you how to burst, recover, burst. You end up walking a good portion of the run if you don’t do anything to improve your aerobic system.

The 11 minute hips and glutes program turned out to be very useful for one of the clients I tested it on. Leg pain did not surface until the end portion of the race, there was an 8+ minute improvement in time since the last 5K race (which would realistically be more like a 9 minute improvement given this race was a bit longer), and recovery time was much faster.

I still stand behind the idea of someone starting a fitness program to go out and jog or speed walk in the very beginning, but add to the program within the first few weeks things like 11 minute glutes to start improving any lower body muscle groups that have been ruined by our current lifestyle of desk sitting / couch sitting during and after work.